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. The following list may not be all inclusive. 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.


Open International Study Abroad Programs


Host: University of Florida
Where: England
Academic Credit: Yes, 6 credits - HLP 4933 (undergraduate level/non-degree seeking new graduates)
Anticipated Trip Date: May 2015, offered every other year
Application Period: Deadline February 2015
Certified ATs Included: TBD
Contact: Dr. Patricia Tripp,
Notes: “Athletic Medicine: Discoveries Influencing Clinical Practice” sites include sports medicine research and academic programs/universities, clinics, sporting venues and museums in London and surrounding areas.


Host: University of Georgia
Where: Taiwan
Academic Credit: Yes, 4 credits of academic coursework
Anticipated Trip Date: May each year (Maymester)
Application Period: Due December 10th of prior year
Certified ATs Included: Limited, graduate and undergraduate students only
Contact: Dr. Bud Cooper,
Note: Learn traditional Chinese medicine applications at the National Taiwan Sport University in Taipei, Taiwan.


Host: Whitworth University
Where: Costa Rica
Academic Credit: Yes, 3 credits - SN 208 Spanish for the Healthcare Professional, 1 credit - Internship
Anticipated Trip Date: Typically January of odd years
Application Period: February (for priority consideration) through July (as space allows)
Certified ATs Included: Yes
Contact: Cynthia Wright,
Note: Learn medical Spanish, participate in a homestay, and engage in a 40-hour medical internship in Costa Rica. Prerequisite of at least 1 year (100 level) of college Spanish credit and Anatomy and Physiology required.


Host: Wilmington College
Where: Brazil or Australia
Academic Credit: TBD
Anticipated Trip Date: May 2015, offered every other year
Application Period: Fall 2014
Certified ATs Included: Yes
Contact: Jennifer Walker,
Note: Focus on sports medicine experience related to athletic training including visits to sites such as universities and physician practices.


Host: Xavier University
Where: Australia
Academic Credit: Yes, 3 credits
Anticipated Trip Date: Mid-May to Mid June of odd years (Last offered: May 17-June 10, 2015)
Application Period: Due by Feb 1 of odd year
Certified ATs Included: Yes, other Athletic Trainers and healthcare professionals are welcome to apply
Contact: Lisa S. Jutte, PhD, ATC;; 513-745-3902
Note: This course is designed to introduce athletic training majors to sports medicine from an international prospective.  Students will be introduced to international sport culture and will learn how culture, race, gender, and socioeconomic status influences sports and sports medicine.


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.