Physical & Mental Health Expectations

Health conditions do not prevent acceptance to the Uganda Studies Program so long as a prospective participant (with reasonable accommodations) meets the essential eligibility requirements of the program. Nevertheless, health conditions require preparation and discernment on the student's part because they can become more serious under the stresses associated with international travel. Students requiring an accommodation must provide documentation and request any accommodation as soon as possible after acceptance into the program. USP@UCU will work with a student's home university to provide reasonable and necessary accommodations during their time abroad for students with registered disabilities.

The USP@UCU is a physically and emotionally challenging semester. Students must be physically and emotionally capable of handling the stresses involved in:

  • Living almost constantly in close quarters with a community of Ugandans and fellow USP@UCU students.
  • On-Campus students live in the dorms on campus, sharing a small room with up to three other Ugandan and USP@UCU students, with communal bathrooms and living spaces. On-Campus students also participate in a two-week homestay in Mukono.
  • Homestay students live with a Ugandan host family for the entire semester. Families vary in size and economic status. Students should be prepared to adapt to different routines and living standards.
  • All homestays are located within a 2-mile radius of campus, and all students are required to walk to and from campus, anywhere between 10-50 minutes.
  • Participating in Rural Homestays, a weeklong stay with a family in a rural community in Uganda, living without electricity and running water.
  • Walking a lot in a hot, humid climate, often on uneven pathways with limited to no wheelchair accessibility.
  • Navigating the busy and populated town of Mukono.
  • Engaging in campus life at Uganda Christian University, taking classes and experiencing potentially dramatic changes in pedagogy, diet, climate, social life, and cultural norms, including personal time/space.
  • Experiencing significant cultural differences, including gender and racial tensions and the frequent possibility of verbal attention.
  • Experiencing potentially challenging personal, religious, and cultural learning through various program components including lectures, field trips, assignments and practicum placements.
  • Interning at organizations through the course of the semester where they will see and hear about situations and engage with people who are living in extreme poverty and may be experiencing acute suffering.
  • Travelling and living in close quarters for up to ten days at a time in locations where medical and mental health services are limited. These trips may involve a lot of activity, traveling on buses for long distances, and will also include hearing stories from and interacting with people who have endured tremendous trauma/suffering.

An important note on medical/mental health facilities:

  • The medical clinic/hospital that USP@UCU uses for emergency and non-emergency services is on average a 1.5 hour drive from campus. These facilities can conduct emergency psychological assessments.
  • Due to the distance of therapists, ongoing mental health counseling is not available.
Uganda Studies Program at Uganda Christian University