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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
The College of Forestry & Conservation, the Mansfield Center, the Climate Change Studies Program, and the Environmental Studies Department have created a unique study abroad opportunity for students to expand their knowledge and experience of climate change in natural ecosystems in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. The field-based, experiential classes focus on climate change issues as well as the culture, ecology, economy, and history of Vietnam. The program will be led by Society and Conservation Professor Dr. Jill Belsky and Forestry Professor Emeritus Dr. Steve Siebert.

Students earn 6 upper-division credits. The program has two courses taught for both undergraduate credit at the 400-level and graduate credit at the 500-level.

Housing and Meals
Program fee covers accommodation at hostels and motels and some meals.

Cost Information
The program cost is $4,450.00
  • Early Bird Special Extension: Apply by January 21, and receive a $500 discount! Pay only $3950.00!
  • This is the program fee, which covers accommodation in Vietnam, group activities and excursions, emergency and international health insurance, in-country transportation, and some meals.
  • Airfare not included.
  • The program fee is in addition to your UM tuition for 6 credits. If you are registered as a full-time student (12 credits for undergraduate students and 12 for graduate students) in Spring 2019, the 6 credits of this course will already be included in the flat-rate tuition. If you are not at the flat rate, you will need to pay tuition for the additional credits up to the flat rate. No summer tuition is required for this course.
  • Most Spring financial aid can apply to the program.

Credit Transfer
The program has two courses taught for both undergraduate credit at the 400-level and graduate credit at the 500-level:

ENST 427/514: Social Issues: The Mekong Delta 3 cr.
An introduction to the history, cultures, economy and environment of Vietnam, with particular emphasis on the Mekong Delta region. This course includes a survey of:
  • The people, history and socio-economy of Vietnam
  • Historical climate, natural ecosystems and land use in the Mekong Delta
  • Ecology of large floodplain rivers
  • Human impacts on the Mekong Delta and how the Delta’s ecosystems have affected the people
  • Livelihoods of people living in the Delta
  • Past and present Vietnamese government policies related to the Mekong Delta
  • Perceptions and attitudes that local people have about their environment
  • International management of the Mekong River: Laos, Cambodia and China
ENST 437/516: Climate change: Mekong Delta 3 cr.
An analysis of potential threats and opportunities to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change upon the ecosystems and people of the Mekong Delta, including:
  • Potential changes in climate and sea level around the Mekong Delta
  • Ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change in the Mekong Delta
  • Economically efficient policies and strategies for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change on livelihoods, conservation of the environment, protection of infrastructure and urban development
  • Contrast with North American climate change issues and policy options
  • Youth leadership and involvement with climate change education and advocacy
Note: Credits are not registered for through Cyberbear. If you are accepted into the program, you will register for the course credits during a pre-departure orientation session.
Program Dates
May 8 – May 31, 2019

Please Note: Program dates are departure dates. To attend the Vietnam program, you must depart the U.S. on May 8 (at the latest) for the first day of activities on May 10 in Ho Chi Minh City. The program ends in Ho Chi Minh City on May 31, with return flights leaving late May 30 or 31.

Application Deadline 
Early Bird: January 21, 2019
Final Deadline: March 15, 2019

Passport Submission 
You are required to submit your passport by April 1, 2019. We will apply for visas as a group and it will require your physical passport. Your passport must be good for six months longer than the program date, through December 1, 2019.

Fast Facts
  • Expand your knowledge and experience of climate change in natural ecosystems in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.
  • Enjoy field-based, experiential classes with a focus on climate change impacts and adaptation as well as the culture, ecology, economy and history of Vietnam.
  • Suitable for students of all backgrounds and majors.

About the Instructors

Dr. Jill Belsky was formally trained as a rural and environmental sociologist. Her teaching, research, and public outreach has focused on interactions between social and ecological systems at multiple scales, and their implications for sustainable/resilient development and natural resource management in rural areas, internationally and in the U.S. West. She has conducted long-term international projects in the Philippines, Indonesia, Belize, and Bhutan to establish or improve rural livelihoods and participatory governance of natural resources involving sustainable hillside agriculture, rural ecotourism, and community-owned and/or managed forests. All of her work draws heavily on participatory, interdisciplinary, and political ecological approaches (i.e., the latter is explicitly concerned about the politics of race, class, gender, and indigenous people in addressing rural and environmental change and development).

Dr. Steve Siebert is Professor Emeritus of Tropical Forest Conservation & Management. His interests address the ecology and management of traditional land use and effects that changes in historic social-ecological systems have on ecosystem composition, structure and function. He has conducted long-term studies in Bhutan, Indonesia, Philippines, Belize and Greece. He was on the faculty of the College of Forestry and Conservation from 1990-2017, where he taught courses in International Conservation and Development, International Environmental Change, Social Forestry, and Field Courses in Tropical Conservation and Management, and established and directed the M.S. degree option in International Conservation and Development. He continues investigations of changes in traditional land use systems and assist with international academic institution and faculty development efforts.

Drs. Belsky and Siebert have collaborated together for over 40 years as students, co-teachers, co-researchers and co-parents of now 30-year-old Max. They have led numerous field courses together in Belize, Malaysia, and Fiji.

Contact Information

For questions about the Climate Change in Vietnam program, please contact the program coordinator, Caitlin Sager, at or (406) 243-2965.

Vietnam at a Glance


93,421,835 (July 2014 est.)

Tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March)

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, as well as China, Laos, and Cambodia

Student blog about their experiences: Deep in the Delta: Stories from Vietnam

Learn more about how women, especially in poorer countries, are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: Video: Climate Change Impacts on Women in Vietnam

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.