Learning Abroad Center
two students walking on a narrow French street

Sustainable Approaches to Health in France

LAC Program

Explore innovative health care and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in Montpellier.

Program Details

Montpellier, France
May Session (Spring semester on campus)
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year


In a 2000 World Health Organization report, France was recognized as the best health care system in the world for access to and quality of health care delivery. Southern France, especially Montpellier, is known as not only one of the most advanced and prolific biotechnology hubs in Europe and arguably the world, but also as the home to the oldest active school of medicine.

In this Global Seminar, explore France’s evolving development in health and society, with a particular focus on innovation in the health care sector. Examine the structure of health care systems and reimagine the concept of “socialized medicine” through an understanding of the origins and continued development of the French health care system. Learn about the cultural contexts and societal conditions that support such a thriving industry, as well as the effects of globalization on the health care sector and on broader global health.

Program Model

Study Abroad Center

Housing & Meals

Live in shared housing with other program participants. Welcome and farewell meals are included in the program fee. Take additional meals in the housing or at local eateries.


Excursions assist in illuminating program coursework and will take place in Montpellier, France. Possible excursions may include:

  • Cevennes National Park
  • outdoor French markets
  • University of Montpellier Medical School, the world’s oldest active school of medicine
  • Jardin de plantes—the oldest botanical gardens in France to connect natural products to the development of medicine
  • Aigues-Mortes (Languedoc-Roussillon, France) National Monument for a historical and contemporary exploration of salt production and storage, through the lens of 13th-Century fortified walls founded by King Louis IX in preparation for his setting off for the Seventh Crusade


All program participants will take the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight; you will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center about your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.

It might be possible to deviate your return flight. Inquire with your program contact if interested.

Learning Outcomes

  • Articulate the global Sustainable Development Goals framework, and France’s plans and approaches to meet those goals by 2030. Compare and contrast France’s progress with the international community progress.
  • Using an equity, social justice, and cultural lens, compare and contrast healthcare in France with other healthcare systems in the world, including the US and Minnesota.
  • Describe the ethical challenges and cultural influences on systems and approaches that influence health in France, as well as in the US and Minnesota.
  • Explicitly explore and describe connections between historical agents’ choices and decisions in the past, and their relevance for students’ choices and decisions in the present.

Faculty & Staff

This seminar is led by Dana Lovold, MPH, Career Counselor and Instructor in the Pre-Health Student Resource Center and Karin Hamilton, DVM, MPH, Coordinator and Instructor, Global Programs, Pre-Health Student Resource Center.

Program Structure

Program Level
3000 level coursework

One 3-credit course

This seminar is a 2+ week study abroad program led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff that feature:

  • Intensive learning in a location that illuminates the topic
  • Small groups of 15–25 students
  • No prerequisites or language requirements
  • Included excursions and cultural activities
  • Instruction in English

Course Schedule

This is an embedded spring semester course, with the abroad portion in France taking place over May session at the end of the semester. On-campus classes take place in the second half of the spring semester.

On-campus Spring semester 2024 course meets: Wednesdays from 1:25–2:15 p.m., B-Term.

Abroad term: mid-late May 2024

Students from other UofM campuses

There is an option to participate in the on-campus portion remotely. Please reach out to the program leaders to confirm. You will need to work with your academic adviser and campus enrollment office and do a Multi-I enrollment for this program. There may be additional or different tuition owed as part of the program fee.


Course Overview

A wide range of systems influence health status in a country. As the global world developed the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, we have seen an increase in innovative strategies by countries to meet the 2030 goals, and France is a leader in their efforts. From public health and health care systems to food safety and security, the extensive challenges require collaboration, coordination and an inter-professional approach to be successful.

While France is geographically about the same size as Texas, France has a population of 66.99 million while Texas has 29 million. Life expectancy is among the highest in Europe, however that is slowing. And while France has a nationally funded health care system which provides good access to high quality health care, there are noticeable differences among those with higher SES and those with lower SES. The other significant disparity is gender, with women living significantly longer than men with a 6 year gender gap.

In a 2000 WHO report, France was recognized as the best health care system in the world in terms of access to and quality of health care delivery. We will discuss these measures and what they really mean.


The Learning Abroad Center is committed to sustainability and incorporating this into our programs. This course can be tied to multiple Sustainable Development Goals through course content and program activities including:

  • #3 Good Health & Wellbeing
  • #4 Quality Education
  • #11 Sustainable Cities & Communities
  • #14 Life Below Water

Numerous SDGs will be discussed during this course. These will be focused on through lectures by local experts, as well as field experiences to see the SDGs in action. Student teams will complete a final project looking into one of these SDGs.

Receive credit for: AHS 3003

Approved for: Global Perspectives liberal education theme

Sustainable Approaches to Health in France Syllabus (PDF)

Course Objectives

Through this course the student will:

  • Describe the various systems that contribute to the health of France
  • Compare and contrast the health care system in France with other healthcare systems in the world
  • Articulate the Sustainable Development Goals, and France’s plans to meet those goals by 2030.
  • Describe how culture influences and shapes systems that influence health in France.
  • Participate in mapping the complex components, systems and organizations that contribute to France’s SDG work.
  • Understand consumption and how it affects health: space, garbage, water, animals, food, water, the values that drive consumption.

Dates Details

Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:

Program TermProgram DatesApplication Deadline
May Session 2024May 10–26, 2024January 15, 2024

Program dates are subject to change.

If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

Important Note: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. If you wish to register for the course during your designated registration window in November 2023, submit your application by November 1, 2023. Some programs fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore, applying early is recommended.

Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 25 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.

Information Sessions

Join in-person or over Zoom. Register and learn more about this and other events on our events page.

Thurs., Dec. 1412:30 p.m.Hybrid (Hubert Humphrey 289 or Zoom)
Wed., Dec. 2012:00 p.m.Online (register for Zoom link)

On Campus Dates

Spring semester 2024: Wednesdays from 1:25–2:15 p.m., B-Term

Orientation Dates & Locations

Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.

Term AbroadDate/TimeLocation
May Session 2024TBDTBD

Priority Deadline

If you apply by the priority deadline and confirm within the allotted time you will receive the published program fee. Applying after the priority deadline and/or not confirming within the allotted time means you may be subject to an airfare increase.


May 2024 Cost of Participation

The cost of participation includes educational costs, group flight airfare, program administration, housing, most meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, and local transportation. Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. You must also budget for visa, passport and passport photos, meals not included, spending money, and miscellaneous living expenses.

Recent increases in international airfare and accommodation costs have impacted all instructor-led program fees. The LAC strives to follow best practices to provide the lowest cost program while ensuring a quality academic experience.

If you are registered for less than 13-credits, you will be charged tuition for this course in addition to the program fee. Notify the Learning Abroad Center if this applies to you.

Billing & Payments

Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

Cancellation Policy

Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.

May 2024

Sustainable Approaches to Health in France

May Session 2024 (Spring on campus course)

Program Fee

  • UofM students pay program fee instead of on-campus tuition & fees while abroad
  • Billed through UofM account
Non-refundable deposit $400
Tuition and educational costs $3,215
International health insurance $40
Housing and/or mealsStudents will stay in shared hotels or apartments $675
Transportation (if required and included in program fee)group flight $1,800
Total Program Fee $6,130
Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable $0
Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable $6,130

Estimated Additional Expenses

  • Financial aid-eligible but not included in program fee
Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.
Transportation to and from program site $0
Passport/photos $150
Visa/required documents $0
Travel clinic/immunizations*Consult with your provider or travel clinic for recommendations $50
Housing deposit $0
Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure $200
Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country
Texts/materials $50
Housing and/or meals not included in program feeseveral meals included, remaining students cover on their own $400
Essential daily living expensescell phone charges, etc. $150
Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country $600

Total Estimated Cost of Participation

  • UofM students—compare this to your estimated on campus cost of attendance
Total Estimated Cost of Participation $6,930
Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation $200
Additional Notes & Information
* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.


Complete pre-application advising.

A COVID-19 vaccine & booster and negative COVID test before departure (own expense) may be required on arrival in country or at various venues in this location (based on current government and local policies). This may change before departure.

Participants are expected to follow local and governmental COVID-19 guidelines and requirements while abroad. Visit the CDC International Travel website and the LAC COVID Policies page for updated information.

US Consulate in France COVID-19 Information site (current updates on entry/exit and local requirements).

More information can be provided during advising sessions and pre-departure orientation with the program contact in the LAC.


The COVID-19 vaccine series is strongly recommended, pursuant to CDC guidelines, but not required for participation in this program.

You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

Apply Now


After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:

  • Application Essay

Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

Next Steps

  1. After you complete all required application checklist items, you will receive an automated email message indicating your application is ready to be reviewed.
  2. Your completed application will be reviewed by the Learning Abroad Center.
  3. If admitted, the Confirmation & Payment Agreement form will be added to your checklist. Complete this form to secure your spot on the program. By submitting the form, you also give your approval for the program deposit to be billed to your UofM student account.
  4. Complete the confirmation checklist, which include the following items in additional to program-specific forms:
    • Passport Information
    • Emergency Contacts
    • Health Information Form
    • Online Health & Safety Orientation
    • Release & Waiver
  5. You will receive information about additional steps from the sponsoring college/department.

Register for On-Campus Course

Your participation on this program is secured by applying and confirming through the Learning Abroad Center application process first.

Once confirmed, you will also need to register for the on-campus course AHS 3003. You will receive a permission code in order to register for the course. Registering for the course, but not confirming through the Learning Abroad Center, will not hold your spot in the program.

Note: Students from other UofM campuses will need to register for Multi-I enrollment. You will need to work with your academic adviser on the registration process.

After You Apply

Before your program begins, review these resources.

Health & Safety

Learn more about staying healthy and safe abroad, including mental health and wellness, international travel insurance, and safety precautions.

Power of Attorney

Consider designating someone as your power of attorney to act as your legal representative while you’re abroad.

Student Identity

Consult our resources on student identities as you prepare for your abroad experience.

Travel Resources

Ready to go abroad? Our travel resources will help you pack and learn what to expect.

Program Contact

For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

Jemma Lund or call at 612.625.8827