Learning Abroad in Geography

Learning Abroad in Geography

Firsthand geographical learning through experiences in diverse parts of the world is a valuable ingredient in the formation of an educated person in our globalizing world. Learning abroad is designed to provide you with these experiences. Whether your area of emphasis is on culture, the environment, GIS, or some combination, learning abroad can enrich your educational experiences. You will understand your own cultural area better for having shared in and with another. Learning abroad will help you understand the discipline of geography more thoroughly, because like many other disciplines, it originated outside of the United States and is continually influenced by ideas and methodologies from all over the world.

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 Department of Geography before beginning your study abroad research.

When should I go abroad?

  • There is no “best” time for everyone. It depends both on the individual student and on the type of education abroad experience.
  • Introductory short-term programs and language study can be great as freshmen or sophomores. This gives you time to follow up with a longer-term experience abroad before you graduate.
  • For semester or full-year programs the sophomore or junior year tend to be best on the whole.
  • Senior-year study abroad may require additional planning. When are graduate school applications due? Do you need to take exams given only at particular times of year, or only in the U.S.? Will the grades from your study abroad arrive in time for graduation? Is there any danger that the study abroad will impede timely completion of the major paper?

Choosing a program

  • The department is especially partial to programs that get you into regular classes at a host university and programs where you can be out of the classroom and into the community
  • Seek to study in a culture that contrasts with your own. The department encourages students to consider study in countries outside of Western Europe. There are programs that are appropriate for all focus areas within geography including physical geography, environmental studies, globalization and development, and culture and place.
  • Learn about other traditions and perspectives in geography. See how geographers in another country view their discipline; choose a program where your professors are from the host country
  •  Look for opportunities to study how the geography of an area has affected its culture, environment, economy, and politics. Can you apply what you have learned in class here to understanding your new environment

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

  • The departmental adviser will screen courses you plan to take abroad and help you fit appropriate courses into your major requirements.
  • Courses must have significant geographical content, although they need not be listed under Geography (other departments have included historFor exact course substitutions to fulfill requirements (Geography 1301, 3401, 3371, 3561, 4001, 4002) the course needs to be equivalent. 
  • It may be easier to apply study abroad courses to your track electives or to liberal education requirement (see below)
  • For pre-approval of a course taken abroad, provide a syllabus (or at least a good course description) to the geography adviser for review at least a month before departure
  • Only courses accepted by the University of Minnesota at the upper division level can count toward the major.
  • Internships abroad might apply toward the elective component of the major, but the academic documentation must be persuasive. Although the department encourages internships, you may be able to use them only toward elective credit outside the major.  Your chances of counting the credit in your major will improve if you work with the Geography adviser before departure.

Conduct fieldwork for your senior project

  • With the consultation of an appropriate faculty member who will act as your senior project adviser, you may be able to use fieldwork as the basis for your senior project; however, the actual senior project must be completed for 2-4 credits once you return to the University.
  • You may be able to pursue independent research, research through an internship or volunteer opportunity, or research through your study program. Use the Learning Abroad Center program search to identify study abroad programs that include these kinds of opportunities.

Fulfill liberal education requirements

  • Consult the U-Credit Abroad database for classes that have been approved for Liberal Education. If a course is not listed, it may still meet a liberal education requirement. We encourage you to submit your course(s) for evaluation.

Programs

The Department of Geography 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

Ghana

University of Ghana (available through CIEE Ghana)

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Focus on international development and globalization
  • Located on the outskirts of Ghana’s capital city Accra, the University of Ghana offers students of geography the chance to study a wide range of courses, including many with a focus on development
  • Possible courses include Appropriate Technology for Rural Development in Africa, Culture & Development, Geography of Gender & Development in Africa, Politics of Developing Countries-West Africa, The Context of Development & Underdevelopment

Kenya

MSID Kenya

  • Program Type: Field Study
  • Focus on international development and globalization
  • Combines coursework, research, field placements, and internships in this program that focuses on development, globalization, and social justice.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, small business lending organizations, women’s groups, orphanages, housing organizations, community centers, and many more.

Senegal

MSID Senegal

  • Program Type: Field Study
  • Focus on international development and globalization
  • Combines coursework, research, field placements, and internships in this program that focuses on development, globalization, and social justice.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, small business lending organizations, women’s groups, orphanages, housing organizations, community centers, and many more.

Americas

Argentina

Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

  • Program Type: Study Center
  • Focus on social and cultural geography
  • Take Spanish language courses while also learning about Argentine society through courses taught in English
  • Explore Latin American culture with courses such as Politics & Society in Latin America and Buenos Aires: City of the Arts

Costa Rica

CIEE Costa Rica- Tropical Ecology and Conservation

  • Program Type: Study Center/Field Study
  • Focus on environmental geography
  • Based at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, students spend considerable time on field trips to other regions and ecosystems throughout the country
  • Courses, all taught in English, include Tropical Diversity, Tropical Community Ecology, and Humans in the Tropics.

Ecuador

MSID Ecuador

  • Program Type: Field Study
  • Focus on international development and globalization
  • Combines coursework, research, field placements, and internships in this program that focuses on development, globalization, and social justice.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, small business lending organizations, women’s groups, orphanages, housing organizations, community centers, and many more.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

University Study in Australia: University of Melbourne

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Melbourne has a strong geography department
  • Development and globalization-focused courses include Development and the Third World, Development & Urban Environments, Indigenous Peoples & Resource Management, and Geopolitics of Peace & Development
  • Cities/urban planning-focused courses include Australian Urban Planning, City in History, Shaping the Metropolis, and Transport & Land Use Planning

University of Wollongong (available through Arcadia

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • A stunning natural environment, thriving industry, and blend of big and small city characteristics make Wollongong an ideal place to study
  • Courses in human and physical geography, aboriginal studies, environmental science, social science, and other areas provide a variety of options for geography majors

New Zealand           

University Study in New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • With an enrollment of about 20,00 students, Victoria University of Wellington is a thriving community of learning.
  • GIS, development, environmental, and other geography courses can be complemented with courses in anthropology, development, environmental studies, and Maori studies

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • The University of Auckland was established in 1883 and is one of New Zealand’s oldest and largest institutions.
  • Geography department offers several courses in physical, human, environmental, and urban geography
  • Related coursework can also be taken in other departments, such as environmental science, urban design, planning and Pacific studies

University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • The University of Otago, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the southern hemisphere, is located in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island.
  • offers diverse coursework in both physical and human geography as well as GIS related courses

Thailand

MSID Thailand

  • Program Type: Field Study
  • Focus on international development and globalization
  • Combines coursework, research, field placements, and internships in this program that focuses on development, globalization, and social justice.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, small business lending organizations, women’s groups, orphanages, housing organizations, community centers, and many more.

Europe

Iceland           

Scholarship Exchange in Iceland

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Study at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik on this partial scholarship exchange
  • Relevant courses include Small States and European Integration, The New European Union, Icelandic Society, and Icelandic Folk Tales, Folk Beliefs & Folk Culture

Ireland           

University College Cork (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Environmental geography focus
  • Based in Cork, the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and home to a thriving arts and cultural scene
  • Explore environmental issues in an Irish context, through courses such as Geography of Agriculture & Food, Environmental Policy, Marine Environments, and Climatic Change & Society

Netherlands

University of Amsterdam

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • This program gives you the chance to explore Dutch society and culture through coursework with Dutch university students
  • Cities/urban planning focus courses include Relevant courses include Cities of Diversity, Planning International: Europeanization of Spatial Policy & Planning, and Amsterdam: A Unique Metropolis
  • Social and cultural geography courses include Human Geography of Europe, Dutch Society & Culture, Amsterdam- A Unique Metropolis, European Societies & Politics: History and Politics of European Integration, and Social Movements & Collective Action

Norway

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

  • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
  • This program investigates changes in Northern Europe by analyzing the development of the Norwegian welfare state through a wide range of topics such as globalization theories, nation-building and national identity, governance and political party systems, European integration, racial thinking international aid politics, sexuality, and environmentalism
  • Summer program

United Kingdom

Queen's University, Belfast (available through Arcadia United Kingdom)

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Environmental geography focus
  • Leaarn about environmental issues from an Irish perspective while exploring vibrant Belfast and the beautiful surrounding countryside
  • Environmental courses include Water, Atmosphere, and Society, Sustaining the Biosphere, Vegetation Studies for Conservation, and Coastal Environments

University of Ulster (available through IFSA-Butler United Kingdom

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • The University of Ulster offers the most comprehensive course selection in Northern Ireland
  • The  Coleraine campus offers geography courses as well as area studies, cultural studies, economics, environmental science, and sociology

University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow, Scotland

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Experience the vibrant urban feel of the UK's third largest city while studying at one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom
  • Take courses in literature, comparative literature, and Scottish literature
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year

University Study in the UK: Lancaster University, England           

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • Take courses in literature, linguistics, theory, and creative writing.
  • Study Beowulf, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and other Old and Middle English literature in the original languages (OE and ME).
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year

Study & Intern in London

  • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
  • This program offers courses in a wide variety of topics, complemented by credit-bearing internships.
  • Consider an internship at a library, writing or editing for a magazine, in a theater or in a variety of other placements.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, summer

University of East Anglia (available through IFSA Butler) Norwich, England           

  • Program Type: Host-University Study
  • UEA teaches and researches English and American literature, comparative European literature, creative writing, drama, American history, film, and television.
  • Study modern and postmodern literature, creative writing, women’s writing, 18th-Century studies, and romanticism.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year.

University Study in the UK: Queen Mary College, University of London 

  • Program Type: Host-University Study           
  • Study in London’s East End and experience its rich ethnic diversity in language, foods, culture, and literary studies.
  • Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama offers both traditional literary studies and forward-looking, innovative literary, theoretical, and interdisciplinary studies.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor
  • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester long program

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.

 

Non-Credit Opportunities

 

  • Non-credit  opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.  

 

Student Experiences

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