This exciting healthcare fieldwork experience in Costa Rica and Nicaragua is organized by faculty in conjunction with the Partnership for Responsible Adventures in eXperiential Intercultural Service/Study (PRAXIS). PRAXIS staff and Valpo faculty have more than a decade of experience in leading health-related service-learning trips in Central America. CONHP faculty are well-equipped to be catalysts for student growth in public health and clinical skills, and in understanding the cultural, economic, political, and religious context in which health services are provided.
Central America offers some of the world's most beautiful scenery, including dazzling beaches, magnificent waterfalls, and rugged jungle terrain.
"The trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua was an amazing opportunity to practice my nursing skills and see how my nursing education can influence lives outside the United States. It is definitely a life-changing experience that gave me a much better understanding of the impact that I can have on a person's life with the knowledge I've gained in my nursing classes." Paige Snyder, '12
"The College of Nursing Spring Break study abroad trips provide a unique opportunity to students. I went to Costa Rica and Nicaragua as a sophomore, so it was my first time working in a real-world experience. It was amazing to work with patients, physicians, and translators from a different culture and to actually do the things that I had been learning in school for the past two years. This was an unforgettable experience!" Catherine Wingstrom, '11
"The medical mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua was an experience that I feel so blessed to be a part of! The trip was enriched by all the wonderful physicians, volunteers, professors, patients and fellow students that I met along the way. My health assessment skills improved drastically, but more importantly, I learned about another culture and gained a new outlook on health and well-being. The trip opened doors for me that I never would have considered. It was absolutely an opportunity of a lifetime." Kylie Cook, '10
The 3-credit (NUR 360) health care field experience begins with course work and seminars in basic triage, tropical medicine, health care systems, and medical Spanish. Following this training, students will work in teams with health care professionals at several different clinics.
Hands-on fieldwork will include rotating experiences in all or some of the following: community health home visits, patient interviews, medical exams, distribution of medication, dentistry, and basic eye exams. All clinical work is carried out under the supervision of licensed professionals.
The program is open to all undergraduate BSN, Healthcare Leadership, Health Science, Public Health, DNP and MSN students. All students should consult with their academic advisor regarding course planning.
Program Dates for Spring Break 2018 have not yet officially been determined. Dates listed will serve as an estimate until official dates are released. Please note dates will fall within the Valpo Spring Break period.
Application Requirements and Deadlines
Applications will be reviewed by the College of Nursing and Health Professions after the deadline has passed. Once a decision has been made, applicants will be notified via their Valpo e-mail.
Click the “Apply Now” button at the top of this page to begin an application.
Please refer to the budget sheet above. The Program Cost is an estimate that includes all transportation in-country, housing, border and security costs, educational materials, medical supplies, and some meals.
Airfare will be arranged by the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Students are expected to travel as a group because of the shortness of the program, and the need to be together in case of any delay. Every effort is made to obtain the lowest possible airfares while working with the university travel agents. Please note that agents get fare quotes directly from the airline and group flight fares may differ significantly from individual live fares found online due to the fact that we are reserving many seats together in a group block. The lowest group fare should not be compared to an individual live fare.
Students will also be responsible for purchasing immunizations, and passport fees not included in the program cost.
The estimate for personal spending money will vary greatly depending on individual spending habits. This would include personal items, additional personal travel, restaurant meals, shopping, and other activities such as going to movies, concerts, etc. This estimate found in the budget sheet is based on average spending and students should estimate for themselves based on their spending habits.
Enrollment and Travel Fellowships
Enrollment and Travel Fellowships are available, but are limited and based on the Dean's Fund and various travel restrictions that limit capacity. Fellowships are funded by gifts from alumni and friends of the CON and are not included in the approximate costs.
Christ College offers the Schweitzer fellowship to help with funding for this trip. More info can be found here: http://www.valpo.edu/christcollege/academicoppor/travelfellowships.php
Program Contact Information
Professor Amy Cory
Phone: (219) 464-5296
Contact Professor Cory for all program-related questions including course questions, registration, and cost.
Study Abroad Advising:
Erin Kunert, Associate Director of Study Abroad Programs
Office: Gandhi-King Center, Union 2nd floor
Phone: (219) 464-5333
Contact Erin with administrative questions about application
Apply for a Passport!
Passports need to be valid for at least six months past the program’s end date. As part of the application, students must upload a copy of a valid passport, or a receipt or similar proof that the student has submitted a passport application. Information on how to apply for a passport can be found here.