Global Internship Program

Global Health: Internships in La Paz

  • Dates

    Internship Abroad: June 26 – August 21, 2023

    Online Courses: June 26 – September 1, 2023

  • Location

    La Paz, Bolivia

  • Vaccine Requirement

    COVID-19 vaccine required for participation by program provider.

  • Program Fee

    UCLA Undergrads (4 – Units): $7,150

    UCLA Undergrads (8 – Units): $8,266

    Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents.

***Info Session: Click here to watch our recent info session***

The Global Internship Program in La Paz provides students an immersive Global Health learning experience through firsthand clinical observations. UCLA IEO partners with Child Family Health International (CFHI), a United Nations-recognized non-profit organization, which specializes in experiential global health education. Through rotations at clinics, hospitals, and NGOs, weekly lectures from the local medical director, Spanish language classes and cultural activities, students will have the unique opportunity to explore the social determinants of health and healthcare in La Paz.

While completing their clinical rotations, students will also be enrolled in 1 or 2 online courses, earning 4-to-8 units of academic credit. Online courses follow Summer Session A and will last for a total of 10 weeks. Student’s looking to receive financial aid must be enrolled in 2-courses during the program.

Please Note: This program is an immersive professional development and cultural experience. All on-site program content will be delivered in Spanish. Students will be placed in home-stays with local Bolivian families where they will be able to practice and improve their Spanish language skills. Additionally, participants will take weekly Spanish language classes (not for UCLA credit) in order to better immerse themselves into the local culture and to improve their medical Spanish vocabulary.

Application Timeline

Application Opens:  October 24, 2022

Application Closes:  December 4, 2022

Final Payment Deadline: February 10, 2023

Cancellation Deadline: February 15, 2023

Please do not enroll in a Global Internship Program unless you are sure you intend to participate. Remember that your deposit is nonrefundable. See our Cancellation Policy. The cancellation deadline is February 15, 2023 at 11:59PM. Paid program fees (minus $300 nonrefundable deposit) are refundable until February 15, 2023 at 11:59PM.

Eligibility, Selection and Placement Process

Eligibility Criteria

  • Undergraduate student
  • Minimum of 90 units completed by end of Spring 2023
    • Units can include transfer credit
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Good academic standing
  • Completion of SPAN 1, 2 and 3 by Winter 2023 OR completion of the Spanish Placement Exam with placement into SPAN 4 or above. Placement exam results must be emailed by no later than December 4th to the Associate Director of Global Internships at abottom@ieo.ucla.edu.
  • Proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination required by program partner

*This program provides a fully immersive cultural experience with all program content presented in Spanish and lodging provided in homestays with local Bolivian families. Although only an intermediate level of Spanish is required, for the best experience, we suggest that students have an advanced level of Spanish language skills.

Selection Process

Students who apply that meet the eligibility criteria will conduct an advising call with CFHI, our partners in La Paz, Bolivia. Through this advising call, CFHI will learn more about each applicant’s qualifications, experience and career goals. The call will help CFHI determine whether the applicant is a good match for program in La Paz. After the call is completed, CFHI and UCLA will decide whether to offer the applicant acceptance into the La Paz Global Internship Program based on their qualifications and the pool of applicants.

Acceptance Decisions

Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions in early January.

Placement Process 

Students selected for the La Paz program will need to place their program deposit first, in order to be officially enrolled in the program. After enrolling in the program, a placement coordinator from CFHI will work with each student one-on-one to find the best health site matches for their clinical rotations. Clinical rotation sites and schedules will be customized to a students’ personal and career goals, interests and experience.

Students will complete clinical rotations 4 days per week for approximately 5 hours per day. Additionally, students will attend a weekly 2 hour medical seminar with their medical director and attend Spanish language courses/cultural activities 3 times per week.  In total, students will have approximately 24-to-32 hours of on-site program activities per week.

Documents to Prepare for Your Application

Resume

As part of the application process, you will be asked to upload a current copy of your resume. Please take time to appropriately format and spell check your resume before submitting. For assistance with your resume, you can use the VMock tool provided by the UCLA Career Center.

Motivation to Enroll Questionnaire 

As part of your application process you will be asked to complete a questionnaire. Responses should be well thought out and demonstrate why you are a strong candidate for the Global Internship Program. It’s highly encouraged to prepare your responses in advance on a Word document and then copy and paste to the application once you apply. The maximum word count for each short-answer response is 125 words. Please see the questions below to assist you in preparing your answers.

  • Personal Introduction: Please give some  general background on yourself and why you are interested in participating in the Global Internship Program? (125 word maximum)
  • Location of Interest: What makes you interested in interning in the particular city or country you selected for your program? (125 word maximum)
  • Career Goals: Within your career field, which specific sector are you interested in working in and what do you hope to gain from this global internship experience? How will this experience assist you toward reaching your career goals? (125 word maximum)
  • Why should you be selected? What do you think makes you stand out as a strong candidate for the Global Internship Program? Why should you be selected for the program? (125 word maximum)

Health Site Rotation and Medical Lecture Examples

Sample La Paz Health Sites:

Please note that these are just a few examples of health sites in La Paz . Students will be placed at health sites based on their career goals, interests, experiences and site capacity. Each student will receive their specific health site rotation schedule upon arrival to La Paz.

  • CEREFE: is also a non-profit special education center that has been operating in the city of El Alto for several years. CEREFE serves people with physical, sensory and mental disabilities. CEREFE was created to provide specialized care to disabled people. CEREFE provides care and technical education to people with visual, hearing, intellectual, and multiple disabilities and also offers specialized services to children with learning difficulties.
  • Primary Health Care, La Paz and El Alto: Bolivia’s healthcare system offers primary care to all citizens through small Health Centers, located in every neighborhood of La Paz and El Alto. These centers focus on prevention and promotion of health offering in-house and external community services to children, adolescents and women, public health programs to fight malnutrition, tuberculosis, cervical cancer, and meet dental and other healthcare needs.
  • Public Hospital for Women, La Paz: This tertiary hospital cares for women of childbearing age, from pregnancy to delivery to the postnatal period. A team of highly trained gynecologists and obstetricians solve most pathologies related to pregnancy and delivery. It is also a teaching hospital that trains medical students, interns, and Gynecology and Obstetrics residents.
  • Public Pediatric Hospital, La Paz: This tertiary hospital serves children and adolescents with all types of pathologies. A leading research center, it is a point of reference for the whole country, where the most common and most rare diseases may be observed. As a teaching hospital, it trains medical students, interns and pediatric residents. Rotate with specialists in infectious diseases, nephrology, gastroenterology, neonatology, and more, and observe nurses and residents as they care for seriously ill children.
  • University Hospital Nuestra Señora de La Paz, La Paz: This is a private hospital attached to the University Nuestra Señora de La Paz serving students in all Health Sciences. It is atertiary hospital with all medical specialties.
  • Virgen Niña: The Association Centro Virgen Niña, is a non-profit special education center created and funded by the Catholic Church. The Association Centro Virgen Niña started working with six children in 1993, to date they tend to hundreds of children of different ages. The Association is focused on the human, social and educational development of the families that make up the community, working on values of charity, solidarity and dignity. Today the Association Centro Virgen Niña works with a multidisciplinary team in the areas of Physiotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Speech Therapy, Psychomotricity, Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Nutrition, Psych pedagogy, Social Work, primary medical care, and dental care. Virgen Niña also provides special training to the teachers that work with children with disabilities.

Health Lectures led by the Medical Director

The Medical Director and/or other local health experts lead weekly lectures to help students understand local health systems and realities, the burden of disease, and health priorities in each context. Some examples might include,

  • Introduction to the Bolivian Healthcare system and Universal health coverage
  • Interculturality and Health
  • Determinants of Health in Bolivia
  • Burden of disease and inequities
  • Sexual and reproductive health: focus on teenage pregnancy as a public health challenge
  • Maternal Health
  • Integration of traditional medicine into the Bolivia Healthcare system

Internship Hours

Students will have approximately 24-to-32 hours of on-site program activities per week. The on-site program activities breakdown as follows:

  • Clinical rotations 4 days per week for approximately 5 hours per day.
  • A weekly 2 hour medical seminar with the medical director.
  • Spanish courses/cultural activities 3 times per week.

Curriculum

Program Courses

All students are required to enroll in the I A STD 195CE course while attending the program. Students who wish to earn more units and/or apply for financial aid, may also enroll in the CESC 130 course as well.

  • I A STD 195CE (4 units) ~ Mandatory
  • CESC 130 (4 units) ~ Optional 

Please note that in order to be eligible for financial aid, students must be enrolled in both the mandatory course AND the optional course (total of 8-units).  

Course Descriptions

I A STD 195CE: Internship Course (4 units)

Prerequisites:  None

International and Area Studies (I A STD) 195CE is a 4-unit course designed around an individual internship experience. This course will offer you the opportunity to apply international studies theories and concepts to your internship experience. This course will help you analyze the effects the global and interconnected nature of our world has on people, cultures, politics, economics, and organizations. You will take your academic knowledge beyond the classroom, and in your papers and during one-on-one meetings, you will analyze your organization and work experience within an international context. I A STD 195CE must be taken for a letter grade if applied for major/minor elective credit. Pass/no pass is allowed.

*The course may fulfill electives for the Global Health minor by petition to the program Chair.

CESC 130: Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace (4 units)

Prerequisites:  None

This 4-unit course is designed to help students critically analyze their own cultural values and beliefs and the impact they have on their communication. It will provide students with strategies and tools to more effectively communicate and to manage intercultural conflicts in the global workplace. Students will study and critique intercultural communication theories, review relevant case studies and discuss first hand experiences from their global internship. This course must be taken for a letter grade. Auditing and pass/no pass is not allowed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As part of the program, participants will also take weekly Spanish classes (not for UCLA credit). These classes are mandatory in order to help students immerse themselves into the local culture and to improve their medical Spanish vocabulary. Students will be placed into the Spanish language classes based on level of language proficiency. 

Budget and Financial Aid

Budget UCLA Undergrads (4-Units)  UCLA Undergrads (8-Units)
Program Fee $7,150 $8,266
IEI Fee $61 $61
Tourist Visa (estimate) $160 $160
Airfare (estimate) $1,500 $1,500
Meals & Incidentals (estimate) $1,000 $1,000

*Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents. Click here for full fee disclaimer.

Program fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Health site placements
  • Virtual Pre-Departure Training
  • Airport pickup and dropoff
  • Homestay accommodation with local family in La Paz (see On-Location for more details)
  • 2 Meals per day
  • On-site orientation 
  • Weekly lecture with medical director
  • Spanish language classes and cultural activities
  • Local cell-phone number
  • 24/7 on-site healthy and safety support from the CFHI staff
  • Health insurance.

Personal Expenses NOT Included:

  • Roundtrip Airfare to La Paz
  • Visa Fee
  • Personal travel during program
  • Costs for medical expenses and emergencies
  • 3rd daily meal (students are responsible for either dinner or breakfast, depending on the day)
  • Personal expenses during and after program
  • Public transportation to/from housing to health sites

IEI Fee 

All undergraduate students will be charged a $61 IEI fee per summer. The IEI (Instructional Enhancement Initiative) fee is a course materials fee that is charged in order to support the use of technology in undergraduate education at UCLA. For more information please click here.

Budgeting

We recommend that you budget accordingly to cover optional sightseeing, laundry, emergencies, etc.  How much to budget depends on your travel, entertainment, meals, and souvenir choices. It is always best to overestimate your spending. Take the time to research the cost of living in your destination and the activities you want to participate in while abroad.

Purchasing Airfare

Students should not purchase their flight to La Paz until informed to do so by UCLA.

*The purchase of a fully-refundable and/or flexible airfare is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Financial Aid

Financial aid for Summer Global Internship Programs is available to qualified UCLA students. Students must be enrolled in a total of 8 units (2 courses) to be eligible for financial aid. For details about the financial aid application process, please visit the Financial Aid section of this website.

On Location

Arrival

Our partner organization, CFHI, will provide airport pickup for upon arrival to La Paz. CFHI will also arrange airport drop off at the end of your program.

Accommodations

Students will reside in homestay accommodations with local families in La Paz. Homestays provide a unique opportunity to learn about local culture and practice Spanish skills on a daily basis in an informal setting. Homestay families are generally middle class and live in downtown La Paz, often in high-rise apartment buildings. Homestay families are located in close proximity to one another and the language school, allowing participants to walk to language classes and meetings with ease.

Each student will have a single bed in a private or shared bedroom. Hot water is generally (but not always) available for showers. Wi-Fi is often, but not always available in the program lodging. CFHI will help coordinate access to the internet to complete academic assignments, should there not be reliable access in your homestay.

Meals

Two meals per day are provided by the host family.

Optional Social and Cultural Activities

This program offers various social, cultural and networking events that students can participate in with the other internship program participants.

Travel

Travel to La Paz

All Global Internship program participants are required to purchase and arrange their own travel accommodations to La Paz, Bolivia. Students should not purchase their flight to La Paz until informed to do so by UCLA. Students will receive specific arrival instructions to assist with arrival to program housing.

*The purchase of a fully-refundable and/or flexible airfare is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.  

Visa Information:

U.S. citizens are required to obtain a tourist visa to conduct an internship in Bolivia, which can be obtained upon arrival.

For non-US citizens, please contact the Associate Director for the Global Internship Program  if you have questions regarding your visa eligibility for the program.

Personal Travel

The Global Internship Program is an intensive 8 week experience. Health sites will expect students to complete their weekly hours and will not be providing vacation days during the program. Although it may be possible for students to conduct short weekend trips, all longer trips should be conducted prior to or after the conclusion of the Global Internship Program.