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UW Faculty Led Programs|Study Abroad

Winter Break Study Abroad Opportunities

Please note: All students participating in study abroad programs will be charged a Study Abroad Fee of $100, in addition to the program costs. Students will also be required to purchase Student Travel Insurance at a cost of approximately $25 for two weeks, or $50 per month. Program costs listed below do not include UW tuition and fees.


Exploring the Arts and Culture of Benin, West Africa

The site of this study abroad opportunity is the small francophone country of Benin (formally called Dahomey) in West Africa, situated on the Atlantic Ocean. Participants will be based in the fascinating city of Ouidah, historical birthplace of the Voodoo religion and slave trade of 18th-19th centuries, and currently home to a vibrant living arts culture. Organizational in-country liaison is the CIAMO center.  Highlights include instruction in the integrated arts of traditional African music, dance and visual art, visits to see active public school classrooms, short excursions to interesting nearby villages and historical sites, a weekend excursion to Abomey, the palace site of the original kings of Dahomey and attendance at the International World Voodoo Festival.

Dates: January 2016
Contact: Dr. Lydia Dambekalns (
Approximate Cost: $3800 (includes airfare, in-country transportation, double-occupancy lodging, many meals, excursions, cultural instruction)


CHE 4990/ENR 4990: Sustainability and Systems Thinking
(3 credits)

Covers sustainability issues focused through a systems thinking philosophy lens. The class will take place at the UGA San Luis campus in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Region of Costa Rica, where students will be immersed in a campus and region epitomizing sustainable practices. Numerous activities and tours will enable first hand experiences as well as direct interactions with the community who have embraced sustainable philosophies.

For students with interests in sustainability, engineering, environmental studies and ecosystem studies.

Dates: January 3-16, 2016
Cost: $1200 (does not include airfare)
Contact: Patrick Johnson (


ECOL 5620/ZOO 4900/5750: Darwin and the Galápagos
(4 credits)

The Galápagos are truly unique because of (1) their historical and contemporary importance to the development of evolutionary biology, starting with Darwin’s visit in 1835 and continuing especially with the classical studies by Drs. Peter and Rosemary Grant and their colleagues on the ecology and evolution of Darwin’s finches, (2) the extensive primary and secondary literature that we can draw from including numerous books (e.g., Darwin in Galápagos that follows Darwin’s footsteps in the Galápagos and the Pulitzer-Prize winning The Beak of the Finch that chronicles the studies of the Grants and their students), and (3) there is no better place to see such a wide diversity of iconic species up-close in both remarkably pristine (97% of the Galápagos is protected in a National Park) and highly impacted habitats.

To take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities provided by the rich literature, research, and biodiversity, this 4-credit course will combine a seminar during fall 2015 (90-minute meetings each week) with a 2016 winter session expedition to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands National Park (12-24 January). A key component of the trip is that Greg Estes will lead us while on the islands. Greg is the co-author of Darwin in Galápagos: Footsteps to a New World, published in 2009 by Princeton University Press; we will read this book prior to arriving in Galápagos. Greg has 35 years experience as a researcher and guide on the Galápagos and has consulted on numerous projects about Darwin and the Galápagos.

Dates: Fall 2015/Winter 2016
Estimated Cost: $6500 (including airfare)
Contact: Craig Benkman ( or Carlos Martinez del Rio (


ZOO 4900 – Problems: Behavioral ecology and biodiversity in Ecuador
(2 credits)

The Andes and Amazonian lowlands of South America have the most diverse assemblage of birds in the world. Ecuador straddles the equator and has land on both slopes of the Andes. Although Wyoming covers approximately 2.5 times the area of Ecuador, Ecuador has four times as many species of birds (> 1,800 species). This 10-12 day trip will introduce students to one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, instill an appreciation for the flora and fauna, especially the birds, and allow them to get hands-on experience in exploring the fascinating repertoire of behaviors exhibited by the animals (mostly birds, but also embracing mammals, amphibians and invertebrates) that live in these diverse habitats. The main field site, the Milpe Reserve of the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation (, is at 1,100 meters on the west slope, with excursions to higher elevation cloud forest (2,000 meters) and low-elevation forest (350 meters), at each of which most of the plants and animals will be different. Field projects will emphasize inquiry-based learning about why tropical animals behave in the ways they do. Days will be long, typically with early rising and extensive hiking. Evening lectures and presentations by students, faculty and other researchers will supplement the field experience. Prerequisites: 3.0 gpa or better, sophomore or higher.

Tentative dates: Winter Break 2016
Estimated cost: To be determined
Contact: David McDonald (


WMST 4975/5000:  India: Social Justice in Culture and Practice
(3 credits)

Delhi, Hyderabad and Kadapa, India. In addition to visiting splendid sites, our course does volunteer work and meets with organizations such as Aarti Home who are making  vital change on the ground.

To see some student reflections on their trip, check out these links:
2. Scroll down to April 7, 2014 on the Keep Girls in School Project Facebook page:

In order to get the best rate for airline tickets, the program is planned far in advance.  As a result, there is a $1000 deposit due on May 29, 2015.  Scholarships are available for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA and sophomore standing.

Prerequisite: WMST 4590/INST 4900 Women of India: Lives and Literatures (Fall M W 3:10-4:25 pm) OR WMST 4520/ENG 4640 Postcolonial Writing OR consent of instructor.

Dates:  December 30, 2015 – January 20th, 2016.
Cost: $3,100 (includes airfare)
Contact: Bonnie Zare (


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