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Study the Environment Overseas: Education Abroad Opportunities Highlighted in Advance of Education Abroad Fair

Sarah-Jane Lorenzo
September 15, 2014

Ohio University’s environmentally-focused education abroad programs offer students the chance to immerse themselves in hands-on learning experiences in a wide range of overseas settings.  Four programs illustrate the diversity of locations and environmental topics students and their faculty mentors will tackle in the coming school year: Canada, Costa Rica, Scotland, and the Balkans.

The chance to learn more about these and all the study abroad options comes next Monday, September 15 from 11am-4pm in the Baker Center Ballroom.  The annual Study Abroad Fair, sponsored by the Office of Education Abroad, will feature displays and program leaders talking about the many options for an international experience.

Canadian Parliment

Environmental Health and Sustainability: Canada

Canada may not technically be overseas, but for students interested in public health, public policy, and the environment, the bustling capital city of Ottawa is the perfect place to learn about environmental health.

Environmental health addresses the idea that often, what harms the environment is also harmful to humans.  This summer, students who travel to Canada will learn how steps to improve public health can also be steps to save the environment.

Dr. Michele Morrone, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Social and Public Health, won’t just be lecturing to students how Ottawa is addressing environmental health. She has devised a hands-on program where students will explore the city and actively evaluate its efforts. In addition to taking field trips and attending guest lectures, students will complete food safety inspections, challenge themselves to navigate and assess Canadian public transportation, and develop their own research project tailored to their interests.

Outside of class, students will visit Canada’s Parliament, explore the Royal Botanical Gardens, tour the Dundurn Castle, and see North America’s first indoor toilet!  Trips will also be made to beautiful Canadian wineries and several museums.

Program Dates -May 11 – June 7, 2015

Application Deadline -Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until Feb. 1, 2015.

Credits Earned - Five

For more information on this trip, and to find out about cost and eligibility, go to: http://www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/programs/canadaEnvHealth.html

Costa Rica Rainforest

Ecotourism Destinations: Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect place for a tropical adventure and an ideal destination for students looking to learn about a country’s culture, ecotourism innovations, spectacular natural environment, and innovative sustainability efforts.

Costa Rica is what Program Director Danny Twilley, an Instructor in Recreation Sport Pedagogy, calls one of the model countries for ecotourism in the world.  Unlike many countries that exploit their natural resources, Costa Ricans chose to preserve their environmental capital and generate income from ecotourism and ecosystem services.  Twilley believes ecotourism has been a key contributor to Costa Rica’s rise from poverty to become a country with strong social and economic conditions including a 98 percent literacy rate.

Students will learn about ecotourism, sustainability, and Costa Rica’s economy by hiking to various destinations where they will stay in homes completely off the grid, eat locally sourced traditional foods, process sugar cane, tour a coffee co-op, and learn how to make bread and cheese. Students will also go whitewater rafting and surf in the ocean, and hike through rainforests.

Program Dates - January 1 – 10, 2015

Application Deadline - Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until Oct. 1, 2014.

Credits Earned - Three

For more information on this trip, and to find out about cost and eligibility, go to: http://www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/programs/costarica.html

OU Albania Education Abroad

Environmental Peacebuilding and Sustainability: Peace Parks in the Balkans

Transboundary conservation and peacebuilding are not typically topics in the same class. But students who travel to the Balkans next summer will have the opportunity to see how three countries are trying to protect their natural environment while recovering from a history of political instability.

Starting with three days in Washington, DC, students will meet with esteemed policymakers, scholars, and embassy officials to set the stage for their visit to southeastern Europe.  Once they fly across the Atlantic, students will strap on backpacks to hike over mountains and national borders and experience the culture, politics, and natural environment in the mountainous Balkan region.

Students will travel to Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, spend nights in ecotourism guesthouses, mountain cabins, home stays, and historic hotels up in the mountains and down in cities and towns. Students will also hear a series of lectures by government officials, national park leaders, community members, ecotourism operators, NGO leaders, and university professors across the Balkan countries.

This adventure-filled trip to one of Europe’s most biologically diverse regions will allow students to gain a full spectrum of perspectives on ecotourism, community development and environmental peacebuilding.

The program is led by Professor Geoff Dabelko, director of environmental studies at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, and Todd Walters, founder and executive director of International Peace Park Expeditions.

Program Dates - Mid-May to early June.

Application Deadline - Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until Feb. 1, 2015.

Credits Earned - Seven

For more information on this trip, and to find out about cost and eligibility, go to: http://www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/Programs/Balkans.html

University of Edinburgh Campus

Edinburgh: City and Environment

Edinburgh, Scotland is a city rich in history and culture, as well as an intriguing example of an urban area where leaders and residents are mindful of the environment.

Students who travel to Scotland will gain applied knowledge on urban sustainability concepts and practices. They will experience Scotland’s cultural and natural splendors first hand, whether they are riding Edinburgh’s excellent public transportation network or visiting the energy independent Isle of Eigg.

Classes will be held three days each week for the five weeks of the program, and each day students are in class they will also take a field trip. On weekends and days off, students can use their bus passes to explore the city, travel to the Isles, or even visit other European capitals.

Students will stay in on-campus housing at the University of Edinburgh. There, students will find themselves connected to Scottish history and culture, and will be provided with a hearty Scottish breakfast each day!

Geography Professor Geoff Buckley leads the program, and has taken to students to Edinburgh for the past four years. All credits earned on the trip can count toward the geography major and the environmental studies certificate.

Program Dates - Late May to late June.

Application Deadline - To be determined.

Credits Earned - Seven for undergraduate students, nine for graduate students.

For more information on this trip, and to find out about cost and eligibility, go to: http://www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/Programs/EdinburghCityEnvironment.html