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Learning Abroad Center
Learning Abroad in Biology, Society & Environment

Learning Abroad in Biology, Society & Environment

Firsthand learning through experiences in diverse parts of the world is an invaluable ingredient in the formation of an educated person in our globalizing world. Study abroad is designed to provide you with these experiences. Whether your area of emphasis is on the health sciences, environmental studies, policy, or some combination, studying abroad can enrich your educational experiences. You will understand your own cultural area better for having shared in and with another. Study abroad will help you understand how science and society intersect not only in the US but around the globe.

Study Abroad Process

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Biology, Society and Environment program before beginning your study abroad research.

When should I go abroad?

How will a study abroad program fulfill my BSE major requirements?

Conduct fieldwork for your senior project

Fulfill liberal education requirements

Programs

The Biology, Society & Environment program has identified the following programs as examples of options of potential interest to its majors and minors. These are for illustration only, and you need not confine your search to those on the list.

Africa and the Middle East

Botswana

University of Botswana (available through CIEE Botswana)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Courses in environmental health, environmental science, biology, in addition to social science and humanities
  • Instruction is in English

Israel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Kenya

MSID Kenya (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Senegal

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

South Africa

CIEE South Africa service-learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around structured service placements in Cape Town townships or other disadvantaged settings. Includes classroom work, community-based research, language study.
  • BSE students can be placed in health or environmental projects and gain first-hand experience related to their careers.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall or spring semester.

SIT South Africa– Community Health & Social Policy

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Explore the relationship between traditional healing and state-of-the-art medicine, prenatal care, access to health care, and health education
  • Classroom-based learning is enhanced by ia independent study project

Americas

Argentina

CIEE Argentina– Summer Community Public Health

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Involves intensive classroom-based theory, language instruction, and field work placements in diverse public health sites throughout Argentina and Uruguay
  • 5 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent required

IES Argentina

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and University Study for linguistically qualified students)
  • IES areas studies courses in English or Spanish depending on your level. Advanced students also take courses at one of four universities. Internship and service-learning placements available.
  • Sample IES course titles: History of the Argentine Environment; Native Peoples of South America; Impact of Globalizaiton in Latin America; The Making of Patagonia.
  • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year. Instruction is in English or Spanish; at least four semesters of prior language study required for the Spanish track.

Bonaire

CIEE Bonaire– Tropical Marine Ecology & Conservation

  • Program type: Field Study
  • This program combines classroom-based learning and field study (including substantial scientific scuba diving) in the tropical ecosystems of the southern Caribbean.
  • Semester courses include: Coral Reef Ecology; Cultural & Environmental History of Bonaire; Tropical Marine Conservation Biology; Advanced Scuba; Marine Ecology Research Methods.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Dutch or Papiamento is required, although applicants must have one prior year of biology or environmental science. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

Chile

IES Chile– Summer Health Studies

  • Program type: Study Center
  • Observe health care in local clinics and hospitals and improve their medical Spanish through language courses
  • Enhance your classroom studies through practical experience in Chile’s community-centered public health care system
  • Prerequisite- 4 semesters of college-level Spanish

SIT Chile– Public Health, Traditional Medicine, & Community Empowerment

  • Program type: Study Center/Field Study
  • Examine intercultural health and alternative healthcare practices in the context of Chile as well as southern Peru
  • Choose either an Independent Study Project or participate in a guided, month-long practicum
  • Prequisites include 4 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and coursework in public health or development studies 

Costa Rica

School for Field Studies Costa Rica
Semester program: Sustainable Development Studies
Summer program: Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Semester program examines the effects of globalization on development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, and population growth.
  • Choose either or both summer sessions- the first explores the sustainability of tropical ecosystems and the second focuses on field research techniques for addressing conservation questions
  • Prerequisites for semester course include one college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies course and one college level Spanish course.  No prerequisites for summer program.

Dominican Republic

CIEE Dominican Republic– Santiago Service-Learning

  • Program type: Study center
  • Integrates classroom learning with active service as part of a grassroots and community-based learning model
  • Features an Independent Research and Capstone Project
  • Prerequisite: 4 semesters college-level Spanish or equivalent

CIEE Dominican Republic– Summer Community Health

  • Program type: Study center
  • One-week semi-rural clinical field rotation, providing field experience
  • Urban community service practicum in and around Santiago; ability to work with local public health experts
  • Prerequisite 4 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent

Latin American Health, Nutrition & Environmental Issues in the Dominican Republic (CIC)

  • Program type: Field Study (summer); University Study, Field Study, and Study Abroad Center (fall).
  • Program consisting of two distinct components; students may participate in either or both.
  • 8-week summer component, based in mountain community of Jarabacoa, is an intensive, experientially-based, practical program with lots of field trips plus a field research project.
  • Fall component, based in Santiago, allows you to combine health and Dominican studies courses with research and a community practicum
  • Summer component taught in English; one year prior Spanish required. Fall component taught in Spanish; three years prior Spanish required, or two years plus completion of summer component.

Ecuador

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further ensure cultural immersion.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Panama

SIT Panama
Semester program: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, & Ecodiversity Conservation
Summer program: Biodiversity in the Tropics

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Examine the impact of human activity on the environment and the ways in which development and conservation practices can serve both human and environmental interests
  • Learn from researchers, professionals, practitioners, and other development and conservation specialists
  • Use your field study experience and research skills to conduct an Independent Study Project on the semeste program

Turks & Caicos

School for Field Studies Turks & Caicos
Semester program: Marine Management Studies
Summer program: Marine Protected Areas: Management Techniques & Policies

  • Program type: Field study
  • Semetser program- engage in research that provides the local government, community, and tourism developers with recommendations to sustain economic, social, and ecological stability 
  • Summer program- explore the effectiveness of marine protected areas in maintaining biodiversity and critical habitats and contributing to the socioeconomic sustainability of the local community.
  • Take a hands-on approach to learning about marine ecology and coastal ecosystems

Venezuela

Study Abroad in Venezuela

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Bargain-priced language and area studies program set in Andean university city of Mérida. Wide range of courses, some on Venezuela, others on Latin America as a whole.
  • Two courses of particular interest to BSE students– Field Botany in the Andes and Tropical Ecology– are available in both English and Spanish.
  • Most courses taught in Spanish, some in English. No prior language required for admission to program. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or either or both of two 6-week summer terms.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

Arcadia Australia & New Zealand– Ethics, Culture & Sustainability: The Spirit of the Landscape

  • Features 3 weeks in Australia and 2 weeks in New Zealand
  • Study the influence of the wilderness experience on human behavior and its significance to the indigenous and contemporary societies in Australia and New Zealand
  • 4-credit summer program.  No prerequisites.

GlobaLinks Australia– Summer & winter break programs

  • The Australian Experience: Environmental Issues
  • The Australian Experience: Geography, History, & Ecology
  • Coral Bay: Marine Science on Australia’s West Coast
  • Creating a Sustainable Environment
  • Tropical Marine Ecology of Australia’s East Coast
  • No prerequisites for most of these 2-6 week programs

School for Field Studies Australia
Semester program: Tropical Rainforest Studies
Summer programs: Rainforest Management Studies in New Zealand & Australia; and Techniques for Rainforest Research in Australia

  • Examine the impact of human activity on the environment; efforts to protect and conserve natural resources, as well as the psychological and philosophical dimensions of these issues
  • Interact with professionals, academics, conservationists, community members, and host families
  • Use your field study experience and research skills to complete an Independent Study Project

James Cook University

  • Program type: University Study
  • JCU, located close to the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest, and the outback, has long been respected as a world leader in such fields as marine science and tropical environment studies.
  • Sample courses: Environmental Risk & Social Practice; Science Journalism; Society & the Environment. JCU’s emphasis on field study permits US students to explore new environments.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

China

SIT China– Public Health & Traditional Medicine

  • Program type: Study Center
  • Focuses is on the medicinal system of China
  • Classroom based introduction to program theme as well as structured activities alongside professionals in traditional Chinese medicine, both in community and clinical settings
  • Observe traditional practitioners of herbal medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy, and, in some cases, receive practical training
  • No language prerequisite.  Summer only.

India

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Based in Jaipur but with many internship options elsewhere.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Hindi is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Japan

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (available through GlobaLinks Japan)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Take courses in the Asia Pacific Studies college in the following areas: Comparative Societies and Cultures, International Governance, Environmental Resource Policy, and Sustainable Development
  • Courses taught in English.  No prior Japanese required but optional Japanese language courses are offered.

New Zealand

University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city. About one out of every three New Zealanders lives in Auckland, a subtropical city on the North Island
  • For relevant courses look in the online catalog under Geography (strong environmental focus) and under Social Science for Public Health.
  • Instruction is in English, although some  Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year

University of Otago

  • Program type: University Study
  • Courses available in the wide array of science and social science areas, including Environment and Society, Environmental Science, Drugs and Human Health; Infection and Immunity; Nutrition, Metabolism and Human Health; and Reproduction, Genetics and Development
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year

 

Thailand

CIEE Thailand– Development & Globalizaiton

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Based in Khon Kaen, northern Thailand, this program explores environment, development, and the nature of community in a globalizing world. Considerable emphasis on environmental issues.
  • Extensive field experience Includes visits to a number of community-based projects and opportunities for community research.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Thai is required. Fall or spring semester.

Mahidol University (available through GlobaLinks Thailand)

Vietnam and Cambodia

SIT Vietnam/Cambodia– Ecology & Community-Based Natural Resource Management

  • Highly experiential program exploring the natural, human, and political economy of Vietnam and upstream areas of the Mekong River Delta in Cambodia.
  • Examines issues of sustainable development, pressures on natural resource exploitation, and ecotourism in Vietnam and Cambodia—all with interesting parallels to Native American areas.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Chinese or of local minority languages is required. Fall or spring semester.

Europe

Denmark

Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Copenhagen-based DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • More than a hundred courses offered in dozens of academic disciplines. Thematic concentrations include: Biomedicine, Medical Practice & Policy, Public Health, and Sustainability in Europe.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

France

Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study and Study Abroad Center (two tracks)
  • Permits a mix of special language and culture courses for international students and regular Université Paul Valéry courses in a proportion suitable to each student’s language proficiency.
  • Relevant ields available at the university include anthropology, biology, chemistry, environmental studies, geography, history, international relations, political science, psychology, sociology.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.

Finland

University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu campus (available through UMD Exchange in Finland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • This university, located in the southeast Finnish city of Joensuu, offers several special programs in English for international students, including in Environmental Sciences and Forestry.
  • Some regular courses are available in English as well. Many other courses available to students fluent in Finnish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Germany

IES Germany—Freiburg Environmental Studies & Sustainability

  • Program type: Study center
  • Explore the field of renewable energies & energy policy
  • Sample courses include Ecology and Management of Forest Landscapes in Southwest Germany & the Swiss Alps; Global Environmental Change; Methods in Ecosystem Analysis

Iceland

SIT Iceland—Renewable Energy, Technology, and Economics

  • Program type: Study Center
  • Features an interdisciplinary seminar on renewable energy, technology, and resource economics as well as an introductory Icelandic language course.
  • Summer only.

University of Iceland (available through Scholarship Exchange in Iceland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of the great bargains in study abroad. One student annually receives scholarships covering tuition and fees, room and board, and health insurance—virtually everything but airfare.
  • Sample courses: Nature Based Tourism; Research Project in Biology for Foreign Students; Ecological Economics; Field Course in Management of Protected Areas; Sustainable Futures.
  • Instruction in many courses (included those listed here) is in English; no prior Icelandic is required. Additional courses available to students fluent in Icelandic. Academic year only.

Ireland

University College Cork (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Situated in the city of the same name (population 200,000) on the south coast of Ireland 160 miles from Dublin UCC has an enrollment of 17,000.
  • BSE-relevant courses are scattered through many departments, including Ecology, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Epidemiology & Public Health, and a number of the natural sciences.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Norway

University of Oslo

  • Program type: University Study
  • A bilateral exchange offers highly affordable access to Norway’s largest and oldest university, featuring a great variety of courses in sciences, social sciences, health care management, and the environment.
  • Sample course titles: Nature and Society; Cross-Cultural Perspective on the Environment, Environmental Philosophy and Ethics; and Environmental Economics.
  • No prior Norwegian is required. Many courses are taught in English; still more are available for students sufficiently proficient in Norwegian. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Switzerland

SIT Switzerland—Global Health & Development Policy

  • Program type: Study center/field study
  • An interdisciplinary course conducted in English, with required readings, examining models of health systems, diseases, and development policy
  • Additional focus is on pharmaceutical enterprises, international trade, intellectual property rights, access to medicines, and vulnerable groups such as migrants
  • Resources utilized in the delivery of course content include the University Hospital of Geneva, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the World Health Organization

United Kingdom—England

Queen Mary University of London

  • Program type: University Study
  • QM’s academic departments, library, students’ union, and administrative buildings are all on one campus in the multicultural East End, making it unique among the traditional London colleges.
  • BSE-relevant courses in this affordable program are scattered among many departments. Check especially under Biological & Chemical Sciences, Economics, and Geography
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language,
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.

Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Summer research abroad preceded by spring semester preparation and followed by fall semester project write-up; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • A faculty adviser helps students prepare, accompanies each group during the summer, and assists as the thesis is written.
  • Locations vary from year to year; two to four destinations offered annually. No language prerequisite for most sites. Summer.

Work, Intern, and Volunteer Opportunities

  • Consider a non-credit work, intern, or volunteer abroad experience
  • Internship and volunteer placements related to health, environment, social service, education, and other areas are available
  • Consider combining a WIV experience with study abroad.

Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.

Twin Cities Campus: