Uganda Summer Practicum with the Sisters

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Situated in the heart of Africa, Uganda has long been a diverse nation, as seen in their culture, language, music, art, and handcrafts. The Sisters of the Holy Cross first experienced this culture in 1967, when they established community life in Uganda. In 2009, Saint Mary’s launched a six-week summer practicum program for Education and Nursing students to work with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Kirinda, Uganda. It is an opportunity for students to live and work directly with the Sisters and immerse themselves in the local community, offering skilled assistance in education and nursing. Students live with the Sisters in Kyarusozi and work in Kirinda with the Sisters at the Holy Cross Family Center, both in Moreau Nursery and Primary School and the Kyembogo Health Center.

Travel and Orientation

Kyarusozi is a small village outside of Fort Portal, and a five hour drive from the capital, Kampala. Students book their flight individually or through the travel company on campus as a group, depending on the year. Students fly to Entebbe, where they stay overnight. They then travel from Entebbe to the convent in Kyarusozi via a private driver. Additional trips while in Uganda are paid for by students, with the exception of an overnight safari outing at Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Information for Education Department Applicants

The Education Department students teach at Moreau Nursery and Primary School. As of the Summer of 2017, Moreau has 330 registered students, around 30 staff members, running water, a cafeteria, a multi-purpose room, art room, computer lab, 12 classrooms, teacher lounges, and much more. The Sisters have recently completed building two dorms on the compound of the school to be able to host 150 male and 150 female students throughout the school year. Education students will be given the opportunity to choose to stay and teach in one classroom for the six weeks or to be a rotating teacher in a variety of classrooms. This practicum will help Education Department students gain knowledge and experience in classroom management, lesson planning, creative thinking, and problem solving. Some of the classes that are available to be taught at Moreau are art, math, religion, computer, English, library, numbers, letters, and P.E.

Information for Nursing Department Applicants

Nursing students will be working at the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre. This clinic provides outpatient, maternity, and postnatal care. The clinic also provides outreach services, including HIV testing and counseling, nutrition monitoring, vaccinations, and home-based care. Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre’s vision is “to become a self-sustainable health care facility that offers compassionate and patient-centered care.” Nursing students will become a part of the health center’s team. They may have the opportunity to assist midwives deliver newborns, assess mothers in prenatal care, care for inpatients with conditions such as malaria, provide vaccinations to outreach villages weekly, assist in the lab, and administer medications, to name a few responsibilities. Students may also assist in or conduct research, as well as teach the staff in Continuous Medical Education seminars. The practicum will help nursing students become leaders in nursing, enhance communication skills cross-culturally, and develop nursing skills in a unique environment.


Please enjoy this video created by the Uganda Summer Practicum 2017 First Session Group.

Photo Gallery


Hosted by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, students live at the convent with the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Students travel with the Sisters every day to the Holy Cross Family Center, where the education students teach classes at the Moreau Nursery and Primary School and nursing students assist in the Kyembogo Health Center. The Sisters are very welcoming; while at the convent, all meals are provided. Accommodations are simple but comfortable: beds with mosquito nets and bathrooms with hot showers. The convent has running water, a garden, electricity, cooks, maintenance workers, Wi-Fi, and a dog. Students are safe in the community of Kyarusozi, as the people in the town look out for the safety of the students and the convent is located within a gated compound complete with a night guard.

Financial Aid

Tuition for this program is the same as Saint Mary's summer tuition fees. Orientation, housing, meals, a safari trip, and an overnight stay in an inn upon arrival in Uganda are covered in tuition. Flight to and from Kyarusozi, along with independent travels, are not included in normal tuition. These costs are covered in the remaining fees for the practicum. Students may apply for a student travel grant to cover part, but not all, of the cost of the trip. Details are available from the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership.


Saint Mary's College provides international insurance for all participants for the duration of the program through Blue Cross Blue Shield Global, GEO BLUE. The cost of the insurance is included in the study abroad program fee for short-term programs. Saint Mary's exercises every possible care in the arrangements made for its students. The College, however, is not responsible for any loss, damage, or injury to person or property, nor does it accept responsibility in connection with the service of any means of transportation. It is wise to have insurance on personal baggage and possessions.


Participation in this trip includes enrollment in five Saint Mary's College credits. Students are enrolled in a practicum course for the duration of travel, with one overnight outing in a game park midway through. The courses will have both an on-site supervisor and a faculty member at Saint Mary’s who will correspond electronically. 


The program fee for summer 2020 will be $4525 which includes 5 credits summer tuition cost, international insurance, round-trip international airfare from Chicago to Entebbe, room and board, and a trip to a game park.  The program fee covers all expenses except souvenirs, snacks, and additional travel opportunities and experiences while in Uganda. Students should plan on an additional $400 or $500 for travel opportunities and souvenirs. A $1500 deposit is due Feb 1, 2020.


Students should have rising Senior status in order to apply, and a 2.5 GPA. It is expected that the student will be in good disciplinary standing at the College and exhibit emotional maturity and adaptability to new and different experiences.

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For information contact:

Katherine Higgs-Coulthard
Uganda Summer Program Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Education
(574) 284-4472

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