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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Number of Credits Offered: 0-1, 3 Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior
Type of Program: Faculty-led Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Global and Community Health, Integrative Studies
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care in Botswana

Botswana, Winter 2022

Botswana Banner
As of 2017, the HIV prevalence rate for adults aged 15-49 in Botswana was 22.8% (UNAIDS). In an effort to combat the HIV epidemic Botswana has launched a number of health interventions such as increased availability to testing and condoms, male circumcision campaigns, a prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program, and a free antiretroviral treatment (ART) program.

On this program, you will see how the health interventions above are carried out in local communities in Botswana.  Starting in the capitol, Gaborone, we will travel to towns and villages ranging from many thousand people, to a few hundred. In these communities, we will visit clinics, NGOs, hospitals, schools and health posts. You will have the chance to speak with nurses, guidance counselors, social workers, NGO workers, community leaders, and health professionals. You will see the struggles and successes first-hand of a nationwide response to an epidemic effecting all Batswana.

Program Highlights

  • Travel with a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who lived and worked in rural Botswana for two years
  • Experience the HIV/AIDS response from the national level, to the local level
  • Gain a better understanding about how culture and socioeconomic status effect health decisions
  • Experience Botswana through cultural activites, and a trip to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary


This program is open to all undergraduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University.

Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.


Students will have three choices for credits on this program.
Number of Credits: 3 Credits 1 Credit 0 Credits
Course code: GCH 491: Study Abroad in Public Health*
INTS 399: Study Abroad

UNIV 308: Mason Transition

UNIV 308: Mason Transition
Overview: This section would take a deeper -academic- dive into the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana. Comparisons will be made to the U.S. with emphasis placed on the dichotomy between national efforts and local realities. It will also cover the importance of culturally relevant interventions, along with building cultural competencies. This section will be focused on cultural competencies. You will be encouraged to view the activities through the lens of your major. This will allow you to learn about health in Botswana, but also ground your experiences in the context of your major, and relate it to your studies here at Mason. This section will be focused on cultural competencies. You will be encouraged to view the activities through the lens of your major. This will allow you to learn about health in Botswana, but also ground your experiences in the context of your major, and relate it to your studies here at Mason.
Why choose this option:
  • It is important to earn 3-credits while abroad.
  • This class applies towards your major/minor.
  • You want credit for your work.
  • You want an international experience, but with a lower cost.
  • You want an international experience, but with a lower cost.
  • Don't have room in your degree, or don't 'need' the credit.
*course offering pending approval

Program Dates

January 7 - January 21, 2022



The itinerary for this program will be fluid to allow for the national school schedule, which has yet to be released, and availability of hosts in the villages surrounding Gaborone. The exact villages being visited may change, but the activities on each day will remain the same. For example: if a good opportunity in Lobatse comes up, instead of Thamaga, we will travel there instead. Whether we planned to visit clinics, schools, or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that day, will not change.
Day 1
Jan 7
  • Arrive in Gaborone
  • Shuttle from airport to hotel
  • Introduction to program and Welcome Dinner
Day 2
Jan 8
  • Morning: orientation to Botswana
  • Afternoon: tour of Gaborone, possible visit to the Ministry of Health 
Day 3
Jan 9
  • Morning: Travel to Thamaga village, visit clinic
  • Afternoon: Bahurutshe Cultural Village
  • Evening: Group Discussion
Day 4
Jan 10
  • Morning: Mokolodi Game Reserve visit
  • Afternoon: Group Discussion/Lecture
  • Evening: Free
Day 5
Jan 11
  • Morning: Travel to Manyana village, visit clinic and school
  • Afternoon: See Livingston's Tree and Khoe rock paintings dated 1100-1700 AD
  • Evening: Group Discussion
Day 6
Jan 12
  • Morning/Afternoon: Travel to Molepolole, visit district health offices, schools
  • Evening: Group Discussion
Day 7
Jan 13
  • Morning: Travel to Kgope (where Liz served as a Volunteer!), visit primary school and health post
  • Afternoon: Travel to Lentsweletau, visit clinic and junior secondary school
  • Evening: Group Discussion
Day 8
Jan 14
  • Free Day
Day 9
Jan 15
  • Morning: Leave Gaborone heading to Mahalapye
  • Afternoon: visit NGOs in Mahalapye
  • Evening: Reach Palapye to spend the night
Day 10
Jan 16
  • Morning: Group Discussion
  • Afternoon: Visit sites in Palapye, clinic, NGOs
  • Evening: Drive to Serowe
Day 11
Jan 17
  • Morning: Game drive at Khama Rhino Sanctuary
  • Afternoon: Visit health offices and NGOs in Serowe
  • Evening: Group Discussion
Day 12
Jan 18
  • Morning: Travel back to Gaborone
  • Afternoon/Evening: Free
Day 13
Jan 19
  • Morning: Free
  • Afternoon: Visit Botswana Craft for traditional lunch and shopping
  • Evening: Group Discussion
Day 14
Jan 20
  • Morning/Afternoon: Visit large NGOs in Gaborone
  • Evening: Final Group Discussion
Day 15
Jan 21
  • Depart for the U.S.

* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Winter 2022

Estimated Costs:

3-credit option: $3,000*
1-credit option: $2,024*
0-credit option: $1,700*


*program cost is still being finalized and subject to change.

Included: Tuition for 3 credits (for that option), accommodations, daily transportation, some meals, guided tours and excursions as described in itinerary, international emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Tuition for 1 credit (for that option), Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, personal spending, required textbooks and/or course materials. *Note: Participants must arrange their own airfare once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by October 20, 2019. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by November 10, 2019. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1,200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:



GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:


Application Opens:

May 2019

Application Deadline:

October 6, 2019


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  Liz Adema
Name Liz Adema, M.A.
Phone 703-993-2161

Liz's time in Botswana:

Liz served in Botswana with the Peace Corps from 2012-2014. In the Peace Corps she served as a School and Community Liason for Life Skills as part of the Botswana Youth and HIV/AIDS project, which is done in collaboration with the Botswana Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MOESD). She was placed in the village of Kgope, 70km from the capitol Gaborone, with a population of 550. There she worked at Kgope Primary School which consisted of 167 students in standards (grades) 1-7, seven teachers, and one School Head.

At Kgope Primary she established the school library which she leveraged to help students increase English language fluency, reading capabilities, and knowledge of Life Skills. The Government of Botswana's hope was that by increasing student's life skills, they would make choices that would decrease their chance of contracting HIV. She led workshops for students and conducted school-wide campaigns.

Liz also partnered with the health post in her village to show STEPS films - short films shot in southern African countries that deal with different aspects of HIV/AIDS. Themes include: discrimination, disclosure, stigma, support, living positively and many others.

All Peace Corps Volunteers in Botswana serve in a capacity related to HIV/AIDS, which has provided Liz with a country-wide network. Her two years living in rural Botswana, and knowledge of the language Setswana, have given her an in-depth perspective of Batswana culture and life. She is excited for students to have the opportunity to capitalize on her network, and experience, to enrich their studies, and academics at Mason.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter Break 2022 10/10/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.