International Learning and Volunteerism

When should I volunteer or study abroad?

This decision to work, volunteer or study abroad is up to you, and it often depends on how prepared you feel academically, financially, professionally and emotionally. Many students decide to undergo this experience their first or second summer semesters of their college years. However, this can also be done after you are done with your undergraduate or graduate work. Using the "Working Internationally" toolkit may also help guide you to address some concerns before you go. It is a good idea to discuss your plans and ideas with your academic advisor in order to get better guidance. The international student’s office is also a good resource that you can use at your university.


University Study Tours

Check with your university office of education overseas for potential study abroad services for your department. They may also have internship information available. Keep in mind that you may need to be creative and design your own internship or study abroad course.

There are some university programs that offer short term international learning study abroad trips that allow students outside of that university to apply and join.  Please keep in mind that these overseas experiences may be a significant financial investment, but costs of trips vary and can be found by contacting the responsible host. Students would also be responsible to confirm with home institution for transfer eligibility.

There is a resource compiled by the NATA International Committee that lists International experience opportunities for NATA members.



Are you an athletic training educator at the university level who is interested in creating an international opportunity to benefit students?

If so, keep in mind you will maintain the prerogative for setting course content, learning outcomes, and instructional strategies. You also carry the primary responsibility for the administration of the program. A Travel Study course is very different from a traditional course and can be challenging to administer. It requires attention to many important details that safeguard the health and safety of your students. That is why we urge you to think through the numerous details and aspects of Travel Study as early as possible.

To assist you in designing and implementing a successful program, the Creating International Program Toolkit contains helpful suggestions and hints as you work through numerous administrative details. Faculty members should also understand that every travel study experience is different, and it is also important to work in collaboration with your University (International Studies Office or similar) to ensure all policies and procedures for your institution are followed.


Service Learning Trips

Whether you are a certified athletic trainer or student, if you are interested in volunteering to help those in need in developing countries through an established organization, you may want to begin searching online. A variety of organizations sponsor or initiate international service learning trips. Some may have already established certain programs for health care professions, but you may have to get in contact with the organization to see if it can be tailored to fit athletic training skills and experience.

The following is not a comprehensive list, but gives examples of organizations that have been recognized for their international volunteer or service learning programs.

NATA does not endorse nor affiliate with the organizations named above but only provides these resources as general information.