Journey to Nepal Is Pilot for Seminar Abroad Programs

A village against a mountain backdrop in Nepal
A Seminar Abroad with travel to Nepal over winter break is part of a project to expand student opportunities for global experiences. (Courtesy photo)

Quick Summary

  • Held between quarters, at less cost, to allow participation by more students
  • Fits in with university’s Big Idea of Global Education for All
  • Nepal trip, Dec. 18-Jan. 4, maxes out at 15 students on first day of enrollment

UC Davis Study Abroad’s first journey to the Himalayan region will take place between fall and winter quarters, in a pilot project aimed at giving more students the opportunity for global experiences.

The State Department is awarding the university a $40,000 grant to develop a blueprint for more such faculty-developed programs with intersession travel — Seminars Abroad — which require less time away from campus and have lower costs for students.

Because they are scheduled between academic quarters and won’t require additional tuition, intersession programs are seen as a way to maximize participation by low-income and first-generation students; transfer students; and students whose majors entail heavy, sequential course loads.

“We are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity in the Himalayan region to our students, especially those who otherwise may have not been able to travel abroad for an extensive period,” said Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor for Global Affairs. “This innovative effort is well aligned with the Global Affairs strategic plan to help every UC Davis student build their capacity for global engagement.”

Global Education for All at UC Davis, championed by Global Affairs, is one of the 13 Big Ideas that will help drive the university’s second comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Program fills fast with 15 students

“Nepal: Community, Technology and Sustainability” reached its maximum of 15 students the day enrollment opened for fall 2017.

The program will include a four-unit fall seminar and two units of directed group study in Nepal from Dec. 18 to Jan. 4. Participants are expected to gain an appreciation of the complex geographic, historical, cultural, religious, political and environmental dimensions of Nepal; develop interdisciplinary field research skills; support hands-on, community projects; and build a foundation for further international and intercultural collaborations.

The seminar program was developed by Nancy Erbstein, assistant researcher in human ecology, academic assistant to Regulska and director of Global Education for All; Jonathan London, associate professor in human ecology and director of the Center for Regional Change; and Debbie Niemeier, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Sustainable Design Academy. Global Affairs provided a seed grant, which was matched by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

UC Davis is partnering with Hands On Institute, a Nepalese organization that designs and facilitates group learning through engagement in community development. The program also involves collaboration with faculty and students at Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University, local residents in the Machhapuchhre Village Development Committee, and other Nepalese organizations.

Zachary Frieders, director of Study Abroad, is project manager for the State Department grant. It is one of 11 Capacity Building Grants for U.S. Undergraduate Study Abroad for 2017, as announced recently by the State Department and Partners of the Americas, which connects people and organizations across borders to change lives, at the Los Angeles conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

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