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Yale Summer Session in Johannesburg & Mbabane: Visual Approaches to Global Health

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Program Information


Johannesburg, South Africa; Mbabane, Eswatini (Swaziland)




Saturday, June 6, 2020 to Saturday, July 18, 2020



Areas of Focus

Global Health, Social Sciences

Distributional Requirements

Fulfills So distributional requirement


Study Center

Course Number



2 Yale credits


Jonathan Smith 


Recommended previous experience with a public health course.


This program explores the intersection of global health and visual media. The program focuses on global health issues in the region such as HIV, TB, human rights, and violence in public health. Students learn both epidemiological methodology and hands-on filmmaking in order to translating complex public health concepts into a format approachable by a general audience. In addition to traditional learning, students work with instructors, guest lecturers, and production personnel to create a short film on a selected global health topic. Participants choose to receive credit in either AFST, FILM or HLTH.

The class will meet Monday - Friday from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. and students should expect about 8-12 hours of work outside the classroom each week, as well excursions and other program activities.

The sllyabus below is from a previous summer and contains dates that differ from those of the upcoming summer.


Yale Summer Session Programs Abroad updates program budgets in late January. Please note the year listed on the button below.

Summer 2020 Budget

Trips and Activities

This program seeks to immerse students in the community and afford students the opportunity to get the most out of their time in the region and takes place in both South Africa and Eswatini. In both locations, instructors have ensured students will have ample opportunity explore the people, food, and culture of both countries.

During the first week in Johannesburg, South Africa, planned trips include:

  • A tour of the South African Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa, including one-on-one discussions with Court ustices.
  • A visit to the Apartheid Museum
  • A day trip to Soweto, including the Hector Pieterson Museum, the Nelson Mandela House, and the Orlando Towers
  • A day trip to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, including the Lion and Rhino Reserve and Wondercave (including lunch alongside giraffes at the Neck and Deck Cafe)

Midway through the course, students are taken on a 3 day/2-night excursion to Shishangini Lodge within Kruger National Park. Students stay in cabanas within the park (often greeted by curious elephant or zebras) and are taken on safari in open-air all-terrain vehicles each morning and evening. During the day, students are encouraged to explore optional walking safaris and other experiences.

In Eswatini, instructors planned trips include:

  • Arranged tours of hospital facilities and discussions with NGOs, as well as local theatre productions.
  • A 3 day/2-night visit to the Kashoba village with the Mkoko family. The Mkoko family and other members of the Kashoba tribe lead the students in discussions regarding the health issues in rural Eswatini, facilitate tours of rural clinics, and invite students to learn and experience the culture of Eswatini. Although each year is different, in the past students have been invited to traditional Swazi weddings, learn traditional Swazi dancing, cooking, and taken on other aspects of Eswatini tradition.

In addition, instructors plan several smaller experiences throughout the program, such as bonfire dinners, laser tag, a short film weekend challenge, and a notoriously entertaining talent show known as “The Onesies.”


Participants will stay in a secure estate, just outside the city, while in Johannesburg, South Africa and a secure estate, within the city, while in Mbabane, Eswatini.


Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and are expected to arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa on the first day of the program, and depart no earlier than the last day of the program (see 'Dates' above); additional information will be provided upon admission.


For course content questions contact instructor Jonathan Smith. For general program questions contact the Study Abroad staff.

Learn More

Review eligibility requirements, the application process, and deadlines:

How to Apply