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Interprofessional Field Study of US and Rwandan Services to At Risk Infants

Location

Harrisonburg, VA, Kigali, Muhanga, Rwanda

Program Description

The course of study is an interprofessional comparison of service delivery to vulnerable infants in both the US and Rwanda. Students from the College of Health and Behavioral Studies will focus on some key elements of infant development in each country to include nutrition, health, speech & hearing, and wellbeing.

The course will start at JMU for both classroom and field work in the Harrisonburg community. This work will then move to Rwanda, where students will first immerse themselves in the culture of this vibrant African country. This will include visits to some of the mass graves and genocide memorials that dot the Rwandan countryside. Students will also speak to some of the survivors who have helped to shape the home health care system that the students will subsequently study. There will also be time to experience Kigali city life.

The group will then move to Muhanga, a small city about 30 miles from the capital city. Here the students will spend most of their time in the small villages surrounding the city interviewing families, home health visitors, and spending time with faculty and students from the Institut Catholique de Kabgayi.

At the end of the program the students will develop a cross cultural comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of each country’s approach, with recommendations for how US services to at risk infants can benefit from what they have learned in Rwanda.

Location Description

Rwanda is located in the central eastern portion of Africa and is about a quarter of the size of Virginia. It has a tropical climate that will vary little through the duration of this program, with sunny temperatures ranging throughout the course of the day from 55 to 80 degrees. Locals speak Kinyarwanda as well as combinations of English, French, and Swahili.

Marred by the genocide in 1994, the country has experienced a renaissance since then. The economy is growing and most indices of health and education have experienced steady improvement. The culture is vibrant and while resources are not abundant, the country is bustling and is often called the gateway to doing business in Africa. Similarly, it is ranked as one the safest countries in Africa, with a murder rate below that of the US. The currency is the Rwandan franc and the most common religion is Christianity.

Director

Rory DePaolis | depaolra@jmu.edu | Communication Sciences and Disorders

Lisa McGuire | mcguirle@jmu.edu | Social Work

Accommodations

We will stay briefly in Kigali in a downtown hotel that includes wifi and is walking distance to some of the highlights of the city. Accommodation in Muhanga will be provided by Azzizi life, a not for profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women in the villages surrounding Muhanga. The Azzizi life hostel is situated in Muhanga within a short drive of the villages that students will be working in. The hostel includes wifi and showers and is walking distance to the downtown.

Breakfast will be provided at the accommodation sites. Students will be given a stipend that will cover the cost of lunch and dinner. In addition, students will be sharing meals with families in the villages as part of their field work.

Additional Items to Consider

  • Students will need to consider a number of immunizations recommended by the CDC (currently typhoid, hepatitis A and possibly C, tetanus booster).
  • In addition, Rwanda currently requires proof of yellow fever vaccination in order to enter the country.
  • It is also suggested that each student consult with their doctor well in advance of the trip on issues such as medications for malaria and stomach discomfort.
  • Sunscreen and effective insect repellant are also required.
  • Rwanda has excellent infrastructure so US phones might work, but students should check with their provider.
  • Wifi is common throughout the country.
  • There are ATMs in both Kigali and Muhanga, and opportunities to buy Rwandan Francs at the airport. The dollar is widely accepted but to be safe, students should bring $50 or $100 bills that are from 2013 or later.
  • Finally, each student will need to purchase a visa (currently $30) at border control at the Kigali International Airport.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

The program is intended for students in CHBS

Rising seniors, although juniors will be considered

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline

Dates


All dates are tentative and subject to change

Courses

CSD 490: Home Health Service Delivery in Rwanda and the USA (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.

Cost

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