group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Learning Abroad with a Sustainability Studies Minor

    “Spending meaningful time in another country and culture offers a personal experience of cultural, economic, and natural systems that may be more—or less—sustainable than the equivalent in the US. Many sustainability study abroad programs offer experiential education options like internships, community-based class projects, and field studies that allow students to experience, personally, the complexity of furthering sustainability goals and to gain new perspectives on sustainability challenges at the global scale.”
    —Beth Mercer-Taylor, Sustainability Education Coordinator

     

    Department Recommendations

    Academic Planning

    • The Sustainability Studies Minor accepts study abroad courses for up to 6 of your 9 elective credits. Contact sustainu@umn.edu regarding which elective categories your potential study abroad courses will fulfill. It is best to do this prior to departure, however, you may also request that credits count for the Minor upon your return. Below are just a few of the many programs that are great options for Sustainability Studies Minor students. If you find another program that you think could count towards the minor that is not listed on this page, contact Beth Mercer-Taylor.
    • Because Sustainability Studies is so interdisciplinary, we recommend reviewing additional Major Advising Pages for additional study abroad options.
    • Plan early to apply study abroad credits to the University’s Liberal Education requirements. Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad so you do not fulfill them on campus.  Consult the Learning Abroad Center's U Credit Abroad Search for courses that have been approved for Liberal Education.

     

    Programs

    Africa and the Middle East

    Kenya

    MSID—International Development in Kenya

    • Program terms: Fall or Spring semester
    • Program themes: Entrepreneurship, Health, Human Rights, and Sustainability 
    • Course on Historical & Political Context of Kenya, followed by an internship or research project with a local development organization. Homestays enrich cultural immersion. 
    • Interns observe and participate in daily activities and engage in discussions about the organizational goals and development in that country.
    • Research topics are based on current projects at local organizations with a focus on understanding in-country development needs and dynamics.
    • Instruction is in English.

    Senegal

    MSID—International Development in Senegal

    • Program terms: Fall or Spring semester
    • Program themes: Entrepreneurship, Health, Human Rights, and Sustainability 
    • Course on Historical & Political Context of Senegal, followed by an internship or research project with a local development organization. Homestays enrich cultural immersion. 
    • Interns observe and participate in daily activities and engage in discussions about the organizational goals and development in that country.
    • Research topics are based on current projects at local organizations with a focus on understanding in-country development needs and dynamics.
    • Instruction is in French.

    South Africa

    University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town 

    • Spend an academic year or semester studying at a large, diverse, and urban university on the coast
    • Choose from coursework in fields related to Sustainability Studies, including Biology, Architecture, Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Engineering

     

    Americas

    Costa Rica

    School for Field Studies: Costa Rica

    • Examine the effects of globalization on classic development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water resources
    • Learn field research skills and work with local park rangers, farmers, and top environmental officials to understand the challenges of maintaining Costa Rica's biodiversity
    • Semester and summer options available

    Ecuador

    MSID—International Development in Ecuador

    • Program terms: Fall or Spring semester
    • Program themes: Entrepreneurship, Health, Human Rights, and Sustainability
    • Course on Historical & Political Context of Ecuador, followed by an internship or research project with a local development organization. Homestays enrich cultural immersion
    • Development course tailored to develop field-specific knowledge in education, public health, micro-business, cultural studies, environment or social services
    • Past internships locations include health clinics, schools, orphanages, agricultural cooperatives, HIV/AIDS outreach organizations, small businesses, and local art cooperatives, among others
    • Interns observe and participate in daily activities and engage in discussions about the organizational goals and development in that country
    • Research topics are based on current projects at local organizations with a focus on understanding in-country development needs and dynamics
    • Instruction is in Spanish

    Asia and Oceania

    Australia

    School for Field Studies: Australia

    • Contribute to research on the loss and fragmentation of rainforest and take courses examining environmental policies related to the issue on local and national levels
    • Semester and summer options available
    • In collaboration with local landholders, stakeholder organizations, and on-site staff determine how to enhance the condition of tropical rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands

    University Study in Australia: University of Melbourne

    • The University of Melbourne is one of the world’s top research and teaching institutions
    • Classes are available in Australian flora and fauna, ecology, sustainable environmental development, biogeography, GIS, parts and recreation management, hydrology, environmental management systems, environmental economics, environmental site engineering, agroforestry, zoology, botany, and global environmental politics
    • Field study is an integral part of environmental subjects, allowing students the opportunity to practice techniques and learn more about the Australian environment

    University of Queensland, Brisbane (available through Arcadia)

    • The University of Queensland has a highly regarded reputation in environmental science with a particular emphasis on field studies
    • Study topics such as arid zone ecology, marine botany, and coral reef ecology

    Japan

    Exchange in Japan—Nagoya University

    • Sample course offering areas, taught in English include:  agricultural science, chemistry, economics, environmental studies, international development, information science, law, math, and medicine 
    • Japanese language courses available - beginning to advanced
    • Independent research in the student's major field of study is available during the second semester 
    • No previous Japanese language study required
    • Academic year or spring semester only program

    Thailand

    MSID—International Development in Thailand

    • Program terms: Fall or Spring semester
    • Program themes: Entrepreneurship, Health, Human Rights, and Sustainability 
    • Course on Historical & Political Context of Thailand, followed by an internship or research project with a local development organization. Homestays enrich cultural immersion. 
    • Past internship locations include health clinics, schools, orphanages, agricultural cooperatives, HIV/AIDS outreach organizations, small businesses, and local art cooperatives, among others.
    • Interns observe and participate in daily activities and engage in discussions about the organizational goals and development in that country.
    • Research topics are based on current projects at local organizations with a focus on understanding in-country development needs and dynamics.
    • Instruction is in English.

     

    Europe

    Denmark

    Study Abroad in Denmark—Sustainability in Europe

    • The program’s core course and study tours will enhance your understanding of the divergent goals and processes connected with sustainable development
    • Interact with a range of Danish and European stakeholders currently shaping the sustainability agenda
    • Identify your own values and strategies for a sustainable future

    Norway

    Norwegian U of Life Sciences

    • Study at the Norwegian U of Life Sciences, which focuses specifically on biology, food, environment, land use, and natural resource management
    • Over 200 English-taught courses are available

    Spain

    Arcadia Spain—Environmental Studies in Granada

    • Study in Granada, home to national parks and a number of UNESCO-declared biospheres
    • Gain a Spanish perspective on issues such as coastal preservation, water management, renewable energy technologies & production, and more
    • Enroll in courses such as Renewable Energy: Wind, Solar, WaveMicrometeorology and ClimatologyEcosystems of Andalucia; and Sustainability in the Mediterranean

    Germany

    IES Germany—Environmental Studies & Sustainability

    • Organized in cooperation with the Forest Ecology and Management Program at the distinguished Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, courses focus on the sustainable management of natural resources, with a special emphasis on the adaptive management of forests
    • Take German language courses at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level
    • Post-program research assistantships and extensive field study trips to the Swiss Alps, the Rhine River Valley, and the Black Forest give you hands-on experience

    Iceland

    Scholarship Exchange in Iceland

    • This partial scholarship exchange offers you the chance to study in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik
    • Choose coursework from a host of options, including Biology, Engineering, Geography, Geology, Political Science, and more

    France

    Sustainable Food Chains

    • Summer Session
    • Sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences

    United Kingdom—England

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

    • Spend an academic year or semester living and studying on the only university campus in London
    • Choose from coursework in fields related to Sustainability Studies, including Biological and Chemical Sciences, Engineering, Geography, and Politics

    University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

    • Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is one of the UK's most highly-rated schools.
    • Students can explore options through the biology and earth science departments—many of which focus on environmental studies and sustainability.
    •  Option to study at the Dumfries campus in southern Scotland.  Sample courses in sustainability include "Energy: Options for Sustainability" and "Sustainability of Farming Systems." 
    • Semester and academic year options available.  

    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
    • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on a 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.