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FAQ

CFHI's Global Health Education Programs are field experiences often referred to as global health internships, clinical electives, away rotations, service-learning, global health scholars programs or externships.  They combine exposure to clinical practices, public health, social services, social determinants of health, culture, human resources for health, and much more to provide a reflective, transformative Global Health educational experience.

By traveling to Latin America, Africa, or Asia, CFHI programs immerse you within a global community to see health, life, and culture through the community lens.  Programs offer first-hand experiences alongside local physicians and public health experts and combine instruction, experience, service, and reflection, to create a model that supports physicians, clinical sites and communities abroad.  CFHI has over 30 programs in 10 countries, open to all with an interest in global health.  Programs are tailored to each participant's educational level and interests and lay the foundation for a career in global health, furthering your understanding of health care and development in communities who are struck by poverty, resource limitations, and a multitude of challenges leading to high burdens of illness, death and reduced quality of life.

*For European applicant-specific information, please see our European Applicant page.


About CFHI programs

What makes CFHI unique?

CFHI is unique because our Global Health Education Programs are imbedded in long-standing community engagement, asset-based development, professional development, and commitment to highlighting local healthcare workers, health systems, and complex determinants of health.  Our programs trace health and other policies to the community level, allowing participants to be in the 'trenches' of global health alongside community-based clinical and public health delivery.  CFHI participants individual experiences are imbedded in a collective, sustainable and empowering impact in host communities contributing economically, intellectually, and with solidarity on many levels.

Who can participate in CFHI Programs?   

CFHI programs are inter-professional and available for undergraduate, graduate, professional and post-graduate students.  Clinical and public health education is catered to participants based on their educational level, language skills, and professional pursuits. Participants must be 20 years of age or older. Our programs are educational and interdisciplinary, meaning we encourage students from different majors, levels of education, fields, and expertise to work together while learning from and serving CFHI host communities.  CFHI program activities are tailored to each student, creating an experience that is professionally enriching, is ethically appropriate for your level of training and ensuring patient safety.  CFHI participants include medical students, residents, public health students, nursing students, social science majors, social work students, pre-health students, dental students, allied health students, and more.

How do CFHI Programs differ from other experiences abroad? 

CFHI was established 1992 and is considered the gold standard in the field for their ethical approach, unique funding structure, and asset-based community development model.  The majority of CFHI programs are offered year round, every month, and are run by local health professionals to provide authentic in-country experiences.  CFHI is also an official partner of AMSA (American Medical Student Association), is recognized by the Better Business Bureau, and is proud to be part of a small number of nonprofits serving in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations. As a UN-recognized nonprofit, CFHI programs uphold the highest ethical standards with over 50% of student fees reinvested in underserved communities abroad. Learn more about our impact in Latin America, Africa, and India.

How do I participate CFHI Global Health Education Program?

To participate in a CFHI Global Health Education Program:

  • Choose a program location and focus that interests you.
  • Choose from a variety of available start dates or contact CFHI at students@cfhi.org to request an alternate start date.
  • Fill out a quick application including short answer questions and 2 references.
  • Set-up your crowdfunding page to raise funds for your program fees.
  • Check out our Discounts and Scholarships pages to learn more about group discounts and other funding resources.

Can I get academic credit for CFHI programs?

Over 60% of CFHI participants get academic credit from their school for CFHI programs.  To find out what is required at your school talk to your advisor, global health, or study abroad faculty. CFHI assists with program enrollment, confirmation letters, evaluations, and other documentation you may need.  Many schools have existing agreements or partnerships with CFHI in place, which makes getting credit even easier.  Questions about getting academic credit? Email students@cfhi.org.

Does CFHI have programs for universities, schools and faculty?

Along providing programs directly to students, CFHI offers academic partnerships for schools and departments to scale up global offerings and international engagement.  CFHI Academic Partnerships include a range of options such as customized programs created with university partners to cover specific program themes, curriculum, duration, or simply allow school’s greater access to CFHI’s existing Global Health Education Programs.  CFHI has over 20 Academic Partners spanning both undergraduate and graduate/professional schools, UC Davis, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Princeton, and many more.  Learn more about CFHI Academic Partnerships.

How can I help support CFHI’s efforts and innovative work?

CFHI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization recognized by the Better Business Bureau, with 92 cents of every dollar donated going directly to our programs.  Donating to CFHI enables us to keep program fees low, provides scholarships for students with economic need, supports global communities’ efforts to address health and social issues through Community Health Projects, and endorses an empowering approach to North-South international engagement.  Learn more about how you can make an impact through CFHI.

How does CFHI help ensure safety for program participants?

For over 20 years, we have hosted over 8,000 participants in more than 25 sites around the world. Our first priority is student safety.  Visit CFHI’s “Participant Safety” page, where you will find a learn about the various strategies CFHI uses to minimize risks on-site risks and prioritize participant safety.

CFHI sends participants pre-departure orientation materials with information on safety, security and cultural norms. Participants also receive an in-person orientation the day after arrival, where they receives, a pre-paid cell phone with emergency and other useful phone numbers pre-programmed and detailed safety guidelines and recommendations to follow while on the program.

CFHI San Francisco is also in regular contact with all of our international partner sites and monitors the political, health and other situations occurring in each country.  Our longevity at each site and the close relationships with our partners. What are “CFHI Global Health Education Programs”?

CFHI Global Health Education Programs are an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate/professional level students, or recent graduates, to learn about global health with a focus on imbedding yourself with a global community and seeing health, life, and culture through the community’s eyes. CFHI’s programs lay the foundation for a career in global health or further your understanding of health care and development in communities who are struck by poverty, resource limitations, and a multitude of challenges leading to avoidable levels of illness, death and reduced quality of life.


Program Logistics

How much do CFHI programs cost?

CFHI programs have program fees to make sure that all the costs involved in hosting CFHI participants in global communities are covered as well as additional funds are invested into host communities health and community empowerment projects. 

What is the payment timeline for my CFHI program?

Beginning with your application to being accepted into a CFHI program and preparing for your program, payments should be submitted according to the following schedule.

  • $95 application fee required in order for your application to be reviewed and processed. This fee is in addition to the program fee.
  • $350 deposit payment (deducted from program fee) due 30 days from official date of acceptance.
  • Remainder of program fee due 45 days prior to desigated arrival date as listed on the website for your program month. This means that if you have an alternate arrival date for any given month, you will still be responsible for paying by the same deadline as those starting on the regular date for that month. You are welcome to submit as many payments as necessary leading up to this deadline, as long as the program fee is paid in full on or before the deadline.

Are the program areas safe?

CFHI’s longevity, track record, and close relationships with our international partners provide a network for safe and secure student experiences abroad. We recommend that you always use your common sense when walking around.

Where will I live?

You will receive accommodation information by email 1-2 weeks before the program start date. Your residence varies depending to the destination you are traveling to, CFHI participants will be housed in university dorms, at private hospital or clinic staff quarters, in an ashram, apartments, or with a home stay family. Information on what type of accommodation will be on your program, visit the Accommodation & Homestay tab under the program description for your desired program.

What kinds of facilities are available at the accommodation?

All accommodations have bathrooms, toilets and laundry facilities available. At some accommodations you will wash your clothes by hand, elsewhere a host family will wash your clothes for you and in some places you will be able use a nearby Laundromat.

Is internet available at my accommodation and program sites?

Internet is accessible at almost all sites, either at nearby internet cafes, the language school, homestay or housing, or by purchasing a USB modem. Please note that internet speeds may vary depending on your location and therefore don't plan on always having fast or consistent internet.

Will there be other students on my program?

The number of participants at our programs varies during the year and the programs have a different capacity, but the number of participants will typically be between 4-20. In the summer months there are usually more participants than during other times of the year. You will receive a list of your fellow travelers one month prior to departure and CFHI's Programs Team can check the availability of the programs, if you want to get an idea about how many other participants will participate at your desired program when you are planning on being there. There is a possibility that students may occasionally find they are the only participant, but this often is a wonderful opportunity to connect more deeply with the host community.

Can my friends join me in the program?

Of course! Grab 3 or more of your friends and benefit from the group discount CFHI offers. Learn more at our Discount page.


Personal/Health & Safety

Do I need insurance?

CFHI provides emergency medical and evacuation insurance, however it will not cover all cases therefore we suggest that you have a regular health insurance as well.

What should I bring with me?

You will receive a detailed packing list once you have submitted your deposit payment. This list can be found in a document within your CFHI online account under Pre-Departure Training and titled "Reader #1-Program Guide-Logistics". 

Do I need vaccinations or medicine for my program?

Please consult your government's travel page for the program country you are planning on visiting and visit your healthcare provider or practitioner to make sure you are up to date and have taken all of the precautions to protet your health . Please be advised that some vaccinations require a long time period prior to your departure (some have multiple doses or cannot be taken in combination with others) and that some country's require proof of your vaccinations (travel related or other). Please also note that you should check neighbouring country regulations should you want to travel prior to or after your CFHI program.

How much spending money should I bring?

CFHI usually recommends to bring a few hundred Dollars/Euros with you for spending money. Your spending money amount depends on how many weeks you are staying, if you plan to travel during weekends or prior to or after your program, and if you are planning on shopping or eating out etc. Note that 2 meals are provided per day in all of our programs. 

Are there significant cultural differences I should be prepared for?

Upon your arrival you will attend an in-country welcome orientation, which includes information about cultural awareness. In addition, you can contact the Programs Team if you have questions about a specific destination and pre-departure materials related to your program will also touch upon this topic.

Will I have a contact person on site?

Yes we have a trusted team of professional and responsive in-country partners that are available 24/7 to provide support and guidance. In case of emergencies, CFHI staff can also be reached on a 24/7 emergency hotline