UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Summer: Bolivia: Global Health Lessons in Ecotourism and Community Health (EPIB/MIEH)

Rurrenbaque, Bolivia
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Terms offered: 
Program Type: 
Credit Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
Language of Instruction: 


You will have an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the difficulties of promoting health in remote areas with a great biodiversity, with so many environmental threats, so little economic resources and, at the same time, such a fantastic indigenous local knowledge. In country, you will meet with indigenous community members and leading experts in ecohealth, protected areas management and agroecology as well as health professionals who provide care in remote areas of the Bolivian Amazon. Activities include learning about medicinal plants and how indigenous communities maintain their health, visiting a sustainable golf course, and learning about the work of one of Bolivia’s most effective conservation organizations. Accommodations include 2 hotels, 3 eco-lodges and 1 home-stay, and transportation will be by plane, boat and vehicle. This will be an opportunity to go "off-grid" for a few days--internet and cell phone access will only be available in the hotels at the beginning and end of the trip.

Planned activities and content directly address the new global health learning objectives identified by the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health in Spring 2018. You will learn directly from faculty of Bolivian and international schools as well as community members impacted by planned mega dams, as well as other threats to their community.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

Open to UMD Undergraduate and Graduate, and Non-UMD Undergraduate and Graduate.

It is recommended that you have taken public health or global health coursework.

If you are interested in this program but do not meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to the program director (listed in the Contacts tab) to discuss your interest in the program.

This program is open to all majors and will be of interest to a wide range (e.g., global health scholars, public health, future health professionals or veterinarians, biology, environmental science, anthropology, sociology, agriculture, nutrition and food science, public policy).
Curious students who want to better understand connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (Onehealth or Ecohealth) are encouraged to apply.
Students who love nature or bird-watching will be enthralled.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following three (3) credit UMD courses:

  • EPIB489A: Global Health Lessons in Ecotourism and Community Health
  • EPIB689A: Global Health Lessons in Ecotourism and Community Health
  • MIEH 698A: Bolivia: Global Health Lessons in Ecotourism and Community health

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit.


Accommodations include 2 hotels, 3 eco-lodges and 1 home-stay:
- Hotel Cortez (hotel, shared rooms, internet):
- Sadiri Lodge, near Tumupasa (ecolodge, shared rooms):  
- Chalalan, Madidi national park (ecolodge, shared rooms):
- San Miguel de Bala (ecolodge, shared rooms):
- Hotel Maya de Amazonia (hotel, shared rooms, internet):

The costs listed are for summer 2019.

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering's payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $43
Tuition $1,847
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $1,400
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $100
Visa $160
Passport $145
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $1,000
Course Materials $0
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $100
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180

NOTE: If you are a non-UMD graduate student, you will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD graduate school to participate in this program.

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancelation due to low enrollment.

Olivia Carter-Pokras, Faculty Program Director is a Professor of Epidemiology with substantial expertise in health disparities, and translation of epidemiologic research into policy and practice. Dr. Carter-Pokras is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Kenya) who has lived/studied/worked in 7 countries, traveled in 70 countries and is fluent in both Spanish and English. She is a second-generation Bolivian, who has lived, worked and traveled in Bolivia and has previously worked with the service provider.

Fabian Donate, a first-generation graduate and son of immigrant parents from Mexico, has a B.S. in Public Health from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He currently serves as a Development Coordinator in the SPH Dean's Office, where he also is a graduate student. Prior to his arrival at the University of Maryland, Fabian worked extensively for various non-profit organizations and corporations, including the American Cancer Society, the NV Center for Latino Prosperity and Uber Technologies.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs.

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • Visit Madidi National Park in the upper Amazon river basin, the most biologically diverse place on earth according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
  • Learn of innovative ecotourism projects developed by indigenous communities whose ancient agricultural and hunting traditions were jeopardized by formation of national parks (e.g., San José de Uchupiamonas, San Miguel).
  • Contribute to knowledge dissemination of current environmental and public health issues (e.g., health impacts of mega dams, clearing of land for agricultural purposes, international demand for tropical timber).
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Summerterm 2019 03/03/2019 03/11/2019 07/30/2019 08/11/2019