The Humanities, Social Science, and Communication Department partners with the School of Nursing to offer week-long (seven to nine days) service learning trips to Central America. The countries visited include Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua. These service trips can be done in conjunction with a 3-credit course offered by both departments that allows students to earn credit toward graduation. Students need not take the course to take the trip, but those enrolled in the class must complete the trip.

Key Features

  • Open to all majors
  • Students can earn 3 credits in social science or nursing
  • The course runs during the Winter Quarter, and the trip is conducted over Winter Break between Winter and Spring Quarters
  • The cost of the trip is between $1,600 and $1,750 (depending on the length of stay) and includes airfare, all meals, transportation in country, and lodging at a Global Brigades compound
  • Service trips will be conducted in either Honduras, Nicaragua, or Panama and vary from year to year
  • Financial aid can be applied to trip costs if done in conjunction with the 3-credit course

The Course

A Global Brigades service trip is a required component of Culture and Health in Central America (SS/NU415CA) which enables students to earn 3 credits toward graduation in either social science or nursing. The course consists of 20 class sessions on campus; the service trip and its activities compose the remaining portion of the course where students apply what they have learned.

Accommodations, Food, and Transportation

Global Brigades USA assists Global Brigades-MSOE with making all the arrangements for service learning trips to Central America. This includes booking discounted air transportation; working with various communities in Central America that need basic medical care, clean water, and public health facilities; arranging all transportation within the countries and providing meals and lodging at an approved compound. The compounds generally have between 6 to 12 students per room, and clean linens and pillows are provided. All food is prepared to American standards to ensure health and safety. Students always have access to bottled water for drinking, as well as showers and flush toilets.

Security and Safety

While conducting service learning trips with Global Brigades USA, students are always under the supervision and care of Global Brigades staff. In the evenings, they are lodged in secure compounds with controlled access. During the service learning trips to various communities, Global Brigades USA works with local police agencies that provide security for students as they work. The safety, health, and security of students are top priorities for Global Brigades USA.

Contact Information

Students interested in the Global Brigades-MSOE Central America Program should contact Dr. Patrick J. Jung at (414) 277-7257, or jung@msoe.edu

About Global Brigades

Global Brigades – MSOE is a university chapter of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Global Brigades USA, which organizes college students into “brigades” for service and development work in Central America. Opportunities include Medical Brigades, Water Brigades, and Public Health Brigades.

Medical Brigades assist doctors, nurses, and dentists licensed within the countries serviced by Global Brigades USA with providing basic medical care to rural communities in Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua. No medical experience is required.

Water Brigades assist in building fresh water systems in rural communities. Tasks include digging trenches for pipes, laying pipes to bring fresh water to residents’ homes, and assessing the water needs of communities. No engineering experience is required.

Public Health Brigades assist in pouring concrete floors in homes to prevent parasitical infections that are common in Central America. Students involved in the Public Health Brigades also build clean, efficient wood-burning stoves; septic systems and latrines; and storage units for fresh water. No public health experience is required.