A Vancouver based occupational health researcher with UBC, volunteered with IUBAT in the summer of 2012. She writes, “I knew this experience would change the way I saw the world, but not how. It made me realize why people love 1) teaching, and 2) Bangladesh. Because I hadn’t practiced as a nurse in a clinical setting for several years and had never visited the country, I wasn’t sure how my role as a course instructor in IUBAT’s nursing program would go. It turned out to be an amazing teaching and learning experience. One of the most inspiring parts was interacting with IUBAT nursing students at various stages of their education, and seeing the lengths they went to develop confidence and competence in both clinical and academic environments. It made me feel like I was contributing (in a small way) to something of huge importance, for the students as well as the Bangladeshi society. While I watch Bangladesh’s nursing profession grow, I know that this program’s graduates will be leading the way. The friendliness, hospitality and strong capabilities of the Bangladeshi people have left a permanent mark on me, and I will always look back on my IUBAT experience with fondness.”
A geriatric nurse with an interest in volunteering abroad, traveled to Dhaka as an instructor in the med/surg course and the nursing research course at IUBAT during the monsoon season in 2012. She writes, “What was it like? I had a huge learning curve as a first time nursing instructor – I have a new appreciation for all the professors I ever had and who had me as a student!! I was one of those students who asked LOTS of questions!! I never knew how much work it took for the instructor to prepare for lecture and clinical time. One of the best experiences I had was the clinical rotation at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, ICDDR, B. This is better known as “The Cholera Hospital”. The work the organization does is amazing and my students loved the fast-paced environment. For my Nursing Research class, I had some great students who had a chance to develop a research proposal for the class. Many of the students showed original thought and innovation in the subject matters selected. I was really impressed and hope to follow their progress as they begin data collection in the coming year.” She concludes by saying, “I encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing international health, international volunteer work, and/or the nurse educator role, volunteer with the Bangladesh Health Project. With all its challenges, there was also a lot of laughter, and I would do it again!”
The IUBAT Nursing program runs year-round. We rely on visiting faculty volunteers to assist with teaching and clinical supervision in all areas of nursing practice. Lesson plans and assignments are already prepared and all teaching is in English. We can provide a safe and interesting experience in classroom, hospital and community settings.
We prefer visiting faculty to stay for an entire semester, or at least six weeks as that is most beneficial for everyone involved. Because we are a self-funded project, we cannot pay airfare or salary, but we provide airport pick-up, accommodation and meals at our guest house near the campus. We can also issue Canadian tax-deductible receipts for travel expenses associated with your visit.
Previous experience in teaching nursing is not essential. Social workers, dietitians, rehab professionals, pharmacists and physicians have taught in our program. The most important qualities for visiting faculty are flexibility, openness to other cultures and enthusiasm about developing novice nurses.
When in Dhaka, most volunteers enjoy their interactions with the other faculty, students and neighbours. It is a friendly and appreciative atmosphere where we are completely immersed in the local society.
Support The Project From Your Home
We also need assistance from volunteers working from home in areas such as curriculum development, communications and fund-raising. Please contact us if you would like to help.
Current Volunteer Positions
We receive many queries from volunteers about what teaching positions are available. As circumstances change, it is best to inquire when you have specific dates in mind.
Our greatest on-going need is for clinical supervisors with maternity nursing experience. We have prepared classroom lessons, exams and assignments for all these courses.
Generally speaking, the academic calendar is as follows:
SPRING TRIMESTER January 5 – April 18
SUMMER TRIMESTER May 5 – August 18
FALL TRIMESTER September 5 – December 18
Two courses are taught in every trimester: Medical Surgical Nursing and Maternal and Child Health Nursing. These and other clinical courses include both classroom teaching and hospital supervision.
In Spring and Summer, we offer Community Health Nursing; in Summer and Fall we offer Mental Health Nursing. In each trimester, we also offer other courses such as Nutrition, Introduction to Nursing, Professional Issues and Research. We will develop an individualized teaching assignment for you based on your availability, interest and experience.
Every year, 12 to 20 volunteers come to IUBAT to teach.
We are grateful for their generous commitment. Read about their experiences on our blog.
Planning To Go
Our Volunteer Guide contains most of the information that you will need to learn about the experience of teaching at IUBAT. However, there are always details unique to each individual volunteer.
When you write to express interest, we will arrange a phone or Skype conversation. That will give you an opportunity to ask your own questions. We also like to discuss your motivation and experience with life in low-income developing countries, like Bangladesh.
If you feel that you would like to volunteer, we will need your current CV and a cover letter that provides your reason for taking on this fascinating, but challenging, assignment.
Typically, we will have a few e-mail or phone exchanges arranging individual details with each volunteer.
When you come back from IUBAT, one of our volunteers will contact you for feedback about your experience. We like to check in to make sure the adjustment is going well. Some people find that re-entry to regular life can be stressful. We can provide some resources to assist with that.
We also provide a recognition certificate and thank you letter, and in February of each year, a Canadian tax-deductible receipt for eligible expenses.
There is a lot to consider in taking on a volunteer commitment like this. You can download our Volunteer Guide or head over to our Volunteer FAQ page, both of which will cover a lot of the information that you will need.
After you make contact with us, we will also send you links to articles from scholarly and popular journals that help explain the social and cultural context of nursing in Bangladesh.