Sharing the expertise of a world-class university with our partners in Botswana to build capacity and excellence in clinical care, education, and research.
If you are a medical student, you’re in luck; we have two formal funded programs run from the SOM Global Health Programs Office that provide research experiences for MS1s during the summer and clinical experiences for MS3s year-round.
If you are a nursing student, students enrolled in Nursing 341 during the summer term (Nursing in the Community: Clinical) may submit an application to complete their Community Heath clinical rotation in Gaborone, Botswana. Learn more from the SON Global Health page. We also occasionally have placements for a nursing student in the summer internship program run through Penn’s IIP.
If you are a dental student, you may be able to spend four weeks working under Dr. Motsholathebe Phuthego, an oral surgeon at Princess Marina Hospital through a program out of the SDM Office of International Relations.
If you are student from any of Penn’s other schools (Law, Vet, SP2, SAS, etc.) the program that is likely to be the best fit for you is our summer internship program that places ~14 students from Penn in 10-week internship positions working with assorted companies and organizations in Botswana beginning each May. Learn more about opportunities and deadlines at the IIP Site.
Remember too if you are a Penn undergrad, that you can spend a semester studying abroad at the University of Botswana through Penn Abroad. We MAY also be able to line up an unpaid internship for you during your semester at UB at our BUP office in Gaborone (conveniently located on UB’s campus!) OR through one of our partner organizations. Contact Heather Calvert if you plan to spend a semester at UB and would like to discuss an internship opportunity.
If none of the categories above describe you, or match what you are seeking, then realistically, we probably do NOT have a program for you. You might be able to create an experience to match your goals, but you’ll need to identify at least three things first:
Unfortunately, no; we do not accept non-Penn students into any of our student programs in Botswana.
There are opportunities for Penn residents and Fellows to complete a clinical rotation in Botswana. There are various funding arrangements depending on what department you are from, but a few things remain the same across all programs.
Dermatology Residents: Contact Dr. Carrie Kovarik for more information. We usually have gift funding to cover travel and housing for 2 Derm resident rotations to Botswana each year. Dermatoloy residents work with Dr. Didintle Motsepe in the Dermatology Clinic at PMH and may work on outreach and other projects. (Note: That non-Penn dermatologists may be eligible to participate in this rotation under a program with the American Academy of Dermatology.)
Medicine and Med/Peds Residents: Contact Heather Calvert for application information and other details. We accept ~10 medicine residents a year, and the Department of Medicine provides funding up to $2200 for travel and covers housing. (You must cover incidentals.) Medicine residents rotate at Princess Marina Hospital, teach UB and other trainees on the wards, and may go on outreach to area hospitals and clinics with BUP faculty. Global Health Medicine residents may also elect to do two rotations in Botswana. Contact Dr. Joe Garland for more information about the Global Health track.
OB/GYN Residents: Contact Heather Calvert for information. We have gift funding through the BUP to provide up to $2500 each to cover travel and housing for 2 OB/GYN resident rotations to Botswana each year. In general, OB/GYNs will spend their time working under the supervision of Dr. Doreen Ramogola-Masire at our cervical cancer screening clinics.
Pediatric / CHOP Residents: Contact Dr. Rodney Finalle for more information.
Radiology Residents: Contact Dr. Wally Miller for more information. Radiology covers travel expenses up to $2000 for 1-2 residents per year. Residents pay their own housing ($20 per night) and other incidental expenses.
Surgery Residents: Contact Dr. Jon Morris for more information. The surgery department may cover travel expenses for 1 resident per year. Residents pay their own housing ($20 per night) and other incidental expenses.
All other Penn residents: There MAY be an opportunity for you. Contact Heather Calvert and your department head to see if s/he has funding for you. Note: If you are NOT a Penn Medicine, Health System, or CHOP resident, you may not rotate through our program. See more below.
None. Our country staff is busy working on our local ongoing programs and does not have time to drive guests or coordinate activities for them. Children are not permitted to stay in our flats, and adult guests may only stay IF space is available, with advance notice, and are required to pay a nightly fee ($30). Global health experiences are rigorous and immersive and we expect all students and trainees on funded programs to work fulltime during their rotation period. If you wish to explore the region with family or friends, it would be best to meet up with them either before or after your rotation time.
There is very good tourist information for Botswana available online. There are also a number of very good travel books available specifically for Botswana or the surrounding countries. (Check Amazon.com) In fact, the easiest information to find in the US about the region is travel information. With just a little digging you can easily find tours, ticket information, places to stay, etc. Some popular trips are listed in our document “Adding a Vacation to Your Time in Botswana”. Please recognize that we are NOT a travel agency and booking vacation travel is not our responsibility.
Probably, definitely contact us (215-573-8410 or Heather Calvert) and tell us what you’re thinking. We might be able to help either with advice, names of local contacts, or even possibly housing. We also have a structure with Penn’s CFAR to support research in Botswana and may be able to help with IRB, translation, sample processing, etc. One thing to know about research in Botswana is that it takes more planning and time than you are probably anticipating. See our Research Tips document for more advice.
Maybe. If we have space available and you are working with one of our partners (Harvard/BHP, UB, PMH, MOH, etc.) on an academic, research or healthcare-related project we MIGHT be able to put you up for a few nights for a fee ($35 per night) IF you understand that our housing is NOT a hotel and are able to comply with our rules. There is a good hotel listing on our website. And we are happy to share our Handbook with you. Send us a note outlining your project and letting us know what dates you are seeking if you are looking for housing. We try to help other academics where we can.
For the most part, we can’t accept volunteers.
IF you are a health professional (doctor, nurse, etc.) we MIGHT be able to find a place that could use your services in Botswana IF you are able to spend at least one month working in country, have global health experience, and are self-funded (meaning you will cover your travel, housing, meal and incidental expenses). In general, even the most experienced health professional require both someone to show them the ropes, and time to figure out a new system before their services are truly useful; this usually takes a couple of weeks. Also, no physician can see patients in Botswana until they have registered with the Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC); this registration alone takes one week.
IF you just need a break from your regular job and have always wanted to see Africa, absolutely plan a trip to Botswana which is a gorgeous country that has some first-class tourist sites. This is a good place to start: http://www.botswanatourism.us/
IF you are a student interested in an unpaid internship who is interested in working in the Partnership office IN Philadelphia, we might be able to use you. Email us.
IF you are a graduating Penn student looking to volunteer for a year (perhaps you are planning on applying to medical school and are seeking clinical or research experience), we probably can’t help you. (See other answer above.) If you can spend at least nine months working fulltime in country and are self-funded, there might be someone in country willing to supervise you. Send your resume, career goals, and an overview of what exactly you are seeking to us and we’ll shop your “offer” around.
We have more than eighty full-time faculty and staff in country. Of those, only a few actually work on Penn student and trainees programs. The majority of our staff work on our regular clinical programs in HIV, TB, cervical cancer, or telemedicine. Some employees work on our research program, including CFAR-funded studies, NIH RO1 funded studies, and those who work at our basic science laboratory. Others work on our ongoing education initiatives. You can read more about the work of the Partnership here.
NO. If you are a PI or program head and have a project that will have ongoing expenses, we can help you charge expenses to your grant funds in country and help with your in country finances. Please contact the BUP Business Administrator, Peter Mulcahy to set this up.
Our in country staff will help you complete the form there and will provide you with an introductory letter.
For goods purchased and imported from suppliers in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries (Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland):
For goods purchased and imported from suppliers outside of Botswana and SACU member countries (e.g. Europe, Asia, North America):
Note: When BUP tries to bring goods through ourselves, or a supplier chooses to transport the goods through borders on their own, we currently require the assistance of a Customs Clearing Agent. Customs Clearing Agents are trained to use BURS customs software to prepare the appropriate forms for importation. This typically requires different agents on each side of the border, and requires a couple hundred Rand and a similar amount of Pula. We have applied to gain customs clearing agent status ourselves, to be able to complete and submit customs forms on our own, rather than engage external agents. This application process takes some time, and, in the meantime, if the supplier’s shipper has not organised this service, we suggest using existing clearing agents.
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Send any other questions not answered here to Heather Calvert.