GPS 3Global Perspectives in Service-Learning (HESP-GPS) is the department’s premier educational abroad program that will provide students with a supervised and multidisciplinary, international service learning (ISL) opportunity for the reciprocal exchange of cultural perspectives, knowledge, and skills. Through interactions with International health and educational professionals as well as patients/clients and their families, students will gain perspective on broader health issues such as determinants of health, health disparities, and the global burden of disease. Students will have learning opportunities in governmental and non-governmental organizations to gain knowledge and experience with varied healthcare and educational systems in under-resourced communities. In addition to observing and working with the host country's audiologists, speech-language therapists and other rehabilitative professionals, students will assist faculty in providing educational workshops for professionals and outreach activities for the community. Graduate students will be able to earn clock hours and get hands-on clinical experiences, while undergraduate students will be able to get observational hours and participate in all aspects of the trip. In addition, there will be time for cultural activities that will explore the country, allow for learning about the history, and provide a different narrative than the ones provided in the media.  By the end of the program, students will be able to demonstrate competence in clinical service learning using a culturally responsible, effective, and sustainable framework. 




How do I apply for HESP-GPS?  

HESP-GPS is a limited capacity program. Applications will be available to students during the semester preceding the education abroad opportunity. Applications consist of an online form, a statement of interest in the program, and a current resume.





Program Objectives:GPS 4

  1. To provide students with an international, inter-professional service-learning opportunity that exposes them to educational and healthcare systems in low resource communities to enhance their cultural sensitivity and understanding of global health issues
  2. To strengthen established partnerships and build new relationships between the University of Maryland and host country’s audiologists, speech-language therapists, rehabilitation professionals, teachers, and students.

The program has four core areas of focus: Coursework, Clinical Training, Service Learning, and professional participation. In addition, cohorts will meet 5-6 times prior to traveling to learn about the country, prepare and engage in dialogue surrounding a wide range of topics.  



''Course Overview and Goals:

For its inaugural trip, HESP graduate and undergraduate students in speech-language pathology and audiology will be traveling to Ghana in the summer of 2023!

Using Accra, Ghana as a case study, this summer 2023 course was designed to improve students' effectiveness as clinicians working with diverse clients. The course will explore how differences among individuals and cultures in terms of gender, age, race, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, religion, language, dialect, or country of origin, can affect interpersonal and group communication, as well as clinical practice. 

A formal Information session will be held in fall 2022, and applications will open in the spring of 2023. For questions, please email the program director, Eliza Thompson Ed.S, CCC-SLP



Bisa Links Network is on the way!

Information about partnerships are on the way! Check back with us soon! 

Information about ways to support us are on the way! Check back with us soon! 

Blog 8Cultural Competence, Socialization, & Change

Ghana has been an eye-opening and humbling experience. In the USA, we have so many resources to keep us Americans, nourished, healthy, financially stable and thriving, that Ghanaians do not have the luxury to receive from what I was able to initially observe and from what I continue to see as our quest continues on.

By: Jade Rowe




Exploring Parallels: Ghanaian and Indian Hospitality, Education, Blog 7and Challenges – Reflections from a Transformative Journey

From the moment I set foot on Ghanaian soil, I have been showered with warmth and hospitality nearly unmatched by any other. Ghanaian hospitality is comparable to Indian hospitality, which I have been raised observing and experiencing. 

By: Seetal Ahluwalia



Blog 6Creating an Authentic Global Perspective Through Culture, Communication, and Service

I believe traveling to Ghana and being a part of HESP-GPS is not only a rare opportunity but a life-changing one. It will help me develop a deeper understanding of myself in connection with a culture I’ve had little experience with before, allow me to relate more to others in the black diaspora, and let me experience a culture connected to my history as an African American.

By: Jade Rowe




Blog 5Cultural Reciprocity and Relationship Building Abroad with HESP-GPS Ghana 2023

This program is important to me because Speech-Language services aren’t as easily accessible to all of Ghana compared to the western world. One goal I have for myself and my cohort is to present ourselves as being culturally competent and steer away from the “ugly American” persona. 

By: Jakia Powell





Culturally Responsible Work as a Speech-Language Pathologist

My role is to not be telling people in Ghana what they should be doing, but rather learning from them what they are currently doing and helping set up changes that are long-lasting and sustainable without me there. While doing this work, though, I know that I will be learning from the communities as well.

By: Sophie Bricker




''Cultural Humility through the Lens of Others and the Journey to Ghana

I was immediately drawn to the program for its emphasis on cultural competence and humility, opportunities for professional and personal development, and of course, its director.The groundwork that we as a cohort are doing to ensure utmost cultural competence while abroad has helped to solidify my passion for global public health equity.

By: Seetal Ahluwalia




''HESP-GPS: Care, Planning, and Intentionality of a Service-Learning Experience

To truly help a community, first you must understand it better, and then you need to learn what they want that you can reasonably provide with your skills. All of these steps are crucial and all of them are entailed in our pre-trip education. The work we are doing as a group through readings, discussions, and videos has only reinforced my original desire to be a part of this program.

By: James Harvey 




''Speaking Through Cultures: A Journey of Discovery through Speech Therapy with HESP-GPS Ghana 2023

Traveling to new destinations offers invaluable experiences that broaden our horizons and shape our perspectives.This blog post explores the reasons why I am eager to embark on this journey to Ghana and highlights the significance of this experience.

By: Robyn Toler



Visit HESP InTERPretation to read more blog posts about the issues in Hearing and Speech Science. 


For additional information, contact the Director of the program: 


Eliza Akua Thompson, Program Director ethomps2 [at] 


Last modified
09/18/2023 - 6:33 pm