Courses Abroad

The Geography Department plays an integral role in helping CCSU realize its vision of "graduating broadly educated, culturally and globally aware students who will contribute meaningfully to their communities as engaged professionals and citizens."  We provide many courses abroad for graduate and undergraduate students.  Many of these opportunities are offered through the CCSU Center for International Education.

Over the years, the Geography Department has offered courses abroad to more than 20 countries, including:


Faculty Contact: Xiaoping Shen

China – an ancient civilization, a modern multi-national society – is the destination of this program to study and understand this dynamic country with thousands of years of history. The first leg of the journey will be to Beijing, a metropolis in northern China, capital of the People’s Republic of China, and one of the four “great capitals” of China. A major transportation hub, Beijing is the political, educational, and cultural center of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing has been an integral part of China’s history for centuries. Students will visit famous sites including Tiananmen Square, located in the center of the city; the Forbidden City, the palace compound and residence of former Chinese Emperors; sections of the Great Wall; traditional middle class housing known as Hutong; and Olympic Park.

Shandong, a province located on the eastern coast of the People’s Republic of China with which the State of Connecticut has a Sister-State relationship, is a pivotal cultural and religious site of Taosim, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucian- ism. In Shandong, China’s second most populous province with a rich heritage and modern dynamic economy, students will visit Jinan City, its capital, Mt. Tai, the most revered mountain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius, the world-renowned philosopher whose influence on Chinese and East Asian culture and society continues today. Shandong Normal University, our host and partner university will organize other activities including visits to farms and factories. Students will also learn about economic development and environmental issues in China today.

Costa Rica

Faculty Contact: Charles Button

To see the course blog on the internet, go to:

In this course, students experienced firsthand the biodiversity in Costa Rica’s rainforests and how they relate to human welfare. Tropical conservation initiatives will be part of the discussions as well as meeting the activists behind them. They observed rare and endangered ecosystems such as the cloud forest, rain forest, coast beach ecosystems and volcanos, through excursions to Braulio and Irazu Volcano National park. In addition, the group visited private reserves spanning diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They visited a grassroots conservation effort to reforest the rainforest, and were provided insight as to how mobilizing conservation efforts with a shoe-string is accomplished and how environmentalism can foster social and environmental benefits and at the same time encourage sustainable economic sustenance. Rounding out the trip, students took hikes along the Caribbean Sea, visited a Sea Turtle Nest site, while exploring the bounty of color and life on the beach and in the forest along the way.

Nowhere else in the world are so many types of habitats squeezed into such a tiny section of land. The range of habitats in Costa Rica, a consequence of its unique geography, creates an incredibly rich diversity of flora and fauna – in fact, no other country on the planet has such variety. Measured in terms of number of species per 10,000 square kilometer, Costa Rica tops the list of countries at 615 species all waiting to be studied. This simple fact alone (not to mention the ease of travel and friendly residents!) makes Costa Rica the premier destination for nature lovers from all over the world. Along with its diverse geography, the large number of species in Costa Rica is also due to the relatively recent appearance of the country. Roughly three million years ago Costa Rica rose from the ocean and formed a land bridge between North and South America and “doubled” the number species as a result! 

The student were fortunate to be immersed in this biodiverse wonder.


Faculty Contact: Cynthia Pope

Images of the Caribbean often include tropical beaches, crystal clear water, and lux- ury resorts. However, Cuba stands in stark contrast as an island that has remained a mystery to most U.S. citizens for more than half a century. This course is designed to explore in depth how geography, history, and political economy have shaped the present-day cultural landscapes of Cuba. While Cuba has been shunned by the United States since 1959, the U.S. recently reopened travel rights for U.S. scholars and exchange groups, and CCSU students will see first-hand how the nation is integrating elements from socialist and capitalist economic strategies.

This class will use a geographic perspective to analyze the development strategies that Cuba has pursued. Specifically, we will look at how the planned economic sys- tems promoted by the government have impacted the cultural landscape. We will be focusing on the changing roles of women, sustainable development opportuni- ties, traditional tourism and eco-tourism, and politics. One of the unique features of this course is that this group will have the opportunity to speak with a variety of Cubans, from government officials to censored authors. Included, for example is an opportunity to speak with one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2008.

European Union

Faculty Contact: Richard Benfield

The European Union is now over fifty years old and yet events, changes, and adjustments are still part of our daily news; financial austerity in Greece, recession in Ireland, questions about the role and tactics of the British media, and the role of the military are all part of the European Union today and impacts our lives here in the USA. Europe also impacts our cultural life, enriching and informing American cultural norms.

This course consisted of a one-week classroom orientation to the European Union before the group embarked upon an eight-day field excursion to London, England where students experienced first-hand the historical development, the effects on membership in he European Union, and the cultural characteristics of the United Kingdom. Excursions outside of London city limits included Stonehenge, Bath, Stratford, and Warwick Castle. While in London students explored the city on foot by day and in the evening went to the theatre to see the best of what London’s West End theatre had to offer, including The 39 Steps and War Horse.


Faculty Contact: Peter Kyem

Africa, the second largest continent in the world, is a very diverse continent. The diversity is not only evident in the continent’s physical geography but also, in its plurality of cultures, traditions, beliefs and artistic expressions; and its diverse social and political structures and practices. Long interaction with the outside world has facilitated many African contributions to the world in terms of agricultural products, minerals and other material goods, as well as knowledge and cultural expressions. American culture in particular, has been enriched by African culture and music, and yet the continent’s rich history is hardly covered in the media. The course has been designed to expose students to many aspects of African culture through a study of one of Africa’s beautiful countries, Ghana.

The program will provide an intensive guided experience that will allow students to learn about Ghanaian history, economics and culture, including politics, contemporary life and the role of women in the Ghanaian society. Through lectures, interaction with the people in their homes and places of work, and visits to important sites, students will be guided to experience the Ghanaian life and confront some of the stereotypes and misrepresentations of Africa, broaden their outlook on life and learn to be tolerant of other cultures. This course explores the dynamics of Ghanaian culture prior to colonial- ism and after independence. As a historical site of the Malian Empire that includes diverse cultures such as the Ashanti and Ewe that predate colonial expansion, Ghana offers students a varying range of opportunities to study cultural practices. By examining communi- ties, education, history, religion, economics and arts through various periods, students will be able to appreciate the cultural continuities that are practiced by Ghanaians.


Faculty Contact: Charles Button


South Korea

Faculty Contact: Charles Button

Through a long-standing partnership program between CCSU and Kyung Hee University, CCSU students are eligible to apply to direct-enroll in Kyung Hee’s internationally acclaimed summer program in Global Sustainable Develop- ment Toward a Green Planet, held on its Global Campus in Suwon. Taught by a team of internationally-recognized faculty, this program offers a wide range of 3-credit courses centered on sustainability. All courses are taught in English. Join students from around the world in this dynamic aca- demic program based in the fast-developing host country, South Korea.


email page print page small type large type large type
powered by finalsite