Learning Abroad in Anthropology

Learning Abroad in Anthropology

“Study abroad is an invaluable part of any undergraduate study program, but it is especially important for anthropology students. Often experience abroad leads to language and cultural expertise, and frequently to a career for life. Even if students pursue careers outside of anthropology—law, business, medicine or public service—their time abroad will always be a shining star in their educational background, and a life-changing event.”
—William O. Beeman, Department Chair

“Study Abroad is an excellent catalyst for reflecting on the cultural assumptions, values, and problems of your own society.”
—Jean M. Langford, Associate Professor

Learning Abroad Process

Familiarize yourself with the Learning Abroad Process. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Department of Anthropology before beginning your study abroad research.

Align study abroad with your personal, academic & professional goals.

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay particular attention to program type

Work on your anthropology major or minor

Conduct fieldwork for your senior thesis

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

Programs

Africa and the Middle East

Kenya

MSID—International Development in Kenya

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion; anthropology is among the most popular majors of participants.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees.
  • 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.

Morocco

SIT Morocco– Migration & Transnational Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Rabat-based program focused on factors driving internal and international migration, particularly in Morocco and elsewhere in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Includes structured field experiences locally, field trip to meet Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, visit to the Morocco-Spain border zone, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Senegal

MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion; anthropology is among the most popular majors of participants.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, community centers, and many more.
  • 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

University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town 

  • Program type: University Study
  • Post-Apartheid South Africa is ideal for observing how differently another society defines and deals with issues of race and inequality.
  • University of Cape Town is one of Africa’s leading research and teaching institutions. All Department of Social Anthropology offerings are open to program participants.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Americas

Argentina

Universidad de Buenos Aires (available through CIEE Argentina—Liberal Arts, IES Argentina—Buenos Aires Advanced Spanish, or IFSA-Butler Argentina)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Huge, prestigious institution offering something for everyone, including a rich array of course offerings in both archaeology and cultural anthropology.
  • Option also available to take courses in smaller Buenos Aires universities, although none of them has a department of anthropology.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Brazil

CIEE Brazil—Salvador da Bahia

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Bahia, a beachfront city that was a wealthy sugar center during the colonial period, is the heartland of Afro-Brazilian culture—a core focus of the program's curriculum.
  • Five-week pre-session to strengthen your Portuguese (or convert your Spanish into Portuguese) precedes 15-week semester of center language and area studies courses, plus university option.
  • Instruction is in Portuguese. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Chile

Universidad de Chile (available through IFSA-Butler Chile, CIEE Chile, or IES Chile)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Anthropology course offerings focus especially on contemporary social and economic issues; interdisciplinary research efforts include Andean Studies and Easter Island Studies.
  • Although Butler, CIEE, and IES all provide access to this Santiago institution, program details vary (e.g., supplemental courses or availability of internships or service-learning); compare carefully.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Ecuador

MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion; anthropology is among the most popular majors of participants.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Mexico

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (available through IFSA-Butler Mexico)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Top departments in this university, located in Merida close to some of Mexico’s finest Mayan archaeological sites, include Anthropology, Archeology, and Latin American Studies.
  • IFSA-Butler supplements university courses with a mandatory Spanish course and two optional courses including one on Mayan history and culture.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Explore these and many more opportunities using the Learning Abroad Center program search.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

University Study in Australia: James Cook University

  • Program type: University Study
  • Two campuses, in Townsville and Cairns, both near the Great Barrier Reef on the tropical Queensland coast.
  • Offers many courses in anthropology, in addition to a large multidisciplinary School of Indigenous Australian Studies.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

China

Alliance China– Xi’an

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program name is Globalization Then and Now: Xi’an & the Silk Road. Includes two-week Silk Road field trip into Central Asia.
  • Includes Chinese language study, The Silk Road Yesterday & Today, and choice of one other course in Chinese history, art history, or contemporary society and culture.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Chinese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

Japan

IES Japan—Tokyo Society & Culture

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary language and area studies program for students with little or no Japanese language background.
  • Optional but highly recommended course on Social Organization in Japan includes a field placement of a day each week as a participant-observer with a Japanese organization.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Japanese is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Japan

Sophia University (available through Bilateral Exchange in Tokyo)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Tokyo-based Jesuit university with two campuses, one of which offers all instruction in English and draws many Japanese students who have lived abroad for extended periods of time.
  • Courses available in archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, and Asian and Japanese cultural studies among others.
  • Instruction is in English; prior Japanese language study preferred but not required. Spring semester or academic year.

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city.
  • Department of Anthropology offers extensive listing of courses, many with field research components; Maori studies courses are also available.
  • Instruction is in English, although some  Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Samoa

SIT Samoa—Pacific Communities & Social Change

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Program studies process of change in Samoa and other Pacific communities, including impact of new and different values in light of development and globalization pressures.
  • Includes orientation in Hawaii, field study in Samoa, field trips to Fiji and American Samoa, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Samoan is required. Fall or spring semester.

Explore these and many more opportunities using the Learning Abroad Center program search.

Europe

France

Université Paul Valéry (available through Study Abroad in Montpellier)

  • Program type: University Study (there is also a Study Abroad Center track)
  • Paul Valéry’s Department of Sociology and Ethnology offers such courses as Applied Ethnology, Political Ethnology, Religious Ethnology, Ethnology and History, and Ethnoarchaeology.
  • Center track for students with inadequate French for university courses offers language and culture courses but no anthropology.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for center track, two for university study track. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.

Germany

Exchange in Germany

  • Program type:  University Study
  • This exchange is with Freie University of Berlin  
  • Berlin is the largest city in Germany with a vibrant cultural life and a rich history
  • Students take courses from the university’s curriculum with German students

Ireland

National University of Ireland (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in Maynooth, 15 miles west of Dublin and boasting a distinguished department of anthropology, this university provides an excellent environment for integration into Irish culture.
  • Department is subdivided into specialties such as medical anthropology, economic anthropology, language and culture, anthropology of religion, and psychological anthropology.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Italy

IES Rome

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies courses include Archeology of Ancient Rome; Archeological Excavation; Culture & Urban Change in Contemporary Italy; Community-Based Learning Seminar.
  • Students with enough Italian may choose from a wider range of offerings, including in anthropology and archaeology, at either of two local universities. Internships also available.
  • No prior Italian is required. Although instruction for most courses is in English, some center and university courses alike are available in Italian. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Universitá di Bologna (available through Bologna Consortial Studies Program, BCSP)

  • Program type: University Study
  • UB has a strong Department of Archaeology but no Department of Anthropology; however, anthropology courses are scattered among other disciplines.  
  • BCSP program supplements UB courses with courses designed for US students. A pre-session intensive Italian course strengthens students' language skills before UB classes begin.
  • Instruction is in Italian. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. (Academic year option highly recommended.)

Norway

The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging (HECUA)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Explores Scandinavian grassroots citizen involvement, inequality, and social justice, as well as such themes as state support of health care, education, and economic security.
  • Based in Oslo; includes comparative field study in other Norwegian locations and in Sweden and Denmark.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Norwegian is required. Fall semester.

Spain

Study and Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Strong humanities/social science curriculum includes two anthropology courses dealing with the Iberian Peninsula, one on archaeology and the other on ethnology and folklore.
  • Internships available, as well as a service-learning course on immigrants in Spain.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

United Kingdom

Northern Ireland: Democracy & Social Change (HECUA)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Examines historical, political, economic, and religious roots of conflict in Northern Ireland; prospects for peace; and progress being made.
  • Half-time, 8-credit internship complements classroom and field study and could easily focus on a cultural topic.
  • Instruction is in English. Spring semester..

University of Kent, Canterbury (available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • University of 17,000 students in old cathedral city of Canterbury, located near English Channel and with particularly strong ties to the European community.
  • Broad range of courses in excellent anthropology and archeology departments .
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

University College, London (available through Arcadia England or IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Highly rated Department of Anthropology with sections focusing on biological anthropology, material culture, social anthropology. Department offers internships as well.
  • UCL’s Institute of Archeology, distinct from Department of Anthropology, has its own set of scholars in all subfields.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Explore these and many more opportunities using the Learning Abroad Center program search.

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 writeup; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • 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, Volunteer, and Research Opportunities

Student Experiences

Kristi V. Studies Development in Kenya
On the MSID program, Kristi studied development in Nairobi and interned in rural Kisumu with an organization that educates Kenyans on health issues.

Emily S. Studies and Interns in London
Emily interned with a non-profit family center in London while taking courses. She learned about her field and developed skills in working with homeless and refugee families.

Heidi in Kenya
Heidi spent the summer at the Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya, studying paleoanthropology.

Erin in India
Erin B., an Anthropology and English Major, studied and interned in India spring semester of 2007 as part of the Minnesota Studies and International Development Program.

Jason in Australia
Jason is finishing his degree in child psychology and cultural anthropology after spending a semester in Townsville, Australia at James Cook University.

Patty in Argentina
Patty is a cultural anthropology major who lived and studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a semester.

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