Learning Abroad for Geology and Geography Majors
The Departments of Geology and Geography encourage their majors to study abroad for a single semester, year or a summer. Our faculty will help students find programs that best fit their academic and personal goals.
Learning abroad provides opportunities for students to gain valuable cross-cultural understanding and an appreciation of our interconnected and diverse world by meeting people and exploring places, societies, and environments other than their own. By immersing themselves in another culture and engaging with unfamiliar perspectives, students will develop skills and competencies to work in an increasingly international and diverse workplace.
A venerable geologist we know says: “the geologist who sees the most rocks wins.” In that spirit, we encourage geology majors who go abroad to take geology courses that involve field work and field trips.
If the last decade has taught us anything, it should have taught us that understanding the world around us is complicated. Global strife is driven by a nexus of political, cultural, economic, and environmental problems. Geography is the one discipline that has always attempted to integrate these perspectives.
--Thomas L. Millette
Where to Study:
Geography majors have the opportunity to study in a broad collection of settings that include Central and South America, Western Europe, Africa, Asia, and the always popular Australasia. Since much of the world outside the US has a deeper tradition of geography education at the university level, the curricular opportunities are nothing short of spectacular.
Many geology majors have studied in English-speaking countries known for distinctive geology (like New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, and England). Yet other majors with language expertise have ventured to places like Chile and France in order to study geology. Be adventurous!
For a list of where past and present Geology and Geography majors have studied and a summary of the courses that they took abroad, check this searchable database. Note that this is not a definitive list of what is possible and should serve only as a useful guide and planning resource.
When to Study:
It is of vital importance that students plan their schedule according to whether they intend to take any geology or geography courses while they are studying abroad. Almost no planning hurdle is insurmountable, as long as students consult with their advisor and, where necessary the department chair, to address these issues ahead of time.
As a general rule nearly all major-related elective offerings at foreign institutions for which students meet the prerequisites will be accepted for 200 or 300-level credit toward the majors. Core courses are frequently difficult ones for which to locate a match elsewhere. Therefore, a useful planning guideline is to look for courses abroad that meet the elective requirements of the major, and to take core requirements on campus.
Summer Internships and Research Abroad
A summer internship or research project abroad is a good way for students to apply and develop their skills and explore possible career paths while engaging with cultures and perspectives outside the United States.
Many funded summer research opportunities are available through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, which offers programs for undergraduate research both abroad and in the U.S. The DAAD RISE program also offers funded summer research opportunities in Germany for students in the sciences.
The Departments of Geology and Geography maintain a list of internship and other opportunities available to students. Students also have the option of developing their own summer internship or research project. Support for unpaid opportunities is available through the Universal Application Funding (UAF), which offers students access to funding from a variety of College fellowship sources to cover travel and living expenses for the duration of the project. Students with a family contribution of less than $5000 may also receive a $500 grant to apply towards their summer earnings contribution. Both the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and the Career Development Center have student evaluations of past international internships on file.