Practicums Abroad: A How-to-Guide

By: Carter McCormick –  2nd year – Global Health

One of the most incredible things about Rollins is that you will talk to faculty, staff, and students that have worked all over the world. From working in humanitarian emergencies in the Middle East to sexual and reproductive health work done in South America, the Rollins community has almost done it all. Coming to campus, if you want to work in a non-domestic setting for your summer practicum, it might seem like a daunting task, but it is easier than you think! This past summer, I was had the opportunity to spend 9 weeks in Kenya working on a Water and Sanitation (WASH) improvement project. Here are some of the resources that I used to find out about practicums and partially fund my project:

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My co-workers and I (kneeling left) from the Millennium Water Alliance in Kenya.

Handshake / Rollins Opportunity Link

The Rollins Opportunity Link (hosted on the Handshake platform) is a career services platform that is internal to Rollins. Starting around late October, there will be posting of practicum opportunities abroad with basic description of the project. These are typically reserved for students in the Global Health department or doing a dual department degree (Global Epidemiology or Global Environmental Health). However, if you are not in the degree programs, you can always still contact the individuals on the posting about it. This is where I found my practicum opportunity. I simply applied via the portal and got an interview for the position before accepting. Many of these postings will also be at the Global Practicum Fair that is hosted in the fall.

 

Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI)

EGHI is an institute at Emory that works with the entire campus. Each year, EGHI funds several interdisciplinary teams, which are teams of students from several individual schools at Rollins (teams must be made up of students from at least 3 different schools at Emory, such as the Rollins, the nursing school, the medical school, the law school, the undergraduate college, the graduate college). These teams receive funding from EGHI to help fund the project. There is a networking night held each year while these teams are recruiting and several Rollins students have gotten their practicums by joining these teams. You can check out some of the projects that past teams have done on EGHI’s website.

 

Global Field Experience (GFE)

GFE is a funding source that is exclusive to Rollins students that are spending a minimum of 6 weeks abroad for their practicum. Students must complete a grant application that is due in February that explains their project. There are several tiers of funding based on if your application needs revisions or not, but generally GFE funding seeks to cover the cost of the flight for the student. It does not guarantee funding to cover the entire summer, but if you are doing an unpaid internship abroad, it is nice to have any amount of funding! Once the fall starts, there are GFE presentations held by the students that received GFE funding that anyone can attend to learn more about their experience. GFE is partially how I funded my summer practicum and helped to cover my housing and food costs. You can check out other past funded GFE practicums here.

 

Networking

Graduate school is all about networking, and getting a summer practicum is no different! Most summer practicums are secured by networking with NGOS, faculty, staff, or other students. If you see a professor that works in your research area, talk to them about if they know if anything is available, or talk to 2nd year students that did work that you are interested in. Members of the Rollins community can also give you more advice on funding sources or how to get paid opportunities. Everyone is willing to help you navigate the practicum landscape, but you have to be willing to ask first!

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