International Field Experience

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Contacts:

Jesse Casanova, MS
International Field Experience Administrator
(813) 974-4247
jcasanov@health.usf.edu

Michelle Hodge, MPH
Field Experience Administrator
(813) 974-6665
mhodge1@health.usf.edu

The Council on Education for Public Health, the accrediting body for schools of public health states: “A planned, supervised and evaluated practice experience is an essential component of a public health professional degree program.”

WHAT IS AN INTERNATIONAL FIELD EXPERIENCE?

  • International field experience is a practicum that is open to all College of Public Health students, and is mandatory for students in the Global Health Practice concentration. It is considered an important part of the academic curriculum, serving as a structured and significant educational experience. The International Field Experience takes place in an agency, institution, or community in a developing country, and under the supervision of the Host Country Supervisor and the guidance of the student’s Academic Advisor.

  • The International field experience provides the opportunity to integrate theory and practice in an international public health work environment. The student contributes to a community’s resources and to the solution of public health problems while developing personal confidence and leadership skills as a public health professional.

  • Students considering an international field experience should have strong communication skills to cut across language, cultural, and educational barriers; be flexible with different cultural norms and hospitality practices, have tolerance for a reduced standard of living, less personal privacy, and be able to live without many of the modern conveniences that we take for granted in the United States.

  • With any international work or travel there are risks and challenges not encountered in the United States. The landscape of international settings can change quickly. Therefore, students are expected to be flexible and communicative throughout their international field experience. Students are ultimately responsible for educating themselves about the risks in traveling and preparing for possible adverse events.

  • Students contemplating and international field experience are expected to learn about the host country in matters concerning: safety, health, legal, political, cultural, religious, gender, etiquette and environmental considerations.

  • Before serving the international field experience (IFE), students must complete the College Core Courses (PHC 6000, PHC6050, PHC6102, PHC6357, PHC6410), other course(s) as determined by your Academic Advisor, and the international field experience orientation.

  • The student, the Academic Advisor, and the IFE Coordinator, have joint responsibility for identifying potential field placements and planning and evaluating the experience. The international field placement site must be approved by the College of Public Health.

  • Students anticipating an international field experience should begin planning one (1) year prior to departure.

Note: Full waivers for the field experience are rarely granted. Most students who seek a waiver receive a reduction in the number of required field experience hours instead. If the student or the faculty advisor requests a full waiver, a strong statement of need with signatures from the faculty advisor and department chair should be sent to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for approval.