Are you interested in studying abroad? There are many opportunities for Environmental Science and Management and Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning students to study abroad. The best place to start looking for information about studying abroad is the Study Abroad website. Students in the ESM and EPAP majors have gone all over the world including countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, the Netherlands, Sweden, and South Africa, to name just a few! Some of the more popular ecology-based programs are Marine Biology & Terrestrial Ecology at the University of Queensland, Australia, Socio-Ecological Sustainability in Southern Chile at the Villarrica campus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC-Chile), and Tropical Biology and Conservation at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica.
There are several different summer abroad options in addition to regular year opportunities. Some of the more popular programs are GIS in the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Housing and Urbanism in Barcelona, Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe, and Environmental Justice in Indigenous Ecuador. You can also take some of your regular major requirements abroad over summer! Options include BIS 2A, BIS 2B, BIS 2C, STA 100, STA 103, or UWP 101.
If you are planning to study abroad your major and/or minor department will need to evaluate the courses you will potentially take to see if they can be used for your major and/or minor. For both the ESM and EPAP majors we ask that students provide us with a list of the courses that you will potentially take along with their course descriptions and your best guess at how they could fit into your major program. It is ok to be wrong about where it might fit into the major, so don't worry about that. Once that information has been compiled you will send it to your major advisor so that they can look it over and let you know which courses are most appropriate and how they can be used for the major.
Want a study abroad experience but need to stay local? We have options!
For field and natural sciences, we have the Bodega Marine Lab, which is a great place to study marine life and oceanography. The summer session 2 program fits most neatly with the ESM and EPAP majors. There are scholarships available to help defray costs including one specifically for students in the College of Ag that helps defray housing costs. Another great ecology program is the California Ecology and Conservation program through the UC Natural Reserve System. In this program, students spend 7 weeks living and studying at different UC reserves. There is also GEL 136 – Ecogeomorphology of Rivers and Streams. This course is generally offered every other year in even years. The class is a mix of grads and undergrads, covering aquatic ecology, geology, and botany. The class culminates with a rafting and camping trip at the end of spring quarter in locations such as the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and the San Juan River in Utah.
If you’re more interested in environmental policy or working in a government agency, there are two great programs at UC Davis. There is UC Center Sacramento and the UC Washington Program (also known as UCDC). Both of these programs offer opportunities to intern at a number of different environmental agencies (or non-environmental agency) and to take classes that could be applied towards your major requirements. Depending on the specifics of the internship, this could count towards the internship requirement for the ESM major.
There is also Wildlands Studies (please note that Wildlands Studies is not affiliated with UC Davis). Wildlands Studies is a field program offered through Western Washington University. They are primarily a study abroad program, but do offer options in the US, including Big Sur here in California, as well as programs in Hawaii and at Yellowstone National Park. If you are interested in participating in a non-UC program such as this, please contact the UC Davis Independent Study Abroad advisor.
Testimonials from ESM and EPAP students
Xiaoyan Zhang, Environmental Science and Management, class of 2024 - California Ecology and Conservation, Summer 2022
I took the California Ecology and Conservation course through study aboard system in Summer Quarter 2022. This program takes students to visit several reserves and gives support to learn and conduct their own research projects. It includes camping, hiking, lectures, and fieldwork. In each reserve, you learn about the special ecology of amazing California and got your own chance to explore. I joined the course with 26 other students across different UC campuses and had one of the best times in my life. We read among the deer in the woods, rest under the shooting stars and milky way, collect algae in the sea while bids flying and waves crashing, and hike all the way up along the coast to see the whales. It will be a program that you never regret. As an environmental science student, it will also bring you a taste of how field and research will be in your future path. With a great love of ecology and environment, CEC is no doubt one of the best ways to learn about California and how to conduct Science.
Benjamin Narwold, Environmental Science and Management, class of 2023 - GEL 136: Ecogeomorphology, San Juan River, Spring 2022
Participating in the Spring 2022 Ecogeomorphology course was a transformative interdisciplinary and experiential learning experience. This course was comprised of a total of 13 undergraduate and graduate students with a diversity of academic backgrounds ranging from ecology, hydrology, geology, and civil engineering. I enjoyed that the graduate students gave most of the lectures because this created a comfortable learning environment for asking questions and engaging in discussions during lectures. The interdisciplinary nature of the course made everyone feel like they were an expert on a specific topic, and we were encouraged to work together to piece together our knowledge to develop a holistic understanding of the San Juan River system. This course culminated with a week-long science rafting trip on the San Juan River. I enjoyed learning field methods in the lab and then applying them on the river to conduct cross-section and vegetation surveys and sediment, insect, and fish sampling. I would highly recommend this course for anyone who is interested in the nexus between the biological and physical sciences, engaging in a small cohort and fostering relationships with your academic peers, and applying what you have learned in your environmental science coursework in the field.
Anna Remstedt, Environmental Science and Management, class of 2021 - Monteverde Institute, Costa Rica, Fall 2019
Studying abroad in Costa Rica has been the highlight of my college experience so far! The tropical ecology program is really unique because we travelled to so many different places. We stayed at several different field stations in the rainforest, camped on an uninhabited island, and stayed with a host family while we worked on an independent research project. It was amazing to learn about tropical ecology from professors who are experts in their fields, all while actually hiking through tropical rainforest. I also learned so much from conducting my own research project and presenting my results at a symposium. It’s a really small program (about 25 students and 4 professors), so our group quickly became really close! I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to study abroad— it was such an important part of my college experience and the best way to travel!
Meghan Garfink, Environmental Science and Management, class of 2020 - Monteverde Institute, Costa Rica, Spring 2019
Going abroad was the best decision I could have made for my studies and my personal growth. My program (Tropical Conservation and Biodiversity, Monteverde, Costa Rica) was unique because it combines camping, fieldwork, independent research, cultural immersion, and lectures all in just one quarter. On the field trips, you see all of the ecological and environmental theories that you've learned about in previous college lectures, but you see them in the biodiversity hotspot of the world! The professors are all so educated and have long backgrounds in environmental science. I lived with 22 other UC students and we all felt like family by the end. At the end of the program, everyone presents their research at a research symposium and writes a final paper that has the opportunity to be published. It was the most rewarding thing in my academic career to see my research presented to the Monteverde community.
One of my favorite memories of abroad was watching the sunrise on a hammock in the Bosque Eterno de los Ninos with my friends after a five-day field trip backpacking in the rainforest. My experience abroad made me a stronger person and opened up a world of opportunities as an ecologist! I'd recommend it to anyone.
Maaike Wielenga, Environmental Science and Management, class of 2020 - Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina, Fall 2018
I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Mendoza, Argentina for Fall Quarter 2018. While taking cinema, literature, and culture classes at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, I was able to learn more about the natural wonders of Argentina by going on excursions in Argentina's beautiful landscapes. I loved hiking in the snowy peaks of the Andes, rock climbing and hiking in the local mountains above Mendoza, and exploring the gorgeous lake region of Patagonia through hikes, kayaking, biking, and boat rides. Through the homestay living arrangement I was able to really get to know Argentine culture and form close bonds with my host family. Being in another country, learning a different language, and forming international relationships has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone, contributing to my self-growth and understanding. Studying abroad in Argentina has been the highlight of my college experience, developing my world perspective and self-identity.
Casey Walker, Environmental Science and Management, class of 2019 - University of Queensland, Brisbane, Fall 2018
My semester abroad conducting research and taking international classes was the highlight of my college experience. Not only was I pursuing my passion of field research on the Great Barrier Reef and studying the similarities between the Australian Bush and California’s chaparral environment, I was also collaborating with motivated UC students and world-renowned professors. I really appreciated studying abroad with a cohort of students from all the UCs and I can say I made life long friends all over the world. Regardless of the academics, the intangible benefits of traveling abroad and experiencing new cultures are priceless. While UC Davis is a highly regarded institution, taking classes with different teachers and students adds to one's holistic learning experience. I would highly recommend the UCEAP Marine Biology and Terrestrial Ecology program and traveling the world as you do it.
Kemi Kakonge-Ruyondo, Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, class of 2019 - London School of Economics, Fall 2017
I studied abroad at the London School of Economics during my Junior year and I absolutely loved it! The hustle and bustle of London was a refreshing change from the beloved peacefulness of Davis. I took political sciences classes on British and European politics and we had a whole class that consisted of excursions-so there were a lot of opportunities to explore the city during the week. Transportation in Europe is more accessible and affordable than California and I was able to travel to several cities in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe over the weekends. As an environmentalist, I believe that understanding politics is essential to effective environmental protection and conservation and that is why I picked up a political science minor. For me, studying abroad was an opportunity to scratch my political itch, travel, AND get academic credit for it. I highly encourage all those that are able to, to study abroad during college- you will not regret it!
Juliet Vaughn, Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, class of 2019 - London School of Economics, Fall 2017
Studying abroad at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science was definitely the highlight of my college experience. Living right in the heart of the city, we were immersed into British culture and learned about the politics of the United Kingdom and the European Union. Our class was able to tour landmarks such as the United Kingdom Supreme Court and the House of Parliament. The LSE campus was wonderful and the faculty were very helpful and accommodating. Being able to connect with other Davis students in class was especially fun, because we got to experience a new place together and I am still friends with many of my classmates today. We had many opportunities to travel and see more of Europe during our quarter, and being so close to many other countries made it easy to hop over to a new place for a weekend. I would highly recommend studying abroad if you are able to so! I loved every minute of it.