Montana State University

MSU offers summer study abroad programs across the globe

January 24, 2012

MSU offers a variety of summer study abroad programs this summer, including a a five week program in the Berber villages of Morocco's Atlas Mountains. MSU graduate Cloe Erickson, director of the Atlas Cultural Foundation, helps lead the program, which involves service-learning projects and ancient building restoration. Photo by Kris Erickson, used with permission.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
If learning Spanish in Costa Rica, sailing the Aegean Sea or restoring buildings in Morocco's Atlas Mountains sound like an appealing way to spend a summer, Montana State University's Office of International Programs has plans for you.

MSU International Programs offers a broad slate of international cultural experiences, according to Kevin Brustuen, coordinator of MSU's Summer Study Abroad Programs. All of the programs are faculty-led and offer course credit as well as cultural immersion. Some also involve a public service project. The programs are open to all MSU students. Community members may participate by enrolling as non-degree seeking students for a small fee.

"All the programs give participants the experience of traveling in a new culture with an expert who can explain and interpret what you're seeing and experiencing, as well as linking you with local people so you can truly experience the local culture," Brustuen said.

Service-learning options include building straw bale houses for Kenyans, teaching hygiene to Berber villagers high in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, or learning to make wine on a farm in Greece. Other programs provide an opportunity to learn a foreign language (Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic).

"And other programs will help you better understand a country," he said. "Such as why is China a growing tiger while Greece is searching for a future? "

This summer's offerings include:

*China: MSU offers two programs in China.

The first is led by Jian-Yi Liu, MSU professor of geography, from May 7-24, focusing on Chinese history, culture, economy and development. Cost is $3,700 for six credits and visits to the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall.

The second is a language and culture-based course led by Hua Li, MSU professor of Chinese, at East China Normal University in Shanghai. Side trips include visits to the great Wall, the Forbidden City, Yu Garden and the Water Village Zhuliajao. Dates are May 12-June 10, cost is $2,900, including seven credits.

*Costa Rica: Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica hosts a program from May 27-June 29 that focuses on Spanish language study, medical Spanish, social health care systems and Costa Rican culture. Home stays are available. Costs are $3,450, including six credits.

*Greece: This course is based at Perrotis College and the American Farm in Thessaloniki from June 17- July 27. Courses are offered in the areas of agriculture, business, history, culture, and environmental studies. Optional additions include home stays, service learning projects, including work with vineyards and olive orchards and a four-day sailing trip across the Aegean Sea. Costs are $4,795 for six to nine credits.

*Japan: Peter Tillack, professor of Japanese in the MSU Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, will accompany this group studying at Ritsumeiken University in Kyoto. The course focuses on developing language skills as well as cultural trips to some of the 14 World Heritage sites in Kyoto. The course runs from May 22-June 22. Program cost is $3,624, including seven credits.

*Kenya: Against the backdrop of a global housing crisis, MSU architecture professor David Fortin leads a program that focuses on approaches to resolving those problems including the solution of building straw bale houses using local products and labor in rural Kenya. Beginning June 22, the program includes four days to learning straw bale construction in Lame Deer and travel to Nanyuki, Kenya, where the course continues until Aug. 2. Cost for this program is $4975, including six credits.

*Morocco: Led by Bill Rea and Genevieve Chabot, MSU instructors, as well as MSU graduate Cloe Erickson, director of the Atlas Cultural Foundation, the MSU Morocco program involves service-learning projects and ancient building restoration in Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Students will work in the areas of cultural preservation, community education and rural health. The program will be held from May 10-June 14, with a cost of $4,900, including six to nine credits.

*Egypt: Students interested in studying beginning or intermediate Arabic may participate in a study abroad course at Egypt's Alexandria Centre for Languages May 14-July 2. Cost for the eight-week, eight-credit program is $3,850. Applications are available by contacting MSU's Yvonne Rudman at, 994-4032.

*Mongolia: Cliff Montagne, MSU professor of land resources and environmental science, partnering with MSU BioRegions (, will lead a course in Mongolia from May 25-June 27. The courses works with Mongolian collaborators to share knowledge to improve environment, education, health, and use of traditional knowledge and skills in Mongolia and Montana. At this time, costs and credits received have not been determined.

To learn more about MSU study abroad summer programs, go to, or contact Brustuen at

Kevin Brustuen (406) 994-7512,