“I can say without a doubt that Round River was the best program I could have chosen, as I continue to reap benefits from my experience to this day.”
– Tripp Burwell, Middlebury College, Namibia Program 2007
Round River study abroad programs in Africa, North and South America are field-based experiences that offer small groups of students the opportunities to contribute to and learn from participating in wildlife conservation efforts in big, wild landscapes. While earning college credit, students from diverse backgrounds study and immerse themselves in the ecology and culture of unique wild landscapes. Round River is dedicated to conservation strategies that preserve and restore wild places; to that end, we strive to develop and support traditions that sustain wildness. These efforts are anchored in the principles of conservation biology, supported by field research and community planning. Round River is entrenched in these places, and dedicated to fulfilling obligations to our local partners. While on a study abroad program, students become part of this effort, working alongside our local partners with Round River researchers and instructors.
What you can expect to experience on a Round River program:
Working With Local People
We understand that people living in the areas we work are the long-term stewards of that landscape. Round River forms partnerships with local people and organizations in order to provide scientific expertise and help form conservation strategies that work in accordance with that community’s environmental values. As a student you will work and interact with these people, and not only get first hand experience with their culture, but also be exposed to the complexities of achieving conservation objectives in communities with diverse needs and interests.
Ultimately, these programs are about getting your hands dirty, and offering you the satisfaction of knowing that the projects you are working on are contributing to actual conservation initiatives. You will gain field skills and learn how to design research studies. Round River feels that it is essential that anyone interested in conservation and the environment, whether in science or the Humanities, get out and walk on the land. We strive to attract students from all backgrounds from Biology to English majors.
On our semester programs you will take 5 courses and receive 15 semester hours of college credit, which is accredited through Utah State University. The summer program offers 3 courses for 9 semester hours of credit. Lectures are offered by our instructors and researchers or local experts, and are as likely to take place around the campfire in the evening as at one of the research stations. During the program you will work with other participants, instructors, and researchers to ultimately compile and analyze the data you have collected, produce a scientific, written report, and present your findings to our local partner.
Why Round River is Different
Round River is more than just an outdoor classroom, and students quickly realize they are part of something dynamic. People may come with the simple expectation that they will be better prepared for graduate school by doing fieldwork, and after walking and working in a place like the deserts of Namibia find the inspiration for what they want their education and lives to be. Some of our students have participated in similar programs, and offer that being part of a group that is only 5 to 8 people allowed them to see more, do more, and know that their input was needed and appreciated. Some of our students come back to do two or even all three of our programs. They revel in the flexibility to explore opportunities such as spending the day at a Tlingit grave house recording the oral history of a Taku River Tlingit elder or documenting feeding habits of rare Golden-plumed parakeets in the cloud forest canopy of Ecuador.