This experiential requirement is designed to help students discover alternative ways of addressing environmental problems by developing an insider's view that can help broaden their perspectives, and better understand the views of various stakeholders in environmental problem-solving. It should enable students to acquire an awareness of how their own culture informs them about other cultures and is used subjectively to make sense of cultural differences.

Students can choose from a wide variety of experiences to satisfy this requirement, but all cultural immersion experiences must meet the following criteria:

1. It must be related to environmental studies or science.
2. It must include at least 40 hours of direct involvement with a group of people from a culture other than what the student has experienced to date. The 40 hours do not need to be continuous. In order for this to be considered an immersion, you must spend the entire time with a single culture or group. Both your culture and the one with which you plan to engage must be described in the proposal.
3. It must be a deeper, more critical cultural immersion experience than travel or observation alone. It should provide opportunities for you to evaluate situations from local people's perspectives; in other words, you should strive to be in a situation where some of your daily comforts and predictability are different or absent.  Local guides can be a great venue for cultural immersion if you are proactive in your interactions with them; if you are not proactive, you will miss the opportunity to for true immersion.

Proposal: Students must submit proposals by the deadlines listed below using the form at the bottom of this page. The committee will meet after the deadline to approve the proposals.  Examples of final proposals and proposals are located in the documents section at the bottom of this page.

Date of Experience Proposal Submission Deadline Final Product Deadline
Summer 2019 4/15/2019 9/1/2019
Fall Semester 2019 4/15/2019 1/31/2020
Winter Session 2020 10/30/2019 1/31/2020
Spring Semester 2020 10/30/2019 6/30/2020
Spring Break 2020 1/31/2020 4/15/2020
Summer 2020 4/15/2020 9/1/2020
Fall Semester 2020 4/15/2020 1/31/2021
Winter Session 2021 10/30/2020 1/31/2021
Spring Semester 2021 10/30/2021 6/30/2021
Spring Break 2021 1/31/2021 4/15/2021

Product: After your cultural immersion experience you will submit your final product by the deadline listed above. It will be a well-developed essay of 1,000-2,000 words, submitted online, that addresses one or more of the prompts:

How has your Cultural Immersion Experience: 
1. changed you as an environmental scholar or practitioner?
2. facilitated a new understanding of environmental worldviews or stakeholder values different from your own?
3. affected your approach to environmental studies or science?
4. influenced your approach to environmental decision-making?
5. reaffirmed or reframed things you learned in other courses you have taken?

Final Products must be submitted online at the following link: Cultural Immersion Final Product.

There is NO retroactive approval for proposals or products.

In the event that products are deemed unsatisfactory, the committee may recommend revision of either the product or the proposal. In order to incorporate Cultural Immersion experiences into their integrative capstone projects, seniors must have completed and approved products by mid-term of their senior year.

Cultural Immersion Example Documents

file-outline Cultural Immersion Proposal Examples - Cultural Immersion Proposal Examples.pdf (704.99 KB)
file-outline Cultural Immersion Final Product Examples - Cultural Immersion Final Product Examples.pdf (634.1 KB)