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  • Locations: Makarska, Croatia; Rijeka, Croatia; Slavonski Brod, Croatia; Zagreb, Croatia
  • Program Terms: Maymester
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Cost of Attendance Sheets: Maymester
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Maymester 2020 11/01/2019 11/01/2019 05/12/2020 06/04/2020
NOTE: Rolling acceptance. First acceptance September 1. Second acceptance October 1. Final acceptance November 1.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Category: UGA Faculty-Led College/School: Public Health
Program Description:

Makarska cropped

UGA- Public Health- Maymester in Croatia

The Croatia Maymester Study Abroad Program offers students the opportunity to earn six hours credit studying various aspects of Croatian culture and society while traveling through this beautiful and fascinating country. Courses are taught by UGA faculty and use active engagement approaches that will take students into different regions and allow them to interact with scholars from Croatian universities and research institutes, local government officials, leaders of non-governmental organizations, and citizens from different walks of life.

Program Location

Plitvice Lakes

This an experiential program which allows students to enjoy and experience the entire country of Croatia.  Croatia is a beautiful southern European country with a rich heritage of Austrian, Italian and Slavic influences.  We have been taking students to Croatia to learn about public health for 14 years and we love it!  Please come along with us this year!


Contact Information

Dr. Carol Cotton, Program Director. 
Phone: 706-614-8600

Dr. Cotton has been a faculty member of the Croatia Maymester program since it's beginning in 2006.  For 14 consecutive years, she has taught public health in Croatia, and this is her fifth year as Program Director.  Dr. Cotton's family is from Croatia and she enjoys spending time with relatives after the program is over.

Dr. Marsha Black
Environmental Health Science
College of Public Health
Phone: 706-542-0998

Dr. Black has been with the Croatia program for 4 years, after also having taught study abroad in Vietnam and Costa Rica. Her specialty area is aquatic toxicology. She engages with students as they learn how to test water in different locations around Croatia.

Both these faculty members are excited about the new opportunities afforded by a tailored and specialized public health study abroad program, the first of it's kind in Croatia.

Academic Program

There are 2 undergraduate and 2 graduate classes offered in the Croatia Public Health program.  HPRB 4180, Health Issues in Croatia, and EHSC 4900S, Global and Environmental Public Health Issues, focus on the various aspects of public health as Croatia transitions from a socialist lead country to a free market economy.  Topics that will be covered include, ancient public health such as hygiene and infectious disease, quarantine and sanitation, as well as injury prevention, special population health issues, water pollution, the impact of tourism on the environment, the lasting effect of war on population health, the Mediterranean diet and health, and chronic disease prevalence.  Graduate courses HPRB 7160, Croatia:  Health Issues in a Transitional Country, and EHSC 7900S, Integrative Global Environmental and Public Health Issues, each take a deeper look at the health issues relevant today in Croatia.

The courses are taught by UGA faculty, but daily visits to hospitals, clinics, and other public health institutions supplement the course content.  Also, local experts and public health colleagues give lectures and accompany students on field trips throughout the country. 

Students must register for 6 credit hours.  Students are required to keep a daily journal of notes and reflections, often lead by daily questions provided by faculty.  In addition, attendance at all course events is required, as is participation at each event.  A few required written assignments are submitted during the program. A research paper is due in the middle of July, which is also when the journals will be submitted.  Two classes are held on the UGA campus before departing for Croatia.  While we are traveling in Croatia, we schedule class times as needed.

Program Itinerary

The program begins on May 12 and ends June 4, the entire length of the UGA Maymester. The program starts in the capital city of Zagreb. In Zagreb, we stay in a centrally located hotel and utilize the facilities of the University of Zagreb, College of Medicine campus for daily lectures and classes.  Students will also hear from faculty at the internationally respected Andrija Stampar School of Public Health.  Outings from Zagreb include a trip to the World Heritage Site Plitvice Lakes, and to the rural area of the Zumberak.  The students will experience an evening dinner in a family owned vineyard, as well as learn about access to the health care system in a big city. The program stays in Zagreb for approximately 1 week.

For the next 4-5 days, the program moves to Slavonski Brod, to learn from our colleagues at the Institute of Public Health.  Here the students will learn what work is managed by the staff including working with the Roma population, what pollution from a nearby petroleum plant means to the local population, as well as experiencing some of the wonderful cultural sites in the area.  Students will have the opportunity to actually test water in Slavonski Brod.  Also, the students will visit Vukovar, the place most profoundly impacted by the fighting during the war of independence in the 1990's.  Students will hear from speakers who experienced the war first hand, and will visit the site of some of the fiercest fighting, including the local hospital.  On this part of the trip, students will also visit a WWII work/concentration camp/site. We stay in a local hotel in Slavonski Brod, and enjoy two wonderful traditional evenings out dining and dancing!

From the far eastern part of Croatia, the program travels west, to the coast, first visiting Opatija and then the Istrian peninsula.  Colleagues at the Institute of Public Health in Rijeka will present information about chronic diseases and the programs in place to address these problems. A local doctor at the nearby public hospital will guide the students on a tour of this interesting facility and answer student questions about how the public hospital serves the needs of the local population.  Students will also see the Roman amphitheater in Pula and have lunch on the Adriatic coast. Students will stay in a Opatija hotel for about 2 nights.

Lastly, the group moves to the Dalmatian coast for the final week of the program.  Makarska is our home in this area, and we stay in apartments in this lovely seaside town.  From here, we take a day trip to Split to taste olive oil, see Diocletian's Palace, and experience ancient culture.  We visit Dubrovnik, the iconic walled city, made recently famous by the filming of Game of Thrones.  We spend the day walking the ancient walls, visiting a local women's refugee co-op, and enjoying local gelato.  We also visit Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovnia.  This divided city is a perfect place to learn about the impact religion has on health and to hear from our local health colleagues about the difficulties of trying to put a city back together again after the tragedy of war has torn it apart.  We walk across the iconic Mostar Bridge and enjoy local cuisine.  We also hike into the Biokovo Mountains behind Makarska, and we have a final traditional dinner of locally prepared foods, accompanied by local musicians.

Students will arrive and depart from Zagreb.

Many students over the past 14 years have decided to stay in Europe after the program to travel.  It is convenient and fun! Some even go to Europe early and travel a bit before the program starts.

Transportation throughout the country is by large commercial coach bus, which is driven by a professional driver. 


HousingWe stay in clean and safe and centrally located hotels, and in apartments.  Students share a hotel room, 2 to a room, and most of the apartments have 2 bedrooms (2 students in each room), as well as a shared bathroom, kitchen, dining room and outside patio area.  All apartments are different and are randomly assigned to students by our hosts.  Hotel rooms may also be unique and are assigned by the hotel, not by program faculty.

Program Costs

The program fee is approximately $2,900.  This fee includes all in-country accommodations, at least 2 meals per day, all entry into museums and local attractions, insurance, and transportation in-country.  This fee does not include airfare, one meal per day and spending money.  A deposit of $300 is due by December 15.  The remaining program fee of $2,400 is due by March 30.  These are deadlines of course, so fees can be paid earlier.

This fee is one of the lowest on campus for a Maymester program.  The reason that the program can offer so much content for such a low fee, is that this program has been endowed by Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence V. Phillips with a generous gift which supports the program financially and keeps student costs low.

This program has a rolling admittance policy. The first group of 8 students will be accepted by September 1. A second group of 8 students will be accepted by October 1. And the final group of 8 students will be accepted immediately following the application deadline of November 1.  After a student is accepted into the program, the program deposit is due. If the deposit is not made after the student has committed to the program, a student from the wait list will be added and the originally accepted student will be placed on the wait list.

Program Ratings:
Accuracy and usefulness of orientation materials:
1 2 3 4
Accessibility and quality of health care:
1 2 3 4
Safety of location, facilities, excursions, and transportation:
1 2 3 4 5
Academic quality, appropriateness of workload:
1 2 3 4
Choice of location for excursions, field trips, site visits:
1 2 3 4
Safety, cleanliness, comfort and appropriateness of housing:
1 2 3 4 5
Arrangements for and quality of meals:
1 2 3 4
Opportunities to learn about and interact with the local culture:
1 2 3 4 5
Opportunities to learn about and interact with the local culture/people:
1 2 3 4 5
Overall effectiveness of program staff in managing program:
1 2 3 4
Effectiveness of program staff in handling academic and personal needs and concerns:
1 2 3 4
Value of the program in relation to the cost:
1 2 3 4 5
Overall quality of the program in relation to expectations:
1 2 3 4
Program Reviews:
Maymester 2017 Participant
Housing was very nice. There was opportunity to stay in private hotel rooms with a roomate and private rooms within a house with a roomate.

Taylor Chanel Roundtree, Maymester 2018 Participant
This trip definitely exceeded all my expectations.

Now that it has been about a month since I have finished this study abroad trip, I have been able to think more about all of the advantages I have taken away. Most importantly, I have learned more about myself and all of the experiences that then help to shape my ideals and values in life overall. The locations where we visited were each significantly different, which helped me to become better at seeing the differences in things but valuing these differences. I became friends with new people who brought new thoughts to my attention. They are people who I enjoyed to be around throughout the duration of the trip.
     — Rachel Cleypool, Maymester 2017
Read what others have said about this program.