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Fiji Beans

Fiji ... where variety is the spice of life!

PTRM 345: Society and Environment in Fiji – 3 credits
May 24 - June 4, 2014 (in-country dates)

DescriptionBula, and welcome to the wonderful islands of Fiji. Here you will find white-sand beaches, some of the friendliest people in the world, a stunning landscape of steamy green hills and forests, and abundant sunshine. Come explore coral reefs, spend time in traditional Fijian villages, and learn about the challenges of ecotourism, as well as the sustainable use and management of natural resources. This 3 credit course offers the chance to visit some extraordinary natural environments, and to explore the complex relationships between Fijian cultural practices, conservation of the natural environment, and eco-tourism.

Fiji MarketFiji is a dynamic culture, a mix of indigenous Fijian traditions alongside the more recent influences of British colonizers, Indian indentured laborers, and other Pacific islanders. It is one of the South Pacific’s most important economic, education, and transportation centers, but despite several centuries of outside contact and a unique ethnic mix, traditional Fijian values and customs still flourish.

This program uses the theme of sustainable development to explore the relationship between people and their natural environment. We will examine the geography, ecology, natural history, and social/political contexts of the Fijian islands. Students will use applications in cross-cultural analysis to explore the management and conservation of natural resources with a focus on issues related to human use of plant, forestry, wildlife, and/or coastal/marine resources. The impact of humans on these resources will also be emphasized, including a long term historical perspective. The course is suitable for all majors, led by University of Montana faculty, and counts towards Davidson Honors College requirements.

DescriptionOur program has some lectures from the faculty of the University of the South Pacific, followed by a 5-day field study exploring the tropical tree-fringed sandy beaches, clear pristine waters and marine reserves of the Mamanuca Islands, a white-water rafting trip in the Fijian highlands as well as visits to traditional Fijian villages, including a traditional kava ceremony. Some additional pre-departure directed reading and independent study is required.

Since several major airlines offer an inexpensive layover in Fiji on the return flight from the Asia - Pacific to the United States, this program is available as an optional extension for the University of Montana Study Abroad programs in Australia and India, as well as being available as a standalone course.

About the Instructor

Keith Bosak is an Assistant Professor of Nature-Based Tourism at the University of Montana. Dr. Bosak is trained as a geographer, specializing in human-environment interactions and more specifically, on issues of conservation and development, including sustainable development and ecotourism. He has experience conducting similar field courses in the Himalaya and Andes mountains and is passionate about working with students in an experiential setting.

Registration Information

The program cost for 2014 is $2485.00, which includes:

  • tuition for 3 upper-division credits (with out-of-state students paying the same as in-state students), and
  • a program fee (which covers accommodation at hostels and motels, cultural activities, group activities and excursions, emergency and international health insurance, in-country transportation, and most meals).

Airfare is not included, but an optional group airfare will be available from Los Angeles, as well as stopovers on flights back to the U.S. from Australia. The deadline for applications is March 1 although we recommend people apply as early as possible. Application forms can be found on this website.

Interested students with specific questions can contact our office: or Professor Bosak at

For questions about any of the Study Abroad programs in the College of Forestry and Conservation, please contact us at:

Phone: 406-243-5521 | Fax: 406-243-4845