CFHI’s Global Health Education Programs are experiential learning opportunities experiences often referred to as field experiences, global health internships, clinical electives, away rotations, service-learning opportunities, practicums, global health scholars programs, or externships. They combine appropriately scoped and supervised 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. CFHI is a standard-setting leader focused on ethical best practices in global health education, which helps to ensure respect and safety for host communities and global health leaders while also caring for the safety and wellbeing of our participants.

By traveling to Latin America, Africa, or Asia, or by enrolling in a virtual program, CFHI programs immerse you within a global community to experience health, life, and culture through the community lens. Programs offer ethical learning experiences alongside local physicians and public health experts and combine instruction, experience, service, and reflection. 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 health, deepening understanding of health care, health systems, and determinants of health in diverse communities.

About CFHI programs

What is a CFHI program?

CFHI offers community-based global health education programs, which emphasize the knowledge local medical experts have to offer. In this program, you will join local healthcare professionals and learn about various health topics through observational clinical rotations, public health placements and/or lectures. The primary learning objectives to be developed during CFHI programs center around helping participants to develop a deep understanding of the country’s health realities and healthcare systems, develop and refine their own intercultural humility and communication skills when working with individuals from other cultures and backgrounds, and deepen their commitment to global health ethics and best practices. CFHI offers many different programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with varying health themes including but not limited to: Public Health, Primary Health Care, Hospital & Inpatient Medicine, Pediatrics & Child Health, Maternal & Reproductive Health, Urban/Rural Comparative, Traditional & Indigenous Medicine.

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 19 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.

Can I participate on a CFHI program if I don't have US Passport?

Yes! CFHI welcomes participants of all nationalities. Due to recently changing regulations around re-entry into the United States for certain residents and citizens, we recommend consulting with your home institution, your embassy/consulate, as well as third parties such as the American Civil Liberties Union, if you are traveling with a green card, believe you may be affected by travel bans or other regulations, or have questions about how your nationality or legal status may affect your ability to participate in a CFHI program. Please also contact CFHI directly with any questions you have by emailing

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 60% 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 to request an alternate start date.
  • Fill out a quick application including short answer questions and 1 reference.
  • 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

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 10,000 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.

How ‘hands-on’ will my CFHI experience be?

In line with best practices in global health, participants are never placed in a position to diagnose, treat, or in any regard, be responsible for the care of a patient. CFHI programs are experiential learning opportunities and a wonderful way to learn about global health and immerse yourself in another culture, while delving into community partnerships and medical/public health contexts through thematic lenses.

Does CFHI offer scholarships?

CFHI offers many scholarships for both place-based and virtual programs. Visit to find out more about requirements, deadlines, and more information on how to apply. New scholarships are posted every few months, so be sure to check the page frequently.

Program Logistics

What is a typical “Day in the Life” of a CFHI Program?

Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport, brought to your arranged lodging, and offered a comprehensive orientation. Health-related program activities are M-F, 4-6 hours per day. You will have seminars with your on-site Medical Director or preceptors and a reflection meeting with your Local Coordinators. In Latin America, language classes will take place several afternoons per week. During evenings and weekends, you will have time for cultural and leisure activities.

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. Please visit each individual program to see posted fees.

What does the CFHI Program Fee Include?

Central Leadership Team support:

Coordination: visa support, partnership management

School Form Completion

Scholarships support

Faculty preparation & support when applicable

Risk Management and preparation

Complete policies and procedures in case of PEP, sexual assault, political unrest, natural disaster and more)

Robust interactive Pre-Departure Training

Medical History review and action planning

Project advising and facilitation (when applicable)

In-Country Support

Accommodations: Electricity, 2 meals/day, clean water, hot water (not available on all programs), individual bed, vetted locations & hosts, cultural activities, food allergy accommodation

On site orientation

Medical/Evacuation Insurance & facilitation with providers

Critical Reflection

Community Health Project Reciprocity

Experiential site/partner development, quality monitoring, partner contracts, ongoing M&E, bidirectional feedback

Partner training, quality monitoring, reciprocity, preceptor/mentors

Student Assessment and evaluation

24/7 incident reporting

Language Training (varies by program)

Airport pickup, daytime travel at all times

Ground transport, either via orientation to public systems or via private transport, depending on the program

Local phone number with minutes & numbers

Local coordinator/leadership staff

Local director, preceptor


Post-Program Support

Re-entry Programming

Reflection publication opportunities


Alumni Opportunities

Alumni mentorship opportunities

Professional development opportunities: global health conferences and seminars

Alumni Ambassador opportunities

Professional Form Completion

Connection with Global Health Advocacy and Global Citizenship pursuits

What is the payment timeline for my CFHI program?

After you are accepted to your program, you will see your payment amounts and deadlines within your portal. Contact with questions.

Are the program areas safe?

CFHI’s longevity, track record, and close relationships with our international partners provide a foundation that maximizes your safety and security abroad. Learn more on our safety page.

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, apartments, or with a home stay family. Information on what type of accommodation will be on your program, visit the Accommodation  section under the program description for your desired program.

What kinds of facilities are available at the accommodation?

Program lodging varies- homestays, apartments, and dorms are all used depending the program. All lodging is carefully vetted by CFHI. Some programs offer shared rooms, others have single rooms. Each student will have their own bed. Please share any lodging needs or accommodation requests in your CFHI portal, we will do our best to accommodate them. Certain programs, especially in more rural areas, do not offer hot showers or flush toilets. WiFi is not typically available in program lodging. You will learn more about your program accommodations in your pre-departure training.

Is internet available at my accommodation and program sites?

Internet is accessible at internet cafes, the language school, homestay or housing, or by purchasing a USB modem at most program. Internet access will be different and less than you are used to at all programs, and you will not have WiFi at home on many programs. WiFi speeds are typically slower, and video calls may not work well.

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 2-15. In the summer months there are usually more participants than during other times of the year. In the rare case that only one participant is registered for a program, we will notify you ahead of time so you can decide if you want to stay and take advantage of the rich immersion opportunity, or if you would like to switch programs.

Can my friends join me on the program?

Yes! Groups of 5 or more participants joining the same program during the same dates may be eligible for a discount. Please email for more details. (Note: The group discount is only applicable for students not joining as part of an academic partnership cohort or group).

Personal/Health & Safety

Do I need insurance?

CFHI provides emergency medical and evacuation insurance. You will receive detailed policy information prior to travel. Travel insurance is supplemental and does not replace your primary health insurance.

What should I bring with me?

You will receive a detailed packing list once you are accepted to your program. This list can be found in a document within your CFHI Pre-departure training.

Do I need vaccinations or medicine for my program?

Required and suggested immunization and medication information is available via your pre-departure training for your program. We also advise students to visit their doctor or travel health center for specific recommendations.

How much money should I bring?

This will vary depending 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. There are more specific recommendations available to you in your pre-departure training materials. Contact if you have more questions after reviewing your pre-departure training.

Are there significant cultural differences I should be prepared for?

CFHI offers robust pre-departure training including several modules focused on the development intercultural skills, cultural humility, and learning about your host community. Upon your arrival you will attend an in-country welcome orientation, which includes information about cultural awareness. You will meet weekly with your on-site CFHI team to reflect on any cultural and other questions that arise, and the entire CFHI team is available to you if you have questions or concerns.

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, the CFHI Central Leadership team can also be reached on our 24/7 line: (415) 957-9000 ext. 1.