Study Abroad

Environmental Studies Related Study Abroad Programs

People, Ecology and Development Program

International Sustainable Development Studies Institute

Thailand - Spring 2008

Costa Rica CommunicArte, Community Art and Ecology Program

PRETOMA (Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas)

GREEN Education Adventure Programs in Costa Rica

The Global Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN) provides students a 12 day intensive educational program.

Study Abroad in Australia: Human Dimensions of Sustainability

Through the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU)

International Student Volunteers

Volunteer work and adventure travel around the world.

SFSU Study Abroad & International Exchange Programs

Programs offered through San Francisco State. Click on Program Options to search by country or by major.

CSU International Programs - Australia

Enroll in one of six Universities in 3 Australian cities. Environmental Studies coursework available.

Study Environmental or Biological Sciences Abroad

In Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific


ENVS Students' Study Abroad Experiences

Claire Appel, Academic Programs International, Ireland

In the Spring of 2007 in studied in Cork, Ireland for one semester. Although I am delighted that I had the opportunity to study abroad, there are a few things that I would have done differently. Instead of going through an abroad program, I would have gone on my own and either lived with a family or found housing near campus. I ran into quite a few students who decided to go on their own and they were able to engage more with the culture and therefore had a more fulfilling overall experience. I also had a really difficult time finding classes that were available and transferable for my ENVS major. Looking back, I think I would have rather taken classes that were specifically designed for international visiting students. Overall I would definitely recommend anyone taking a semester or even a year to study abroad. 

Cat Allen, Willing Workers on Organic Farms

Last semester, Spring 2007, I went to New Zealand under a program called WWOOF, Willing Workers on Organic Farms or World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. My original intent was to go there because I was frustrated with getting classes at State, and then, after speaking with Carlos Davidson, the director of the Environmental Studies Department, I found out I could receive credits for going so, I bought my ticket. I stayed with families and owner's of local businesses throughout the north and south island, and it was an experience! My most memorable stay was at an eco-lodge in Nydia Bay which is located on the northen part of the south island. It was a secluded one acre lodge for backpackers. All the profits went to local envrionmental issues such as spraying 1080 poison on possums. Instead, the lodge hired possum trappers and spoke out against the Department of Conservation's hazardous approach to pest control.

The trustees of the one acre land managed to prohibit DOC from spraying parts of Nydia Bay. It's an amazing story, and I was happy to live and work with these people who shared the same passions as myself. I was able to learn and practice sustainble living under the conditions of a different environment and also a different way of life very unfamiliar to the hustling that goes on here in San Francisco. If you are an ENVS student tight on money and would like to receive some form of credit for your travels under this prgram, make an appointment with Carlos Davidson, and check out the WWOOF website:

Advice: I would suggest researching requirements for visas before buying your ticket.

Mei Jardstrom, CSU International Programs: Queretaro, Mexico & SFSU Bilateral Program: Seoul, Korea

Through the International Programs at SFSU I was able to go on two study abroad experiences: I studied in Mexico during the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 semesters, and I studied in Korea during the Summer 2008 semester. In Mexico I lived in a beautiful old colonial city called Queretaro in the heart of Mexico, and nearly every weekend my new friends and I went on trips throughout the country. We saw beaches, pyramids, jungles, waterfalls, new cities and colonial Spanish architecture, and we met interesting people everywhere. During the summer program in Korea, the international students stayed in the university dorms in Seoul with Korean roommates and met Korean people that were the most helpful and polite people that we had ever met. Unfortunately, neither of my host universities offered the ENVS major and it was difficult to get classes to fulfill ENVS requirements. However, this didn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything ENVS-related in my experiences. I was able to observe and participate in the way that people live in different parts of the world and I learned how people of other cultures interact with environmental issues. The change that I experienced as a person was tremendous. New channels opened in my life and because of my study abroad experiences I have changed forever the way that I think and the way that I see myself in the world. Deciding to study abroad was one of the best decisions that I have made for myself in my life, and I gained incredible experiences from it that have carried over to my career as an ENVS major.

Mackenzie Greene-Powell, ISDSI Program, Thailand

We began the program with a five week homestay with a Thai host family in Chiang Mai. The first course we had was Foundations, where we learned about basic South East Asian geography, Thai History, Thai Culture, and Thai Politics. We went on a bunch of great field trips around Chiang Mai one of them being a former leper colony which now works with disabled Thais teaching them jobs skills, organic farming, and working to fit them with custom prosthetics. The next course was Agroecology. This course was broken up into two parts, in the first part we spent a week in a small farming village which has worked to farm organically and move away from green revolution technologies. Here we got to work at our host father's farm building vegetable beds, learning about organic pesticides, and catching fish from his fish farm. As we were learning about all these local level issues we were also discussing global agricultural issues while reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. After our time in the village we moved to a agricultural research center which works to teach villagers about agroforestry as a source of food. Here we got to learn about how to create an Agroforest, which plants grow well and are edible but also help soil and water retention. All together this course really brought together all the elements of agriculture both local and global.

After that we spent a month in the mountains west of Chiang Mai studying forestry in Thailand. For three weeks we hiked though the hills of Mae Hong Son province living in homestays with Karen villagers. We got to help out host families work on their swidden agriculture plots and we learned about the complex nature of "slash and burn" agriculture. It was great to talk to these people who had been living in these areas for generations and farming the same land that their great grandparents had farmed. Most of these villages didn't have any electricity except for a small solar panel and car battery at each house. One village didn't even have road access! It was an amazing experience to live with these villagers and to experience a way of life that seems so far in the past but is alive and well in these remote parts of Thailand.

Our last course was in the south of Thailand where we studied the marine ecosystem and stakeholders on a small archipelago in the Andaman Sea. We spent a week and a half kayaking around the Adang archipelago skin diving and conducting reef surveys. After we finished the camping segment of the course we then spent a week on a small resort island which is facing a lot of growth in tourism in the next five years. This year saw the construction of the first road on the island as well as many more businesses. Here we conducted a stakeholder analysis of the entire island community from resort owners to the local Urak Lawoi people. All in all in was an eye opening experience and I feel lucky to have gotten a chance to see the reefs before the island grew any more. Well, that's the program in a nutshell. We finished about a month ago and I just got back to Chiang Mai from traveling around the country with my dad. If all goes as planned I'll be back at school in August.

To share your own experience, send a the name of your program and a short paragraph to