NACOGDOCHES, Texas - For the first time, Stephen F. Austin State University graduate students enrolled in the School of Human Sciences' dietetic internship program will have the opportunity to study abroad in Guatemala with Refuge International, an organization providing health care to remote areas of the world.

Through this immersive experience, SFA dietetic interns enrolled in HMS 511: Introductory to Dietetics Practice will have the opportunity to conduct nutrition assessments and perform nutrition counseling with the help of translators. Students will learn how to provide healthy meal plans using limited and traditional resources to support growth and healing. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to observe surgeries as well as work in areas such as triage unit, a pharmacy and a lab.

"Nutrition is international, and this course will help our students put theory to practice in a unique setting," said Dr. Darla Daniel O'Dwyer, SFA dietetic internship director and food, nutrition and dietetics program coordinator.

Leslie Goudarzi, a registered dietitian in the East Texas area, will accompany the students in Guatemala. According to Goudarzi, "Students will be educated on the specific cultural aspects of food choices and environment, health beliefs, and the relationship between food and disease."

"This is an excellent interdisciplinary experience as various disciplines work together," O'Dwyer said.

Dietetic graduate students are required to complete 1,200 supervised practice hours to be eligible to sit for the national registered dietitian exam. This trip will help graduate students earn those hours. The study abroad trip is scheduled for July 29 through Aug. 5 at the San Raymundo facility, which is located in the highlands of Guatemala City.

For more information, contact O'Dwyer at (936) 468-2439 or