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International experiences

two students pictured in front of a mountain in Guatemala

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Health Professions has suspended all student international educational experiences through end of the 2020-2021 academic year. Based on the evolving situation and available mitigation strategies, this date could be extended.

This decision aligns with the school's commitment to safety and health of its students and to people in the countries to be visited. It was made in consideration of the reduced capacity for effective clinical observation and training at KU Medical Center and in health care settings around the world, as well as the complex logistics of changing travel policies and restrictions.

Until an effective COVID-19 vaccine is developed and equitably made available worldwide, the school will support local learning opportunities for students to work with underserved communities in the region. These may include, but are not limited to, working with refugee populations, Native American populations, and underserved communities in urban and rural parts of Kansas and the Midwest/Great Plains region.

Students are also encouraged to engage in virtual global health learning and training opportunities as made available by KU faculty and through the Office of International Programs.

This pandemic has highlighted the importance of global health training. While KU firmly remains committed to this goal, the school's current priority is to ensure safety of its students and promote ethical responsibility as global citizens.

All inquiries regarding the resumption of international educational experiences and alternative global health programming or activities should be directed to the Office of International Programs.

About International Study

At the KU School of Health Professions, health care and education cross borders and span oceans. Students have the opportunity to grow on a personal level with study abroad and international experiences while expanding their knowledge of people, ideas, and customs of people from other nations. Faculty frequently volunteer on medical mission trips, participate in exchange programs, and also have the opportunity to conduct research across the globe.

These activities form lasting connections and promote international perspectives and cooperation benefiting the university, the community, and the state of Kansas.

Special Events and Activities
Community Conversations

Thursdays, 12:00-12:45 p.m.
Wescoe room 1051 (HR conference room)

This is a casual forum for students, faculty, and staff to share diverse insights on various topics of interest to the campus community. The wide range of discussion topics include current cultural scenarios, health and wellness, and more. All sessions are also available to join online. Learn more

Funding and Support Available to Faculty and Students

Lou Loescher-Junge International Travel Award
Awarded to students in the physical therapy program for an international educational experience in the country of the student's choice. Learn more

Office of International Programs Award
Open to any current student in the school. The amount awarded varies. Contact the Office of International Programs for details.

Kovac International Observership Award
Available to students in the nurse anesthesia education and respiratory care education degree programs to participate in an international experience in Peru or Ghana.

Explore International Experience Opportunities

Ghana International Educational Experience
A group of faculty and students from KU Medical Center travel to the West African country for about three weeks in early summer. There they work with rural health care providers to provide clinical care and health education. They will shadow providers in a variety of settings, from large hospitals to small clinics. The faculty leader has traveled to Ghana many times. This allows for better support in the planning and logistics in addition to utilizing contacts to ensure a successful trip abroad.

Robinson International Studies Award
Established to assist students who want to complete an international education experience at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. Learn more

Global Scholars Distinction Program
This program recognizes students engaging in educational experiences that involve working with a variety of cultures and/or with underserved communities at local, national, and global levels. This certificate program was designed combine classroom learning with experiential learning and provide students with a permanent recognition for their efforts. Learn more

Follow the Travels Past and Present

two women students sitting with a mountain in the background in Guatemala

Trip to Africa for KU Physical Therapy Student
Kevin Williams spent six weeks in the rural town of Manguzi, South Africa. While there Dec. 30 to Feb. 16, he worked at the local hospital to provide physical therapy services to its patients. He used the entries from his trip notebook to create a blog to share his experiences. Read his blog.

KU Faculty Member Visits Kyrgyz Republic
Lisa Mische Lawson, Ph.D., CTRS was in the Central Asia country this fall participating in the Fulbright Specialist Program. Her project is titled "Promotion of Research at Ala-Too International University." Read her blog.

Summer 2018 Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala
A team from KU completed a Medical Missions Foundation trip to Antigua, Guatemala, in June. Nurse anesthesia students joined faculty and program alumni in providing anesthesia care during 75 surgeries at Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro Hospital. Read about their work in the nurse anesthesia alumni newsletter. In addition, audiology students saw 179 patients for hearing tests/hearing aid repairs and fit 148 new hearing aids. Photos

Above: KU nurse anesthesia student Taylor Robertson talks about her summer 2018 medical mission trip to Guatemala.

KU Respiratory Care Helps in Ghana
Every year, faculty member Karen Schell, DHSc, RRT-NPS of the Department of Respiratory Care and Diagnostic Science, takes much-needed supplies to Ghana. She also works to support respiratory care education in the West African nation. Read her blog

Preparing for your trip?

Sharing international experiences is essential to generating interest in these programs and securing funding for future opportunities. All students should complete the authorization for the use/disclosure of identifying images and sharing online.

Last modified: May 19, 2020