Frequently Asked Questions

Opportunities to work with BUP

To find out what opportunities are available to you, view our Opportunities page.

To find out what opportunities are available to you, read Clinical Rotations in Botswana - For Penn Residents & Fellows.

Yes, the Global Internship Program is available to Penn students outside of the School of Medicine. BUP with Penn Global offers internships ideal for Penn students studying computer science, health, social work, and/or communications who want to spend their summer making an impact in Botswana. For more information about this year's summer 2020 internship opportunities, please check our website at the end of October 2020 when we will publish our internship positions and application details.

If you are Penn or CHOP faculty or staff and are planning a trip to Botswana to conduct research, perform a scoping visit, facilitate a training, or do clinical work, please complete this NEW quick and easy questionnaire to access BUP services.

At this time, we do not facilitate placements for non-Penn individuals in Botswana. However you are welcome to reach out to faculty in country who may be aware of opportunities to work or volunteer in Botswana. We do not provide funding, insurance, or liability coverage for non-Penn individuals. Please refer to this form to better understand what services are available to non-Penn individuals.

BUP Accomodations

BUP offers accommodations at Village View which is a complex of guesthouses located in the Village neighborhood of Gaborone near the Riverwalk Mall. BUP leases two apartment units at Village View to provide accommodations for visiting trainees and faculty. . Guests stay at the BUP apartments at the discretion of the BUP. For more information about accommodations including rates and how to make a reservation, see BUP Accommodation.

If the BUP Accommodation is fully booked or you would like to know about other accommodation options in Gaborone, see next FAQ.

You may be able to find accommodations at Motheo Apartments or through Airbnb. The University of Botswana also offers affordable residences on their campus. BUP cannot book these alternative accommodations for you. For more information about these options, check the website links provided.

It is preferred that you make a reservation at least 30 days before you arrive. During busier months, April through September, we advise making a reservation as early as possible because Village View can fill up.

Sharing rooms allows BUP to offer accommodations to more guests, thus flexibility is appreciated when making a reservation. Due to social distancing, BUP is not enforcing sharing bedrooms at this time, until it is safe to do so.

Yes, BUP apartments at Village View are similar to a hostel rather than a hotel. Bedrooms can accommodate two visitors and each guest is assigned a bed. We typically organize the bedrooms by gender. All spaces at the BUP apartments (bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) are shared. If you prefer to have more control over your accommodation space and/or if you prefer more private space, the BUP Accommodations may not be for you so please consider other accommodations options in Gaborone provided in these FAQs.

Maybe. If space is available and you are working on a BUP project or with a BUP partner (University of Botswana, Princess Marina Hospital, Ministry of Health and Wellness), you may be able to stay at Pilane Court. You would be considered an external visitor (an individual who is not directly employed by or formally affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania or BUP). To request a reservation, you must complete the External Visitor Protocol Form which details your responsibilities and the costs and services that BUP may provide, including accommodations. It needs to be completed at least one month prior to the your arrival. More details can be found on the Botswana travel page.

BUP leases two apartment units at Village View to provide accommodations for visiting trainees and faculty. We must charge guests for their stay in order to maintain the staff, services, and condition of the property.

The busiest months are during Penn's Summer Term (May through August). During these months, the BUP Accommodations are likely to be at full capacity so we ask that guests are understanding and respectful about sharing the space. If you prefer more private space, please consider other accommodation options in Gaborone.

BUP Services

BUP can provide certain services and guidance to visitors. Summaries of BUP services are available for Penn Visitors and External Visitors (individuals who are not students or employees of Penn or CHOP). Please click the links provided.

At least one month prior to the goods arrival in Botswana, you must contact BUP's Operations Assistant, Mr. Khunong, who will instruct you on next steps. In your initial email to him, state what items you are shipping and if the goods were purchased in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) - this includes Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland - or in a non-SACU member country (ie in Europe, Asia, North/South America).

It is important to give Mr. Khunong as much notice as possible about goods arriving in Botswana. This will help to ensure a timely delivery through Botswana's customs and importation authorities.

If you have been recruited to work on a BUP project by a BUP faculty or staff member, but are not formally affiliated with Penn or CHOP, please refer to the External Visitor Protocol Form. This form details the services the Penn/BUP can and cannot provide to external visitors who work on BUP projects in Botswana. 

We do not provide support to family members of Penn or CHOP employees or Penn students or other individuals working with BUP. Global health experiences are rigorous and immersive and we expect all students and residents on funded programs to work full time during their rotation period, research opportunity, or internship. 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 global health experience.

Yes, BUP can provide airport pick up and drop off services to/from the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone. This service is reserved for BUP work-related travel to/from the airport (i.e. your initial arrival and final departure). It is not intended for any personal travel to/from the airport during your time in Botswana. There is a charge for external visitors who would like to use this service. See the BUP services form for External Visitors for more information.

No, BUP can NOT provide car rental and/or driving services. BUP may provide recommendations for car rental and driving services companies upon request.

Requirements for Travel to Botswana

Travelers with a US passport do not need a visa to enter Botswana. However, travelers with passports from certain countries are required to have a visa when entering Botswana. Visit the Botswana Embassy website for a complete list of who is required to have a visa to enter Botswana. If you determine that you do need a visa, read instructions in the Travel Requirements for non-Botswana Citizens.


This is a new requirement implemented by the Department of Immigration in Botswana. These requirements apply to most of Penn’s visitors (clinicians, faculty, students, staff) coming to Botswana through BUP. For more information, read instructions in the Travel Requirements for non-Botswana Citizens.

Yes, you should get travel medical insurance for the duration of your time in Botswana. Penn provides this to Penn students, faculty and staff who are traveling on Penn business. Read the ISOS section under General Travel Guidance

External visitors working with BUP must provide proof of travel health insurance for the duration of the individual’s stay in Botswana as Penn's insurance does not coverage non-Penn individuals.

Requirments for Working Clincially in Botswana

All physicians practicing medicine in Botswana must register with the Botswana Health Professional Council and register for a work permit. To determine how to do that, read Travel Requirements for non-Botswana Citizens.


Refer to this BHPC Registration Guide.

Yes, some of the documents for the BHPC registration need to be notarized (also known as "certified"). Please refer to the BHPC  Registration Guide for more information. Documents that require notarization should be notarized prior to arriving in Botswana. Do not wait to notarized your documents in Botswana.

Yes, but Penn medical professional liability insurance is limited to Penn employees, faculty, and students.

It is important that any external clinicians who work with BUP and practice medicine in Botswana are aware that they are not covered by Penn’s medical professional liability insurance and are at risk for any legal implications that may arise as a result of your clinical practice. In Botswana, it is not required by law to have medical professional liability insurance to practice medicine in the public sector. However, Penn/ BUP strongly recommends that you consult with your home institution or clinical practice regarding its coverage and/or advice for its clinicians practicing medicine in other countries.  If your home institution or clinical practice provides medical professional liability insurance while you are practicing in Botswana, please submit proof to BUP. 


Please also view CGH's website for additional FAQs that may be helpful.