Duke in Sri Lanka

Global Health in Context

Program Alert

The Duke in Sri Lanka program is suspended for summer 2021. Please review GEO’s COVID-19 response page for more details: https://globaled.duke.edu/covid-19-response


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Based in Galle, Sri Lanka, this program is offered in partnership with three universities: The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI); Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam; and the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. Building upon DGHI’s longstanding collaborative relationship with the University of Ruhuna, the program brings together students and instructors from three different continents to engage on problems and solutions related to health and health disparities in a global context. The program combines theoretical studies in the classroom with academic excursions to learn from local public health experts, practitioners, community members and leaders. Through small groups and teamwork, students will experience firsthand the global problem-solving approaches regarding issues of health access that exist within health systems.

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • University of Ruhuna

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Galle, Sri Lanka

  • University of Ruhuna

  • Galle, Sri Lanka


Location: Galle, Sri Lanka

Term: Summer 1

Dates: 2020 Dates TBD

Application Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme(s): Global Health, Pre-Health, Biology

Credit TypeDuke Credit

Eligibility: Must have completed Global Health 101. Non-Duke students are not eligible for this program.

Duke Affiliation: Duke Global Health Institute

Housing: Guest House

GEO Advisor: Carolyn Covalt

Dr. Truls Ostbye discusses the Duke in Sri Lanka: Global Health in Context program


Students enroll in one course offering one Duke credit. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted.

Global Health in Context: Sri Lanka

(SS, CCI, STS) 1.0 Credit

Prerequisites: GLHLTH 101, Introduction to Global Health

Global Health Majors: This course fulfills the requirement for a ‘Health Systems and Policy Foundation’ course in the Global Health major.

Working on small teams with students from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Ruhuna, participants will explore global health challenges both in and outside the classroom. Through guided multidisciplinary and multicultural interactions, this course provides an opportunity to learn about global health from close interaction with concrete, real-life global health issues in a low-resource setting.

Four topic areas will be examined in depth: Maternal & Child Health, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Health of Vulnerable Workers, and Aging. Students will address course topics from a health systems and policy perspective, using research literature as the starting point for planning their field observations. In short group assignments, students report back in class about their findings, their critical review of selected global health articles, and their ideas for addressing the challenges they observed, read or heard about. 


  • Dr. Truls Ostbye, Community & Family Medicine, DGHI
  • Dr. Guus ten Asbroek, Department of Global Health, Academic Medical Centre of University of Amsterdam / Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development
  • Dr. Vijitha de Silva, Community Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka


Each of the academic excursions corresponds with the global health classroom topics being covered in the prior day(s). These academic excursions are an essential part of the study abroad program, allowing students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of health and its determinants in Sri Lanka, as well as the Sri Lankan public health system. Possible excursions include field visits to a vaccination clinic, public health midwife, school clinic, orphanage, public health inspector, rubber plantation, and/or elder society.


Students will stay in double rooms at a guesthouse in a quiet location near the University of Ruhuna, where classes are held. Room are air-conditioned with en suite bathrooms. There is laundry on site, and free WiFi is provided. The guesthouse also has a common lounge and outdoor terrace, where students will be able to gather in the evenings with their group members to complete assignments.

Breakfast is included at the guesthouse. Students will be responsible for their own lunch and most dinners. A number of inexpensive, local lunch restaurants are located across the street from the University. In the more tourist-oriented areas of town, there are many Western food options for dinner.


Summer 2019

Tuition $3,492
Program Fee $2,000
Transcript Fee N/A
Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $8,357.00

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: 2020 Dates TBD
  • Departure: 2020 Dates TBD


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyGlobalEd to update your travel registry.



A visa valid for a 30-day stay is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visa restrictions are in effect. Students will not be eligible to get a visa valid for longer than the 30-day period.

Students will need to apply for their Sri Lanka short-stay visa electronically. Students cannot request any extensions with the ETA visa.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.

Program Faculty & Staff

The program faculty director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Dr. Truls Ostbye

Professor in Community and Family Medicine

Amy Bowes

Operations Director


Deadline: February 1

This program does NOT have rolling admission. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

PriorityPriority is given to applicants who apply early and meet the prerequisite.

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA.

Non-Duke studentsNon-Duke students are not eligible for this program.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyGlobalEd

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining your interests in global health and why you would like to participate in this program
  4. Academic letter of recommendation (one)


Eleanor Strand in Sri Lanka: New Insight on Global Health

“This program was part of the reason why I decided to make global health a second major. I was originally going to minor in it, but thanks to courses at Duke and this experience abroad, I realized I loved global health and global development enough to add another major."

Read More