Education Abroad

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 Why Should Students Study Abroad? (.pdf) by Luke Reese and Ajit Srivastava

Renewable Bioenergy Systems in Germany and Sweden 

Offered even years.

Summer: 2 1/2 weeks (mid-May to early-June) not running in 2020
Review the 2014 blog.

2014 Renewable Biobased Energy Systems group atop Anaerobic Digester - Germany, Bauer Farm

Biobased renewable energy will play a critical role in meeting the ever-increasing global demand for energy. It is estimated that it took us 125 years to consume one trillion barrels of oil. It will take us less than 30 years to consume the next trillion barrels at the projected rate of consumption. It is vital that we develop and adapt renewable sources of energy that minimize dependence on the imported oil and reduce global warming. Sweden and Germany are among the most advanced of the developed countries in adopting energy policies that encourage the use of renewable energy. For example - over 20% of the total energy consumed in Sweden comes from biobased resources – a goal for the United States by 2020.

This program will be technical in nature and will address various forms of renewable energies and associated technologies, economics, safety, and environmental impacts. Lectures and laboratory experiences will be provided by engineering faculty. In addition, students will visit a sustainable non-fossil fuel community and several sites where renewable energy is being used.

 Course topics include:

  • Global Overview of Energy
  • Wind Energy
  • Biomass
  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Systems Approach to Renewable Energy

Students will be required to enroll for four (4) credits from the following courses:

  • BE 475 International Studies in Biosystems Engineering  4 credits
  • BE 490 Independent Study in Biosystems Engineering 4 credits
  • EGR 400 Special Problems in International Engineering 4 credits
  • ME 491* Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering 4 credits

*Only available to Mechanical Engineering majors

Sustainable Food, Environment and Social Systems in Australia 

Offered odd years.

Summer: 4 weeks -  early May - early June, 2021
Review the 2017 blog.

2015 Sustainable Food, Environment and Social Systems group at the front gate of Wirra Wirra Winery, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Captivating, breathtaking, dynamic and even harsh extremes – the land “down under” has sparked the imagination of explorers and adventurers for centuries. Now, you can experience the excitement and wonder of Australia through a four-week education abroad program.

The program runs from approximately mid-July through mid-August, featuring an interdisciplinary exploration of sustainable social, food/agriculture, and environment systems. Special emphasis is placed on studying how humans interact with their built and natural environments in sustainable ways. Site visits include farms, agribusinesses, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, museums and selected cultural and historical sites. Site visits are selected to stimulate critical thinking about and analysis of global citizenship in relation to policy, social equality, economics and environmental stewardship, etc. 

Students also have the opportunity to work with international professionals and peers in a hand-on experiential learning environment. Example site visits exploring sustainability include:

  • Sydney Olympic Park (a major recovered brownfield), 
  • the Adelaide Desalinization project (providing 50% of Adelaide’s future potable water), 
  • the Great Barrier Reef, 
  • the wet tropics rainforest, 
  • Magenetic Island National Park, and 
  • a 55,000 acre working outback cattle property. 

Multiple accommodation and transportation options are utilized to expose students to travel and cultural diversity. At the conclusion of the program, many students choose to travel to other parts of Australia, New Zealand, or Hawaii on their journey home (at their own expense).

Undergraduates will be required to enroll in a minimum of seven (7) semester credits from the following courses. Graduate students will be required to enroll in four (4) semester credits.

  • ANR 475 International Studies in Agri. and Nat. Res. 2 – 6 credits.
  • BE 475 International Studies in Biosystems Engr. 1 – 6 credits.
  • ISB 202  Appl. Envir. and Organismal Bio. 3 credits.
  • ISS 310 People and Environment 4 credits.
  • CSUS 419 International Studies in Comm. Sustainabilty 1 – 6 credits..

Students also will be required to attend six pre-departure orientations during Spring Semester 2019.

Course prerequisites may apply; see Course Descriptions (on the MSU Website) or program leader for details. A 2xx ISS course completion is required for enrollment in ISS 310.

Ecological Engineering in the Tropics Costa Rica 

Offered even years.

Summer: 2 weeks -  May 5-19, 2020
Review the 2017 blog.

2014 Ecological Engineering in the Tropic Costa Rica group enjoying traditional lunch at Coopedota Coffee Cooperative This winter-break program explores the design and performance of clean energy and water systems in the tropics. Traveling on the program will be Universidad de Costa Rica peer faculty and students. Ecological carbon, water and energy footprints for bananas, pineapple and coffee will be used to categorize and evaluate system designs for sustainable economic, environmental and social systems.  Active-learning, hands-on labs/activities will help in the understanding of design, performance, installation and system evaluation in answering questions like:

1. Is biomass energy production sustainable and viable in a topical environment where biomass is abundant?

2. What engineering principles and designs can be used to improve energy production while maintaining a carbon-neutral and clean water footprint?

3. What are the biomass, energy and water footprints for commodities grown primarily outside of the US for consumption in the US (e.g., bananas, pineapple and coffee)?

Program participants will visit cities, villages, University/research facilities, industries, non-profits, museums, national parks, agri-businesses, forests, plus select cultural and historical sites, as a means of considering these questions. Students will be exposed to situations that help foster their growth as global citizens and professionals.

Students will be required to enroll for six (4) credits from the following courses:

  • BE 475 International Studies in Biosystems Engineering 4 credits
  • BE 491 Special Topics in Biosystems Engineering 4 credits
  • EGR 400 Special Problems in International Engineering 4 credits
  • ANR 475 International Studies Agriculture and Natural Resources 4 credits