Summer Abroad Global Health Internships


Status: Open—Limited Space Available!

Info Session: 2/7/18, 12:30pm
International Center 2119
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South Africa — Hospital Medicine & Infectious Disease in Durban

On Location

Experience Durban, the heart of Kwa-Zulu Natal province in South Africa, and the heartland of Zulu culture. This dynamic city of over three-million people is South Africa’s second most populous city, as well as the preferred destination for warm subtropical weather and beaches. South Africa has made great strides towards improving the lives of the black population by focusing funds and effort on improving sanitation, education, employment and access to quality healthcare. Despite great efforts, the repressive legacy of Apartheid and the HIV/AIDS and TB pandemics have continued to overburden the fledging healthcare system.

Globally, of the 35 million people currently living with HIV, a daunting 71% are in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has the world’s largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS, and the Kwa-Zulu Natal province was the epicenter of this epidemic. Adding to the clinical activities, students will become immersed in the local culture by living with local homestay families and learn more about the vibrant Zulu culture.


Participants will be placed with a South African family in a middle class suburban neighborhood in Durban about a 20 minute drive from downtown. Most homestays are Zulu and this will allow for a deeper immersion into the culture and a better understanding of South Africa. Participants will be sharing housing with another student in the program.

All homestays are located within walking distance to one another and there are several stores and a minimarket offering Internet, laundry and basic goods within 10 minute walking distance.


2 meals a day.

Travel Logistics

Students must fly into Durban, South Africa. On-site, the program offers private daily transportation between the homestay and clinical rotations Monday through Friday. Students are picked up by a driver in the morning and picked up from their clinical rotations at 2 or 3pm.

Clinical Rotations
Sample Schedule

The first couple of days at the program site will be devoted to orienting you to the city, clinical sites, transportation, and other logistical matters. Clinical rotations will usually take place during the day for 4 to 6 hours, five days a week, generally from 8 am to 2 pm. Clinical rotations will start after the first week of orientation. For 3 weeks, participants will split their time between a local state hospital and a non-profit missionary hospital in a semi-rural area of Durban. For 1 week, participants will rotate at a local hospice, a primary health clinic and the ARV clinic at a local non-profit facility. Clinical rotation sites include: 

Tertiary Public Hospital

The oldest and second largest hospital in South Africa and is the main teaching hospital for the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson Mandela Medical School. Services include pediatrics, neonatal ICU, general surgery, emergency and trauma units, and an ARV clinic.

Parochial Hospital

Located in a semi-rural area of Durban, the hospital was established by Trappist monks who had previously operated out of mud huts. The hospital provides primary health care, OB/GYN, and comprehensive treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.


The facility offers respite care for those in the final stages of chronic disease. It has an eight bed in-care center, home based caretakers, and a day care center for adults and children; mainly serves an Indian population consisting of low and middle income patients. Students will learn alongside nurses providing home based care and gain insight to understanding how to provide effective patient care for those facing life limiting or life threatening illnesses.

HIV Clinic

Is a not for profit care center that provides antiretroviral treatment, psychosocial support, legal advice, meal services, and prevention through outreach touching upon substance abuse, nutrition programs, and youth development. Students will learn about a holistic approach to care through observation in the clinic, as well as home care visits and participation in outreach programs

Excursions and Day Trips

Short excursions and day trips will be included during orientation week.

Orientation Week Sample Schedule

  • Tour of clinics and hospitals where students will be rotating
  • Double Decker Durban City Tour Visit to valley of a thousand hills, includes visit to a traditional Zulu village where students can witness traditional Zulu dance and learn more about ancient rites.
  • Full day Safari
  • Cat Rehab Center: An up close and personal tour to learn more about South Africa’s endangered wildcat species
  • Hippo & Croc Boat Cruise safari in St. Lucia to observe hippos, Nile crocodiles and hundreds of bird species.
  • Umlazi Township, including a visit to orphanage that takes care of children who were orphaned as a result of the parents dying from HIV/AIDS
  • Orientation Dinner
Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About South Africa

South African Currency: Rand

Language Spoken: In Durban, the languages are generally Zulu and English (click here for a full list South Africa's eleven official languages)

Weather and Climate
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