Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a large reserve in south-central Tanzania, about 200 miles west of the major coastal city of Dar es Salaam. The park lies in the Eastern Arc Mountains, a mountain range called the Galapagos Islands of Africa because of its remarkably high biological diversity. In addition to mammals such as elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and hippopotamuses, Udzungwa Mountains National Park hosts more than 2,500 plant and 400 bird species. Adjacent to the park are villages whose residents struggle daily to meet their needs, and who often see protected areas as restricting access to much needed resources. Thus, the park faces the critical challenge of conserving nature alongside a severely stressed human population.
The Penn State Study Abroad Program at Udzungwa Mountains National Park focuses on local communities in the vicinity of the park. With the park to their west and commercial agricultural fields to their east, these villages have limited access to land and other resources necessary to meet basic needs for survival. The program focuses on these communities in an attempt to understand 1) existing activity patterns, 2) current needs, and 3) community planning strategies that successfully integrate conservation with development to meet these needs. Led by faculty conducting research in and around the park, the program also involves partners from Tanzanian universities, Tanzanian government agencies, other universities, and international non-government organizations to expose students to the highest levels of interdisciplinary expertise.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State
This is a 9-credit, faculty-led service-learning program based at the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre adjacent to Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania. The program focuses on a major challenge of biodiversity conservation in the 21st century: maintaining biological diversity and the essential services provided by functioning ecosystems in a world increasingly dominated by humans. As people grow in number and place greater demands on the earth's resources, human impacts increasingly threaten nature and natural systems. The main solution remains protected areas. However, reserves increasingly exist as isolated islands of nature amid a sea of human development, with resource extraction often affecting the protected areas themselves.
On this program, students gain hands-on experience in the study of landscape design and land use planning to help guide human behavior in a manner compatible with conservation. Fields trips into the National Park to observe and document plant and wildlife also occur, as do visits to various development projects near the park. Because of this breadth of experience, students from a variety of majors at Penn State (Landscape Architecture; Architecture; Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management; Geography; Anthropology; Community, Environment, and Development; Biology; etc.) will benefit from participation in this program. Courses are led by faculty in the Landscape Architecture and Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management departments at Penn State, with collaboration from researchers at the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre.
Please note that students from all disciplines are welcome on the program, as course projects can be tailored to fit academic interests and community needs. While on the program, students will be enrolled in the following courses:
LARCH / RPTM 499.4: Seminar: People and Protected Areas (3 credits) LARCH / RPTM 499.5: Studio: Community Design in the Vicinity of Udzungwa Mountains National Park (5 credits) LARCH / RPTM 499.6: Colloquium: The Contribution of Service-Learning to Students and Community (1 credit)
(Students should note that the actual course numbers may change.)
Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program leader.
Housing and Meals
Dormitory style housing. The Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre has a twenty-four-person dormitory with power, water and internet access.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Summer budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully. Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit theFunding Study Abroadsection of the Global Penn State website.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
Education Abroad Questionnaire
One academic recommendation
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.