Public Health Students to Study Abroad in Costa Rica and Guatemala


An upcoming faculty-led study abroad program offered by the College of Continuing Education (CCE) is an opportunity for students interested in public health to spend time in Costa Rica and Guatemala. The program is designed to allow students to experience a unique culture first-hand and view a different society through the lens of health, risk prevention, and wellbeing. Through their immersive co-curricular work, students who enroll in the course (PUBH 196A: Public Health International Study Abroad) will develop the knowledge and tools to be a more effective public health practitioner who views the world through a more comprehensive and culturally aware lens.

The course begins on June 10 and runs through August 18, with dates in Costa Rica scheduled for July 7 – 12 and Guatemala for July 13 – 18. Students who successfully complete the course will earn 3 units. Included in the agenda for the program is a tour of San Jose, a Mayan cultural experience, and visits to hospitals and community centers. This is also an educational opportunity for students participating in the Certificate Program in Spanish for Healthcare Professional (HEALS).

“We developed the course to allow our students to see first-hand a public health and healthcare system from another country and culture, and to witness how this system performed relative to our healthcare and public health systems in the US. Costa Ricans by many measures are healthier and happier than North Americans, yet they spend pennies on the dollar for their healthcare compared to what we spend in the US,” says Dr. Dale Ainsworth, Associate Professor-Healthcare Administration in Sac State’s Department of Public Health. “We wanted our students to see another way to think about and implement healthcare and public health systems, so we built the course so they could observe first-hand. Further, study-abroad expands students’ perspectives not only in the content area of the course, but also in many other dimensions. Immersion into another culture can be a challenge for some, but a rewarding opportunity to grow.”

CCE’s Faculty-Led Study Abroad (FLSA) programs are short-term, international experiences designed for students who would like to study abroad – and stay on track for graduation – but cannot spend an entire semester or academic year abroad. These programs allow students to infuse international, intercultural, and global dimensions into their academic experience. Programs vary in length, and classes are taught by Sacramento State faculty.