Global Programs

Global Biomedical Service (GBS)

Hong Kong and China

The GBS program prepares students through coursework at Penn designed to familiarize them with the techniques of building prosthetics, cultural differences between China and America, and clinical skills necessary to work with patients, followed by a trip to China. There, teams of Penn and Hong Kong Poly U students work with amputees at a local clinic, a six-day process that involves getting to know the patient and his or her needs; measuring, designing and building the prosthesis; then returning to the clinic to work with the patient to ensure proper fit.

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Appropriate Point of Care Diagnostics (APOC)


In EAS 228, Appropriate Point of Care Diagnostics, students learn to design self-contained, portable medical diagnostics to provide high quality medical care in resource limited settings. This course meets once per week in evening sessions during the Spring Semester and involves travel to Ghana (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology School of Public Health) for one month during the summer. This program is open to Penn undergraduates and 1st year Masters students.

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Rwanda Gashora Program (On hold for 2020 academic year, please do not apply to this program)

Gashora, Rwanda

The Penn Engineering Rwanda Gashora Program explores the use of solar energy and information communication technology (ICT) in low-resource communities in developing countries. The course will provide students with an opportunity to understand the challenges around technology use and energy production in these settings, and will include substantial hands-on work in designing and implementation in low-income country settings. Students will travel for two weeks in the summer to conduct field work as part of this course.

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Argentina Renewable Energy Course (On hold for 2020 academic year, please do not apply to this program)

Buenos Aires, Argentina

This course features lectures by Penn Engineering faculty on solar, wind, biofuels, and batteries as examples of renewable energy sources to supplement fossil fuels. The current energy landscape in the US and Argentina will be discussed, and the role of sustainable energy projects in low-income areas will be the focus of the service learning project. The Renewable Energy program is a partnership with Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires (ITBA). Participants will interact with ITBA students during the spring course, and work with them on a summer project. ITBA is located in the center of Buenos Aires, close to many historical and cultural sites.

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Engineers Without Borders (EWB)

Lake Atitlan, Sololá, Guatemala

Penn’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders promotes human development through access to technology. The student-run nonprofit organization’s efforts focus on helping developing communities worldwide with their engineering needs through real, hands-on sustainable projects. Participants work to address critical sanitation needs, working alongside local masons and homeowners to construct latrines. Students also teach health and sanitation concepts in a school and nutrition center.

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China Immersion: Penn Engineering/Penn Global Seminar


Penn Global Seminars combine intensive semester-long study with a short-term travel component that deepens student understanding of concepts discussed in the classroom. In SEAS China Immersion (EAS 290), students learn about and experience the rapid technological development and business environment in China. The program also provides a platform for Penn students to interact with business leaders at large and small companies and educators in China, and network with Penn alumni.

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Important Information:

Penn Engineering Global Service Learning programs are open to all Penn students. Dietary accommodations may be limited to vegetarian options and avoidance of certain meats, but we make a practice of accepting what is prepared for us and do not get involved in how food is prepared.  In addition, the type of work requires that the entire team be able to travel together at any time of the day or week, and we work alongside the community hosts when it is suitable for their schedule, not necessarily ours.  Finally, we will often be living in shared quarters with little time to be alone.