Penn Global Seminar: Comparing Health Care Systems in an Intercultural Context: Health and the Healthcare System in Chile




This course is open to undergraduates only

Program Length

Fall semester plus field experience during winter break

Dates Offered

Travel takes place late December to early January 

Course Number

NURS 3430-401

Course Director

Eileen Lake, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Professor of Nursing

Course Assistant:
Marta Simonetti, MSN, RN
Associate Professor
Universidad de los Andes School of Nursing 


Course Description

This course offers students an opportunity to: 1) expand their knowledge base in health care systems; 2) develop intercultural competency skills and 3) shape a conceptual framework for improving the quality of health care for the individual, the family, the community and society at large. Emphasizes the relational, contextual nature of health care and the inseparability of the notions of the health of individuals and the health of family, society, and culture. Includes field experience. 

The major aim of this course is to consider health and the health care system dynamically and holistically through a case study of Chile.  This case study will position the student to reflect back comparatively on health and the health care system in the U.S.A.  This course will provide interdisciplinary perspectives on health and the health care system in Chile.  Biological and social science perspectives, principally nursing, demography, economics, and epidemiology, will be presented. The didactic portion of the course is designed to engage the student in exploring such key topics as the epidemiology of health and illness in Chile; health system organization, governance, and financing; the health workforce; national health priorities, strategies, and recent reforms. Classroom, clinical and other field experiences are designed to provide students with both a broad overview and specific experiences within the course foci.

In Chile, students will visit our two collaborating schools of nursing (Universidad de los Andes; Pontificia Universidad Catolica); several hospitals and primary care centers.

Registration Details

  • Counts as 1 CU
  • Counts as experiential course for global health minor
  • The course fulfills the Society and Social Structures and Global and Culture Studies sectors in the School of Nursing


  • Course engagement 20%
  • Health in the news homework (due for Classes 2, 4 – 6) 20%
  • Reflective Journal (completed after Classes 1 – 6 at Penn and 4 days in Chile; present excerpts in Class 7) 20%
  • Collaborative Project (student pairs) 20%
  • Inquiry Project 20%


  • Attend all seminars and clinical experiences. If you have significant cause for absence (e.g., you are sick and under medical care, if there is a serious illness or death of one of your loved ones), let me know and I will arrange a make-up with you. •
  • Formulate questions and opinions on the readings and bring them up in class and in the field experience.
  • Complete all assignments including reflective journal on time.
  • Adhere to the university code of academic integrity: All University of Pennsylvania students have the responsibility to know and observe the University’s Code of Academic Integrity. The faculty of N535 support this code and expect that students and faculty will conduct themselves in all aspects of the academic process, including the clinical visit component of the course, according to this code. Any student found in violation of the Code of Academic Integrity will fail the course.

Finances/Program Costs

Course fee and expenses can be considered for financial aid formula (loans only)

Program/Course Fee $950 includes:

Out-of-pocket Expenses ~$280:

  • Airfare
  • Lodging (double rooms)
  • Bus transfer to Vina del Mar on arrival in Santiago
  • Santiago metro pass
  • Educational visits to schools of nursing, hospitals, primary care centers, and a geriatric institute
  • All breakfasts are included
  • Two group dinners
  • All cultural/historic excursions
  • Van transportation from hotel to airport
  • Lunch and Dinner: estimated at $35 per day = (35 * 8) = $280


Required. This course is offered as a Penn Global Seminar. Applications open in early Spring. You may wish to join this mailing list to receive course updates, reminders, events, and notices regarding application deadlines.

Required Forms (provided after application is accepted)

Penn Global provides guidance on administrative processes and required forms once applications are accepted.