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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Mindo, Ecuador; Otavalo, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: PSU applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Program Description:



  • 18 years of age or above
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
  • 2.5 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
  • Junior standing or above at the start of the program 
  • Completion of BB H 305 (Introduction to Global Health), BB H/ H P A 440 (Principles of Epidemiology) and BB H 390A (Preparation for Global Health Fieldwork)
  • Admittance to the Global Health minor. Only students enrolled at University Park are admitted to the minor.  
  • Students should understand that for much of the fieldwork they will be living in a high altitude region.
  • Students do not need to know Spanish for entry to the program, but must be willing to take language classes once in-country that are embedded in the schedule. 

Program Description 

As part of the Global Health (GLBHL) minor, students must complete a supervised fieldwork experience, either internationally or domestically, for a period of five weeks during the first summer session i.e. May-June. Throughout their field work experience, students will engage in a range of inter-cultural encounters and gain broad knowledge of global health issues in the resource-poor context. More specifically, they will work in pairs or small groups, under the guidance of an on-site coordinator and supervisor, to observe and, where appropriate, contribute to locally relevant projects that serve to understand and address global health inequities.

Prior to their entry to the fieldwork program, students must complete a semester-long preparation course (i.e. BB H 390A), which aims to ensure their logistic and academic readiness to travel. Following their return to campus, they are encouraged to engage in an interactive workshop and study abroad information sessions during which they will be asked to reflect upon and share their field experiences, as well as consider how their greater appreciation and knowledge of global health issues may be integrated into their personal and professional goals and plans.

Students' direct experience and interactions with local communities serves to deepen their understanding of the complexity of global health issues and interventions, as well as develop the core competencies needed to work cooperatively and respectfully with diverse groups in a global health setting. The fieldwork experience also encourages students to become independent and active global citizens who engage in meaningful two-way exchanges of knowledge and ideas for the purpose of contributing to the development of society.

This five-week field work placement will take place in the beautiful South American country of Ecuador. Students will undertake fieldwork in Quito with multiday side trips to Oltavalo and a potential one-week rotation in Guayaquil. Spending the first three weeks in Quito students will visit numerous clinical sites from a large government hospital to small community clinics. Each weekday students will spend a portion of their time learning Spanish in small classroom settings and each week they’ll attend seminars focusing on global health issues across the country. This will be augmented with visits and presentations by and to non-governmental, governmental and intergovernmental organizations working in public health and areas of global development. In addition to these urban and rural experiences in and around Quito, students will visit Guayaquil an important seaside city where they will explore community-based medicine and the nation’s Malaria Eradication Center. Across the weekends students will have the opportunity to visit the Equator, shop at the world-famous indigenous market and engage in numerous other cultural outings. Students will have the opportunity to gain deep insight into the country’s health care system including its indigenous health clinics and healing traditions, gain an understanding of the importance of environmental protections and initiatives from the Amazon to the Andes and the ocean..


Summer: May 13 - June 17, 2023

Program Leaders

Program Leader Information

  • For more information, contact Dr. Dana Naughton, Director, Global Health Minor, Coordinator of Global Health Fieldwork Experiences in Ecuador, Germany, and South Africa, and Assistant Teaching Professor of Biobehavioral Health, College of Health and Human Development


Course Description

All students will be enrolled in BBH 390B for 6 credits.
  • Successful applicants will have completed BB H 305 (Introduction to Global Health), BB H/ H P A 440 (Principles of Epidemiology) and BB H 390A (Preparation for Global Health Fieldwork) 
  • Admittance to the Global Health minor. Only students enrolled at University Park are admitted to the minor. 

Course Selection

Students are required to take the prescribed course listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for this course. To determine how this course will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
  • Research courses offered on your program
  • Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.

Academic Policies

  • You must enroll in 6 credits
  • You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
  • If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation

Housing and Meals



In Quito, students will stay at a student residence near the language school they'll attend in the afternoons. During the final two weeks, housing is TBA. 


Students will be provided a stipend for meals while in towns. Any meal expense in excess of the stipend will need to be paid by the student. During group travel in Ecuador, meals provided at hotel/lodge.

Costs and Funding

Program Costs

Summer Costs

For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.

Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.


The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.

Student Aid

Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.

Withdrawal & Refund Policy

Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.

After Commitment

Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.

Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule. 

Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account

  • Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee 

  • 30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee 

  • 29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee

Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

After the Start of the Program

If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.

For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Life Abroad

General Information

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.

Accessibility Considerations

Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.

Students should understand that for much of the fieldwork they will be living in a high altitude region.

Gender and LGBTQA Considerations 

There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.

Race, Ethnicity, and Faith Considerations 

When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.

Non-U.S. Citizens

It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.

Next Steps

Steps to Study Abroad

The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.

How to Apply

Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!

Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.


You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline, February 1. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.

Contact Education Abroad

If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email

Peer Advisers

Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.

Education Abroad Advisers

Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.

Social Media

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For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2023 02/01/2023
02/11/2023 05/13/2023 06/17/2023
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.

Indicates that deadline has passed