Past Travel Courses


GEO 277S Living in the Desert: Social and Biological Adaptations to a Difficult Climate

Faculty: Jesse Minor

January, 2020


Desert environments pose a series of challenges to the organisms that inhabit them. Low annual precipitation rates and lengthy dry periods require water-conservation strategies. High temperatures and large daily swings in temperature from daytime to nighttime necessitate tactics for conserving energy. In this class, students examined strategies employed by people, plants, and animals for surviving and thriving in the challenging environment of the desert.  Site visits in and around Tuscon permitted students to explore topics such as Living Like a Cactus, Surviving the Sun, Creating a Desert Ethic, and Making Livable Communities in the Desert.


ARH 277A

Faculty: Sarah Maline

January 2020


Students on this course traveled to Kyoto and Tokyo to focus on the connections and contrasts between historical and contemporary art and culture in Japan. In Kyoto, they experienced the history, art, and architecture of traditional Japan--the shrines, temples, Zen gardens in their contemporary urban environment. From Kyoto we also explored neighboring Nara, Hiroshima and Osaka. In Tokyo, they visited the downtown of Old Edo and famous neighborhoods from electric Akihabara to Asakusa. They also saw a stunning kabuki play and visited the Studio Ghibli Museum, while eating, drinking, sleeping and absorbing Japanese culture.


POS218S/INS280 Ecotourism & Environmental Activism

Faculty: Linda Beck 

January, 2020


Ever want to go on safari? Climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Concerned about how to have that kind of adventure without "loving nature to death" or exploiting the local population? During this travel course to Tanzania, students learned how sustainable forms of tourism can be combined with environmental activism through participant observation, including a day hike on Kilimanjaro, a safari in the Serengeti, visits to Maasai and Chaga villages, and interviews with Tanzanian activists, ecotourism operators and public officials who promote sustainable forms of tourism in Tanzania.

Academic Year 2019-2020

Due to COVID-19, the following travel courses were rescheduled to May 2021: Boston: How to Build Inclusive Schools; Germany: German Political History; Iceland: Aquatic Ecosystems; Nepal: Environmental Stewardship and Healthy Communities Himalayas; and New England: Sustainable Solutions in Coastal NE.


Costa Rica

Tropical Nature: Exploring Costa Rica

ENV 130N/BIO 130N/ENG 130

Faculty: Jeff Thomson, Drew Barton

Travel Dates: January, 2019

For two weeks, students explored the astonishing diversity of many of Costa Rica's ecosystems, including rain forests, cloud forests, mangrove swamps, and beach ecosystems.  Co-taught by a biology and creative writing professor, the course emphasized natural history, field studies of ecological patterns, and tropical conservation while encouraging students to reflect upon and write about their own experiences.


Faculty: Waleck Dalpour

Travel Dates: May, 2019

Students on this course traveled to Athens and Thessaloniki. to observe, cite visitation, ecology, and academic environment. In Athens students visited Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, Acropolis Temple,Walking in the traditional center of Athens: Monastiraki, Plaka and Thio. They also had full day cruise to three islands (Aegina, Poros and Hydra). Students had also chance Visiting University of Pandion. Meeting with Professors and interacting with the students. In the Argolis area, students starts visiting Mycenae, the Homric Golden City, The Kingdom of Agamemnon as well as the Acropolis of Mycenae with the Cyclopean walls and the great Tombs of the Mycenean Kings (1400-1200 BC). In Thessaloniki.: Students visited the city site, Tempi– Meteora, the archaeological park of Dion the ancient city with the impressive archaeological findings.


Field Geology

Faculty: David Gibson

Travel Dates: May, 2019


Exploring Italy: Music, Art, Literature, and Politics

POS 262S/MUH 280A/ARH 277A/ENG 277H/INS 280

Faculty: Scott Erb, Steven Pane, Luann Yetter, Sarah Maline 

January, 2019

This course offered an interdisciplinary approach to understanding Italian culture and history.  The course began in Naples with a day trip to Pompeii, then continued on to Rome and Florence with a day trip to Venice. In each city, we talked about Italy's vast history -- the Roman Empire, the rise of the Catholic Church, the Renaissance, into modern Italy.  Students explored how art, music, literature and politics connect, weaving a tapestry over time, developing a richness that allows a deeper understanding of Italy's role in creating the cultural world of western civilization.  This included visits to museums, archeological sites, concerts, historical buildings, and important locations.   Building around both themes and cities, students developed an understanding of Italian history and culture that gives life to the past, making it relevant in the present.


Italy: Reggio Emilia Approach

ECH 477/ECH 577/INS 280

Faculty: Leigh Ann Fish, Patti Baille

Travel Dates: March 2019

This course offered undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Education participate in a program at the world-renown Reggio Emilia Center in Italy. UMF students on the course learned more about the history, identity and principles of the Reggio Emilia approach from the Center's pedagogistas and atelieristas. They visited its preschools and infant-toddler centers and spent time at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center to view current exhibitions.


Tropical Ecology 

Faculty: Nancy Prentiss, Mariella Passarelli

Travel Dates: May, 2019

Students participating in this two-week, experiential travel course explored natural ecosystems while snorkeling on Caribbean coral reefs, hiking in the high elevation rain forests and learning about plant and animal communities impacted by the building of the Panama Canal. Organisms frequently encountered included countless coral reef fish, Caribbean reef squids, sea turtles, three-toed sloths, black howler monkeys, leaf-cutter ants, caimans, wild orchids, endemic trees and many tropical birds.


Andean Explorations

ANT 225S/INS 280 

Faculty: Nicole Kellett, Luke Kellett

May, 2019

Led by two UMF Anthropology professors who have worked in Peru for decades, this course offered a comprehensive look at Andean cultures from prehistoric to historic and contemporary times. Students on this travel course explored the unique archaeology and anthropology of Peru through visits to local schools, health centers, open-air markets, museums, and a number of important sites, including Machu Picchu. For two weeks, they were immersed in contemporary Peruvian life while exploring the three major bioregions of Peru including the desert coast, highlands, and Amazon jungle.


Last Updated August 2020 University of Maine Farmington - Office of Experiential & Global Education

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