- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 2.80 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
- One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science required
In Cambodia, conservation has found its roots in community. From the ancient temples of Angkor to the floating villages of the great Tonle Sap Lake, efforts to preserve biodiversity are deeply intertwined with community livelihoods. Spend your semester in this fascinating country, learning about threats to ecosystems and natural resources, environmental governance, and the ethics of conservation and development. Traveling extensively, you will spend time in the elephant-inhabited forests of Mondulkiri, the mountain and coastal ecosystems of Kampot, the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, and at key sites along the Mekong River. In the final weeks of the semester, you’ll spend your time out in the field conducting an extensive research project.
This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Cambodia. You will practice valuable skills in the field which may include: Species identification and wildlife monitoring, conservation grant writing, research design and implementation, ecosystem health assessments, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, research presentation, and Khmer language skills.
Fall: early September - mid December
Spring: late January - early May
Refer to SFS' website for the specific dates, if available.
SFS' most urban Center lies on the outskirts of Siem Reap, near the famed temples of Angkor. Campus is a breezy, modern complex nestled in a quiet neighborhood minutes away from the bustling downtown area where you will find restaurants, shops, and markets with unique Cambodian flair.
The primary site of this program is in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The SFS Center for Conservation and Development Studies in the Lower Mekong is a private compound on a small side street, just 10 minutes by tuk tuk from downtown Siem Reap.
The Center’s amenities include:
- A large, two-story dormitory with shared bedrooms and bathrooms
- A classroom
- A student study space
- A spacious common area with a loft, couches, a TV for watching movies, a small library, and games.
- An open-air dining room and kitchen with student access
- A palm tree-lined in-ground swimming pool, a garden, and a yard that surrounds the Center for sports, fitness, or relaxing.
- There is a washing machine on site, but no dryer (only a clothesline) so you may choose to send your laundry out to have it done for you for a small fee (about $1 per 2 pounds).
- Students are responsible for all of their own laundry during the program.
- When traveling, students will still be responsible for doing laundry at their own expense.
Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation
In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Global Programs website.