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Penn Nursing Study Abroad

Semester, Summer, and Independent Study Programs

Students are encouraged to explore a full range of study abroad programs.  Interested students should begin to consider study abroad options during their freshman year. Early consideration allows time to prepare and plan rosters efficiently.

Each year the Penn Abroad Office sends approximately 600 students abroad to earn academic credit in nearly 50 countries. The University contracts with International SOS to provide students participating in Penn Abroad programs with 24-hour worldwide assistance and emergency services designed to supplement and integrate with the University’s services, procedures and policies.


Students who meet these requirements are invited to apply:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum Science GPA of 2.0
  • Minimum of a C in NURS 163 and NURS 164 (Integrated Anatomy, Physiology and Physical Assessment I and II)
  • No outstanding incompletes in any courses (Nursing or otherwise)
  • Good academic standing

Please note: Placements are limited, and all programs are subject to a competitive application and interview process.

About Our Programs

Listed below are several Nursing-specific semester, summer and independent study/internship abroad opportunities. While the School of Nursing makes every effort to offer a wide array of nursing-related international experiences, some programs may not be conducted each year.

Nursing students are also eligible to participate in international programs available through Penn Abroad and Penn Summer Abroad. Regardless of program preference, students interested in study abroad are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Office of Student Services to discuss program availability and develop an individualized plan of study. 

Semester Programs

Students interested in any of the semester programs are encouraged to review Penn Abroad's Getting Started website to guide them through the application process. 

 

Australia: The University of Queensland
This program is offered in the spring semester of the junior year. While abroad, students take the equivalent of Nursing 245 (Nursing Care of the Adult) and Nursing 255 (Nursing Care of the Older Adult).  With prior approval, students may be able to take one of the following: free elective, sector requirement or independent study. 

Contact the Program Director:
Sarah Kagan, PhD, FAAN, RN
215-898-1316
skagan@nursing.upenn.edu

 

England: Oxford Brookes University in Oxford
The Oxford Brookes University program emphasis a self-directed approach to course work, allowing students to create their own path.While abroad, students take the equivalent of Nursing 245 (Nursing Care of the Adult) and Nursing 255 (Nursing Care of the Older Adult). With prior approval, students may be able to complete one additional course fulfilling a free elective, sector requirement, or independent study. The program is offered during the fall semester of the junior year.

Contact the Program Director:
Sarah Kagan, PhD, FAAN, RN
215-898-1316
skagan@nursing.upenn.edu

 

Israel: Hebrew University in Jerusalem
The School of Nursing's study abroad program with Hebrew University - Hadassah Hospital brings students to Israel in the fall of the senior year. The program includes a clinical component in Community Health (equivalent to NURS 380).  Students take an intensive Hebrew language course prior to the beginning of classes. Other courses may be taken in history, archeology, or other liberal arts electives; prior approval is required to fulfill sector requirements.

Contact the Program Director:
Barbara Medoff-Cooper, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, RN
215-898-3399
medoff@nursing.upenn.edu


Summer Programs

Botswana: Community Health
Students enrolled in Nursing 380 (Community Nursing) during the summer term may submit an application to complete their Community Heath clinical rotation in Gaborone, Botswana. This clinical setting provides an unparalleled dimension to the usual community clinical experience. Supervised by an American nurse and partnering with nursing student peers at the University of Botswana, students have regularly-scheduled and supervised clinical practice in government community health clinics. The clinical sites focus on tuberculosis/AIDS (Clinic of Princess Marina Hospital), women's health (Clinic at Princess Marina Hospital), children (Baylor Clinical Center of Excellence), hospice (Holy Cross), and home care (Otse Community Home Base Care Facility). Students participating in the Community Health Clinical in Botswana write clinical logs, conduct a home-based care project and present their findings, and write reports on cultural aspects of care and how health care policy is carried out in Botswana communities. Students are expected to discuss their findings on cultural and policy aspects of care with their peers in Philadelphia for comparative analysis. This unique experience provides students with the opportunity to experience an aspect of global nursing, a concept that is stressed heavily in the didactic component of the course.

Contact the Program Director:
Monica J Harmon, MSN, MPH, BSN
215-746-7957
monicajh@nursing.upenn.edu

Hong Kong: Comparative Health Systems
The study abroad experience at the University of Hong Kong is offered to undergraduate and graduate nursing students following the end of the spring semester and before the beginning ofSummer Session I after their sophomore, junior, or senior year. Students must enroll in Nursing 535: Comparative Health Systems: Hong Kong during the spring semester prior to their summer experience in Hong Kong. Throughout the spring semester, students attend a series of seminars preparing them for study in Hong Kong, including an email exchange with a nurse in Hong Kong. This course provides a comparative view of aging, public health, and allopathic, traditional and complementary treatment in Hong Kong, SAR (Special Administrative Region) China and the United States within a nursing and collaborative interdisciplinary perspective. During the three-week summer program, students participate in a number of fieldwork experiences designed to give them an overview of the Hong Kong Health System within the focus of the course. Upon completion of the program, students receive one course unit for completion of Nursing 535 (to fulfill their Nursing Elective).

Contact the Program Director:
Sarah Kagan, PhD, FAAN, RN
215-898-1316
skagan@nursing.upenn.edu


India: Community Health and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing
NURS535 – Comparative Health Systems: India, is an elective course open to rising seniors, second degree students, and graduate students in the School of Nursing. The course consists of five 3-hour seminars during Spring Semester, followed by 2 to 3 weeks in India from mid-August to early September (between Summer Session and Fall Semester). An orientation to the course is held early November. Written applications are due and students notified of results generally by or soon after Thanksgiving. There is a course fee that covers housing, travel, and fees to host agencies; the amount varies somewhat each year.

The seminars introduce students to the history, geography, culture, religions, and health care systems of India, as well as to primary health care (versus primary care) and nursing's roles in it. The field portion of the course takes place in the southern state Tamil Nadu. It is an observational experience, with focus upon nursing's roles in community health and in mental health-psychiatric care. Our host partners provide exemplary models of care in these areas of nursing practice. We accompany the Christian Medical College's College of Nursing's faculty and students as they provide care in nurse-managed clinics in rural villages, and in-patient care for families of children and adults with psychiatric disturbances. We also see the operational roll out of an exciting applied research program run by the IKP Centre for Technologies in Public Health with which Penn School of Nursing partners to develop a nurse specialist role in collaboration with community health workers in rural villages.

Contact the Program Director:
Marjorie Muecke, PhD, RN, FAAN
215-573-3050
muecke@nursing.upenn.edu


Latin America: Maternal and Infant Care in the Americas
NURS 545: Maternal and Infant Care in the Americas is a clinical elective that provides an intensive historical, sociopolitical, and cultural perspective of health and health care delivery in the Americas with a special emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean. Classroom, direct clinical care, and field experiences are designed to provide students with a broad view of the history and culture system of the country of focus. The delivery of health care to women and children is explored from a sociopolitical, cultural, clinical, and historical context. Service learning experiences are an integral component of this course. The course includes 5 seminars on campus and 10-14 days on site in the country of focus. Fieldwork in Latin America is offered following the end of the spring semester and before the beginning of Summer Session I after the junior or senior year. The country of focus may vary each semester. Knowledge of the Spanish language is preferred, but not required. Upon completion of the program, students receive one course unit for completion of Nursing 545 (to fulfill their Nursing Elective).

Contact the Program Director:
Mamie Guidera, CNM, MSN
215-898-6025
guidera@nursing.upenn.edu

Dawn Durain, CNM, MPH
215-898-2524
duraind@nursing.upenn.edu

 

Spain: Comparative Health Systems
NURS 535: Comparing Health Systems in an Intercultural Context: Spain provides students the opportunity to explore the Spanish health care system with a focus on maternal and child health.  While the course seminar is registered for and taught during the spring semester prior to traveling abroad, fieldwork is offered in Spain following the end of the spring semester and before the beginning of Summer Session I after the sophomore or junior year.  The course provides an intensive historical, sociopolitical, and cultural perspective on health and health care delivery in Spain.  Classroom and fieldwork experiences are designed to provide students with a broad view of Spain’s history and culture.  While in Spain, students spend 2-3 weeks exploring the health care system.  Upon completion of the program, students receive one course unit for completion of Nursing 535 (to fulfill their Nursing Elective).  Knowledge of Spanish is not required in order to apply for the program, although informal self-instruction in Spanish is encouraged.

Contact the Program Director:
Eileen Lake, PhD, RN, FAAN
215-898-3399
elake@nursing.upenn.edu


 

Thailand: Comparative Health Systems
This fieldwork study abroad program in Thailand is offered to students taking Nursing 535 (Comparing Health Care Systems in an Intercultural Context: Study Abroad), which is taught during the spring semester prior to traveling abroad. Fieldwork based in Bangkok at the Mahidol University School of Nursing is offered following the end of the spring semester and before the beginning of Summer Session I. The course provides an intensive historical, sociopolitical, and cultural perspective on health and health care delivery in Thailand. Classroom and fieldwork experiences are designed to provide students with a broad view of Thailand's history and culture. While in Thailand, students will spend 2-3 weeks exploring the health care system. Knowledge of the Thai language is not required in order to apply for the program, although informal self-instruction in Thai is encouraged.

Contact the Program Director:
Wendy Grube, PhD CRNP
215-898-1169
wgrube@nursing.upenn.edu

 

Independent Study/Internship Programs

In between the spring and summer terms (3-4 weeks) or during the summer, students have the option of doing an independent study or internship abroad. Students must design their study abroad experience with a faculty sponsor and develop assignments to complete during or after the trip. They then present their study to the School community. In the past, students have done independent studies and internships in such countries as Cuba, Mexico, Armenia, Guatemala, Botswana, and Kenya.​

 
 

​Penn Nursing's Center for Global Women's Health

The center promotes the health and well-being of women and girls. As the health of women goes, so goes the health of the world.
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​Penn Abroad

Penn sends about 600 students abroad to earn academic credit in nearly 50 countries. This website provides information on study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students.
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Penn Summer Abroad

Penn Summer Abroad offers short-term, Penn faculty-led summer international experiences. Participants earn academic credit, which may fulfill electives,  language and/or sector requirements.
Learn more »