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Gaborone, Botswana

Program Site: The University of Botswana through the Council on International Education and Exchange (CIEE)

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 cumulative USC GPA and completion of one year of college before the start of the program. Previous coursework in public or environmental health is recommended for students applying to the Community Public Health track.

Description: Since smoothly transitioning to independence from British rule in 1966, Botswana has long enjoyed its status as a peace-loving, democratic nation with one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world. The capital city of Gaborone (pop. 250,000) is one of Africa's fastest growing cities and is located near the border of South Africa. In addition to being an economic and political hub, Gaborone hosts the headquarters of the ten-nation Southern African Development Community as well as various international aid agencies and NGOs.

Over the past several decades, the University of Botswana (UB) has emerged as an innovative research institution with six faculties and 15,000 students.  At the time of its official establishment in 1964, the surrounding community made contributions of all types (including cash, cattle, and grain) towards building the new university.  As a result, most Gaborone citizens have a personal sense of ownership of the university and its achievements.

USC students can participate in two tracks offered by CIEE at the University of Botswana: Community Public Health or Arts and Sciences. Students in each track become fully integrated into the residential campus community through participating in volunteer opportunities and UB student organizations and clubs.

Academics: Students in both tracks are required to take CIEE Setswana Language and Culture practicum and UB catalogue courses. UB offers a wealth of courses spanning the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Arts and Sciences Track: Students enroll in four to five UB courses, one of which must focus on Southern Africa. Sample courses include Batswana Literature, Demographic Aspects of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Politics of Poverty in Southern Africa, Economics of Botswana and Southern Africa, and African Traditional Religions.

Community Public Health: Students considering a career in health care are encouraged to participate in this track. Core courses for this include Public and Environmental Health Issues in Botswana and Community Health Practicum, both taught by CIEE. In Community Health Practicum, students are assigned field placements with local health promoters in marginalized areas in and outside of Gaborone. Sample placements include Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence, Princess Marina Hospital, and YOHO Youth Health Organization. As part of this course, students also complete a one week field placement in a rural clinic while living with a local host family. 

Community Public Health track students also enroll in three UB courses alongside local students, one of which must be in the Department of Public and Environmental Health.

Course Load and Credit: Arts and Sciences students take CIEE Setswana Language and Culture Practicum and four to five UB courses for a maximum of 16 USC units per semester.

Community Public Health Students take CIEE Setswana Language and Culture Practicum, the two CIEE core courses, and three UB courses for a maximum of 16 USC units per semester.

Activities and Other Program Features: The academic program is supplemented by field trips and excursions to various points of interest around Gaborone. These include trips to the Gaborone Game Reserve, the National Museum, the Kolobeng Ruins, the Jwaneng diamond mine, and the Kalahari Desert. A multi-day safari to the Chobe National Park is included in the program each semester. This excursion and others include additional activities with a specific public and environmental health focus to benefit students in both tracks.

CIEE also offers volunteer and internship opportunities to participants. Past placements have included the Botswana Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Ditshwanelo: The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Kalahari Conservation Society and other local NGOs focusing on educational, health and community development.

Accommodations: Students live in a UB residence hall or with a host family. Students living in the UB residence hall are placed in doubles with UB students.  Meals for this option are not included in the program fee.

CIEE offers a limited number of homestays, an excellent immersion experience where students fully engage with the local culture. Students in homestays are provided two meals per day which are included in the housing fee.

All students also complete a weeklong rural homestay during the semester. By living with host families, students will learn firsthand about the challenges facing the rural Batswana today. Students meet with village leaders and are typically invited to participate in family gatherings, festivals, and traditional cultural activities. 

Dates: Fall, Spring or Year. The fall semester runs from late-July to early December, and the spring semester runs from early January to early May.

Estimated Semester Cost:

Additional Expenses*...........$8,775

Cost Updated: 5/28/15
Text Updated: 8/24/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

CIEE Botswana Arts & Sciences
CIEE Botswana Community Public Health
CIEE Course Syllabi
UB Course Catologue (Faculties of Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science, Social Sciences, Business)
Scholarships for USC Study Abroad in Africa
Lonely Planet Botswana