Botswana Summer Community Public Health: This Is Africa (TIA) Past Review

By (International Studies: International Development, University of Kentucky) for

CIEE: Gaborone - Summer Community Public Health

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The biggest impact this experience had on my was a personal one. I went from being a high-strung, busy student to one that has a more relaxed attitude about life. I was able to put a lot of things into perspective and feel that I have a more balanced life style.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was reasonable for the amount of time there. However, the class itself was very simplified. I would have liked more specific course work i.e. specific to Botswana. Teaching methods were similar: powerpoints, papers, lectures. I liked that my one course provided me with hands on experience. I was able to further my education by taking part in an internship in public clinics. Grading systems were different, in that I never received any of my assignments back. I still have no idea where my grade stands because of this. In the USA I have a frame of reference for my grade because I receive graded assignments back before the end of the term.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I was overall pleased with the program, but I was disappointed with the lack of organization. I do not think my program was prepared for the 22 students involved. Past programs had significantly less student, and from what I gather ran a lot more smoothly. However, 22 students are a lot to handle, and I think better preparation should have been taken into account especially in regards to transportation and homestays in the Mochudi. I think CIEE's decision to increase the program size was a mistake. It is harder to have a great experience when there are so many students to take care of.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I think future students studying during the summer program should stay with a homestay. However if the student is studying in during the semester while school is in session, they should stay in the dorms on campus. I was upset that as a dorm student I had to pay for a lot more than the homestay students. I think that expenses should balance out no matter which living situation you choose. If this cannot be done, then a better budget should be given to the students pre-departure from home country. My host family experience in Mochudi was not a positive one, however there were many students that did have a good experience. I think that if the families were better interviewed a lot of the problems could be resolved.

* Food:

I was pleased with the food experience I had, but my program had nothing to do with this experience.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I highly recommend that all students take outside trips. I went to Victoria Falls and the Delta. I was extremely upset with CIEE, because the Delta trip I budgeted for according to their recommendations ended up being significantly more. This proved very difficult for me my entire trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the cultural experience I had. I encourage all students to get out in the community and meet people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

My program's focus was Public Health, so I was fully informed on the health issues found in Botswana. I was pleased with the private healthcare that was available to us. The doctor would see you day of and was available. I never felt unsafe while I was gone. I think that as long as students are smart and think logically about situations, there was no reason to be put in danger.

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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Local Students
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Any experience poses its challenges, but remember to give it a chance. Before you know it, you feel like your a citizen. I think any student who is interested in international health would benefit from this program.