Study Abroad

Guatemala Summer 2023

Health Services Delivery in Resource Poor Settings, Guatemala, Summer 2023


Dates: June 20 – August 18, 2023, including July 14-28 in Guatemala

Locations: UW Bothell and Rio Dulce region, Guatemala

Faculty Director: Dr. Mabel Ezeonwu, Professor of Nursing and Health Studies,

Co-Director: Amanda Sendele, Office of Connected Learning,

Academic Credits: 12 Summer Quarter credits that fulfill degree requirements for MN, BSN and Health Studies students: BHLTH 496/ BNURS 424/ BNURS 591. Specific course numbers will be assigned that meet the needs of program participants.


  • $5,500 program fee*, which covers: 12 Summer Quarter credits; housing, (almost) all meals, local transportation, and educational field trips in Guatemala;
  • $350 study abroad fee;
  • ~$1,200 airfare;
  • $25 travel insurance;
  • ~$200 (depending on health insurance) vaccinations;
  • Passport;
  • Personal expenses at UW Bothell and while abroad.

*Note: Regular UW Bothell tuition will not be charged for these credits. The program fee is in lieu of regular tuition charges.


Course Overview: This intensive service-learning course, conducted in partnership with a community-based organization, Guatemala Village Health, is designed to expose students to the policy contexts in which health care is delivered in resource-poor settings with particular emphasis on Guatemala. The program will be centered in villages in the mountains above Lake Izabel (Marcajan, Chinavhabilchoch, Chinabengue, and Baltimore) and Rio Dulce, where GVH has cultivated strong partnerships since 2008. 

Map of GuatemalaGuatemala is the most populous country in Central America. It is home to over 15 million people and more than half of the population is below the national poverty line. Guatemala faces several health and development challenges, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, literacy, and contraceptive awareness and use. It is also rich in cultural diversity. This program aims to expose students to global development, health systems, global health issues and health care delivery in resource-strapped communities. The course utilizes the community as the pedagogical platform and challenges students to view global health care issues holistically in order to understand how in-country health policies are influenced by local and global determinants. 

Program Director Dr. Mabel Ezeonwu administering medication to a childUWB students attending to patients at village clinic in Guatemala

Course Structure: The course is designed in a hybrid format. The first part of the quarter will be classroom and online-based at UW Bothell, including several orientation sessions with our community partner, Guatemala Village Health. Two weeks in August will be spent in the field, conducting community-based work in the Rio Dulce region of Guatemala. Students will be exposed to the population and local health practitioners as they work with minimal resources. Following students’ orientation to the environment, students will work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams from U.S. and Guatemala to support the health needs of the community. Reflection and debfriefing activities will take place upon return to the U.S. 

The course will follow a seminar format. There will be open discussions and minimal lectures during classroom meetings. Online activities will be based on reflective analysis of the course content. Significant amount of time will be devoted to fieldwork and student-led open discussions -- synthesizing field experiences, course readings, and individual/group generated ideas. Learning through field observations, active participation in community health promotion activities and team-based problem-solving will be emphasized.  

Course Name # Credits
Global Health Promotion 5
Independent and Group Research 2
Interdisciplinary Collaborations and Primary Care 5

Specific course numbers - BHLTH 496/ BNURS 424/ BNURS 591- will be assigned in accordance with each student’s academic program. Credit distribution for graduation requirements for each student will be finalized by the program director, student advisers and the registrar. 

Learning Goals

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe pre-trip learning goals and how were met or unmet through the global experience.
  • Articulate skills needed to collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary teams in low-resource communities 
  • Analyze the essentials of primary care and health promotion in resource-poor countries.
  • Develop skills to conduct health needs assessments of communities in a developing country and describe ongoing policy strategies to address identified needs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to learn and participate in primary care activities including health education and screenings
  • Analyze local and global determinants of health of communities in developing countries.Describe how pre-trip learning goals were met or unmet through the study abroad experience. 
  • Research, document, and present specific health issues of a given population.
  • Evaluate approaches to working with diverse teams and communities and articulat the importance of cross-cultural dialogue and understanding
  • Articulate the roles of health professionals, local and global community-based organizations, charitable foundations, and other non-governmental organizations and agencies in global development efforts.

Information for Applicants

The program is open to all students in good academic standing, from all majors, particularly those interested in public health, health care in community settings, community development, cultural studies, global studies, global health policies, environmental studies, and health information technology. Healthcare practice experience or interest, and/or a registered nurse license are highly desired. While the program is open to all majors, priority will be given to students pursuing degrees in the UW Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Students should be prepared for a physically and emotionally-intensive two-week experience while in Guatemala, including high heat and humidity, physical activity, and very basic amenities in the villages. Each day is filled with activities from early morning through evening in order to make the most of the short time abroad.

The online application requires a resume, unofficial transcript, name of a reference (but no letter of recommendation), and a one-page personal statement that explains why you are a strong candidate for the program by articulating your interests, qualifications and projected benefits to future goals.

The application process for 2023 has closed.

What's the program like?

"Eye-opening experience in Guatemala", UWB Bothell News story

"Baltimore Clinic, Coastal Village," 2018 blog by Ronald Carrick

"UW Bothell in Togo", See mobile clinics in action during a 2014 UWB NHS study abroad program


SNHS Funding for MN Students: For UWB Master of Nursing students. Check your Canvas site for details.

UWB Study Abroad Ambassador Scholarship: For UWB undergrads who are WA residents. Apply by Feb 22 or April 12

Program Support

Study Abroad Advising

Natalia Dyba, Director of Global Initiatives

Peer Study Abroad Advisors 

Make an appointment