A Positive Summer Experience Reinvigorating Public Health Past Review

By (Public Health, Brandeis University) - abroad from 05/24/2015 to 07/24/2015 with

CIEE: Gaborone - Summer Community Public Health

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of perspective, and learned I am in the right major for me. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics and classes were good, and at a moderate, yet appropriate level for summer abroad courses. However, resources such as internet, professor availability, library access, and information provided were limited.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Tanya and the student volunteers who were part of the UB CIEE program were good, but we did not get information on time or through effective channels.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family. It was wonderful, except I had no internet. Additionally the housing director said she would meet with us to go over parts of our housing that could improve, and it never happened. While I understand she was busy, she was not helpful.

* Food:

I am vegetarian, and they eat a lot of meat in Botswana, but I got by, and everything tasted good. A lot of carbs and not many vegetables or fruits.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living in a homestay I felt integrated with the locals. I did not however speak a lot of the local language since many speak english.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I needed vaccines, but no fear of malaria since there was no water for them to breed, even in the north where it is a concern sometimes. Doing community public health, I saw a lot of details of the health system both positive and negative.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe, but they warn you constantly about danger, being pick-pocketed or robbed, or having people harass you some. You cannot walk around at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

10 pula equals about $1, so things are fairly affordable, but it all depends on how much you buy, if you are a homestay or dorm student, and how often you go out and/or buy souvenirs. The program provides stipends for transportation, but not enough for what you will need.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be careful with how you buy food. Things can add up quickly. Try to find out quickly what reasonable prices are in pula, but do not convert to dollars as much, since it will seem like you are spending less money than you actually are. Always use the least expensive public transport when you can and it is safe to do so.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

The Setswana class encouraged us highly to use the language, and we had assignments and tests where we had to speak the language and speak to locals, but outside of class we did not really need to use Setswana since many used English. However, if you wanted to speak it, locals highly appreciated it. In Kanye, we definitely used Setswana a lot more.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak to anyone, and do not be afraid.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The classes and interaction with peple
  • The excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Administration and Organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you go with the flow and are open to everything, you will be fine!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!