Study abroad has the potential to be one of the most transformative experiences of your life. Just as Environmental Studies is interdisciplinary, working past the boundaries of traditional disciplines, so is it also global. Environmental crises transcend borders. Whether you are interested in conservation of endangered species or landscapes, in climate change, in environmental justice, in marine fisheries … you must think and act both globally and locally.
In Environmental Studies at Salisbury University, we encourage all students to study abroad. If you choose to study abroad, it will fulfill the experiential requirement of the major. Approximately half of ENVR students at SU will have done a semester or short-term study abroad program by the time that they graduate. ENVR students have studied in: Canada, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Trinidad, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, England, Scotland, Sweden, Iceland, France, Germany, Spain, China, India, Japan, Cambodia, Bhutan, Tanzania, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
There are programs for every interest and every budget – below are the departmental recommendations for Environmental Studies students.
The School for Field Studies
First: SU, and in particular, Environmental Studies and Biology, is officially affiliated with the School for Field Studies. This means that courses taken through the SFS will show up as actual grades on your transcript (not be transferred in), that all of your existing financial aid will apply to the program, and that SU students are also eligible for additional financial aid from SFS themselves. This is the gold standard for environmentally-focused study abroad programs. Students from SU have studied African wildlife in Tanzania, Ecotourism in Panama, Himalayan ecology in Bhutan, Environmental Ethics in Cambodia, Rainforest Ecology in Australia, and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica (there are additional SFS programs in Peru and the Turks and Caicos Islands). Any semester length program through the School for Field Studies will fill FOUR required courses for the ENVR major, and two of those courses double-count towards a biology minor. Students typically prefer to go in the second semester of their sophomore year, or first semester of their junior year, though students have gone during their senior year as well.
University-affiliated Semester Abroad Programs
These programs are the most affordable. In collaboration with universities in a handful of other countries, SU offers semester-length programs that cost THE SAME as if you were paying tuition, room, and board at SU. You are also billed through SU, so all of your existing financial aid would apply to this program (just like with School for Field Studies). There are a number of these programs that are available, but the three that seem best situated for Environmental Studies students are in Cuenca, Ecuador; Sterling, Scotland; and Malaga, Spain.
Typically, a student in one of these programs can fulfill two Environmental Studies requirements, and two general education or elective courses. While these programs are not as specifically geared towards environmental studies, they do offer a richer cultural experience (for the School for Field Studies programs students live in a field camp with other American students). Notes: only two students per term can go to Scotland for the SU rate; the Malaga program requires Spanish competency; the Ecuador program does not require Spanish competency, but it is advisable to have had at least up to the Spanish 102 level.
Short Term Faculty-led Trips
Taught either in the winter term, or over the summer, every year there are a number of different short-term study abroad trips led by SU faculty. These trips typically include 8-15 SU students and a faculty member, and spend anywhere from seven days to four weeks in country. To count towards the ENVR experiential requirement, the trip course must be at the 300 level or higher, and must have an environmental focus. The following four courses are approved for ENVR students, and will be taught again in the coming years (though some programs are not taught every year):
- India (Indian environment and development)
- Honduras (coral reef ecology)
- Iceland (fish biology and climate change)
- Trinidad and Tobago (conservation biology - offered every other summer)
Non-SU affiliated Study Abroad Program
There are private providers that offer study abroad programs to nearly every country in the world. Some of these are quite good, and some of them are frankly businesses to make money. We have had students in the recent past use private providers to go on study abroad trips to Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Costa Rica. Perhaps the best of these private providers in the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), which offers an incredible assortment of study abroad programs for students interested in outdoor education. The key with any of these private programs is to make sure that you work with your faculty advisor, and the SU Center for International Education.