Student Exchange Programs

From Central America to South Asia, students from the School of Nursing and Health Studies explore the world to discover first-hand how different health care systems operate and learn about health disparities in a global context. In addition to leading study experiences tailored to expand students’ cultural and career horizons, the SONHS has educational exchange agreements with many foreign institutions, giving faculty and nursing students from around the world the opportunity to study health provision in the United States, take part in observerships and clinical rotations at area hospitals, research initiatives, conferences, and simulation-based education.


The UM SONHS launched its international exchange program in 2005. Since then, our students have experienced multiple opportunities for exposure to the Chilean health care system, for clinical observation and for student-level participation in bedside nursing through exchange agreements with Universidad Andrés Bello’s and  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile’s schools of nursing. In the spirit of global exchange, Chilean students have visited UM over the last decade to observe clinical practice at our school’s community partner hospitals and learn patient care through hands-on simulation at the UM SONHS’ renowned Simulation Hospital for Advancing Research & Education (SHARE™). Our students have described their exchange experiences in Chile as “transformational” and,  Chilean students hosted by our program in Miami, in turn, have been inspired to pursue nursing advanced degrees. One of those students from Chile completed her Ph.D. at UM as a result of this program and is now a full-time member of the SONHS faculty.

Nursing in Jamaica

Undergraduate nursing students have the opportunity to explore natural wonders and medical wards in Kingston, Jamaica, as part of a Global Health Transcultural Nursing course taught by Ruth Everett-Thomas, SONHS assistant professor of clinical. The six-day adventure is coordinated through the University of the West Indies, the school’s educational exchange partner in Jamaica. The students also have the opportunity to round with physicians and medical students and meet nurses who work in the University of the West Indies’ private hospital, spend time visiting a public health facility in Kingston, and tour area clinics and surrounding neighborhoods to better understand the nation’s health care system.

Anesthesia in Guatemala

Under the leadership of Nicole A. Gonzaga, an assistant professor of clinical in the Nurse Anesthesia Program, SONHS Student Registered Nurse Anesthetists may apply to take part in a mission trip in Latin America led by The Healing Hands Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to providing medical, dental, and surgical care to people in need around the world. The first SONHS student participated in October 2018.

Public Health in India

Despite India’s powerful economic growth, the nation of 1.3 billion people has a poverty rate of almost 30 percent, mostly concentrated in rural villages. Through an ongoing memorandum of understanding with Manipal University, SONHS public health faculty leader and physician Diego Deleon has led SONHS students on a two-week global health practicum in India’s southwest state of Karnataka since 2016. The trek to Manipal, India draws a mix of SONHS pre-nursing, health sciences, and public health students. The mini-course includes the chance to visit rural health clinics and speak with government-trained, accredited health educators. SONHS students also attend seminars about health care in India, learn how the country integrates Western medicine and ancient healing traditions, and visited hospitals and the public health department, increasing their knowledge about the impact of diseases rarely seen in the United States, like malaria and leprosy. There was even time for them to do some cultural exploration, from touring the Taj Mahal to sampling Indian cuisine.

Inbound Exchanges

Nursing students and faculty from Australian Catholic University, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Madrid, Chile’s Universidad Andrés Bello, Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma de Campeche, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile take part in international observership experiences at the SONHS. Ranging from a week to a month, these transcultural initiatives allow students to learn first-hand about U.S. nursing education, health care provision, resources, and technology. “The simulation and clinical experiences helped the students gain skills and knowledge for their career,” said Richard Martinez Escalante, a nursing instructor with Universidad Autónoma de Campeche. “We are very grateful to the School of Nursing and Health Studies for this opportunity.”

Forging New Ties in the Americas

The School of Nursing and Health Studies has adopted “hemispheric leadership” as a main pillar of its new strategic plan and is aligning its objectives with those of the University of Miami. Johis Ortega, the school’s associate dean for Hemispheric and Global Initiatives, is a member of UM’s Hemispheric and Global Affairs Committee, which is helping to shape the Hemispheric University Consortium. At the consortium’s inaugural meeting, hosted at UM in April 2018, leaders from 10 top-rated universities signed an accord to establish the first academic consortium spanning the hemisphere. Along with UM, the founding members include University of São Paulo, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the University of Andrés Bello (Chile), the University of the Andes (Colombia), the University of Costa Rica, the University of the Americas Puebla (Mexico), the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Mexico), Cayetano Heredia University (Peru), and the University of the West Indies.