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Thursday, April 18, 2024

UC Davis Study Abroad offers summer health internships

If you’re one of the thousands of pre-med undergraduates at UC Davis and you’re seeking those seemingly elusive internships and experiences, the UC Davis Study Abroad office has a solution for you. But you’ll be on the waiting list.

This summer, for the first time, the study abroad office will be offering students summer health internships in four different places around the world: Bolivia, South Africa and two different locations in India.

“I was drawn in by the traveling element and the internship; it was a good integration of all of my different interests,” said Kathleen Maher, a fourth-year anthropology major. “[The faculty and students] had such energy and there was such clear excitement about the program.”

These programs will last for four weeks, and will run from July to August. Between the four programs, there is space for approximately 40 students, and demand is high. The enrollment for the four programs opened on Wednesday Jan. 8, and all spots have already been filled, though spots on the waitlists are available.

While the study abroad office declined to say how many students were on already on the waitlist, Study Abroad Summer Program Coordinator Paula Levitt said that there is far more interest in the programs than they are able to accommodate at this time.

Before these new health internships, the Oaxaca Quarter Abroad Program, which will usher in its ninth group of students this fall, was the only opportunity for students to get hands-on healthcare experience whilst traveling abroad.

“Doctors in the U.S. are not as generous with their teaching, for whatever reason. I got great clinical experience in Oaxaca,” Maher said.

This kind of experience has attracted UC Davis and non-UC Davis students alike, as students at other universities and junior colleges can apply as well.

This demonstrates the concentrated interest in healthcare-related programs, which could, according to Levitt, be attributed to the increasing competitiveness of healthcare internships, entrance into medical school and jobs in healthcare.

Specifically, the heightened demand for quality healthcare in places like Oaxaca gives students marketable experiences that they can take back to the U.S. after the program ends.

Christina Siracusa, the program coordinator of UC Davis Quarter Abroad, stated that students that go abroad are able to observe things that they’re not able to see in the U.S. for a variety of reasons.

Levitt also said that some alumni claimed that their experiences abroad were the only thing from their resume that they were asked about in interviews. More often than not, these alumni have amazing stories to tell.

“One of the students [from Oaxaca] was able to witness a live birth. Shortly after that, either the same day or just a few days later, he witnessed the birth of a dead baby,” Siracusa said.

This year’s expansion into health-related summer internships has come from growing interest in those types of programs, according to Levitt.

The Oaxaca program, which has always been popular among students, runs during Fall Quarter. Its participants take part in UC Davis classes two days a week, and spend three days a week in clinic, where the program focuses mainly on reproductive health and tropical diseases.

“We wanted to help develop the new internship programs because it was a growing area of interest. They not only wanted to have a study abroad program, but they wanted experience for resume building and career development,” Levitt said.

While these programs boast amazing experiences and resume padding, they often come with a hefty price tag. The total estimated cost for the quarter trip to Oaxaca is approximately $13,200.

However, financial aid that students receive from the University does apply to these study abroad and internship programs. There are also additional grants available to students, which are awarded in amounts from $500 to $2,000.

Travel grants, which were originally introduced in 2000, were cut for a few years and are just now being brought back. Even if the funding offered by the University isn’t enough to cover all of the costs, it’s a good starting point.

This extra funding may also be motivating students to enroll in study abroad programs who might not otherwise, which could help explain the especially high interest in abroad programs for 2014.

“Having funding available motivates people to go forward and find other sources of funding,” Holland said. “People who don’t think they are able to actually can go overseas.”

The application deadline for grants for summer internships abroad is April 7.

Students who are interested in going abroad, but aren’t sure which program is right, should attend the Study and Intern Abroad Fair which will take place on Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Freeborn Hall.



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