Study abroad in Zambia with the University of MontanaStudents will travel to Africa to learn about international conservation and development in national parks and wildlife areas of Zambia and Botswana. This course will cover issues of livelihoods and sustainable development in Zambia using the Livingstone Region of the Zambezi River as a model to explore the complex interactions between natural resources, local people, NGOs, government agencies, tourism providers, resource managers and tourists. We will focus our discussions on livelihoods, livelihood change and nature-based tourism in the context of sustainable development. In addition, students will engage with local communities, visit Victoria Falls World Heritage Site and Natural Wonder of the World, and spend time in iconic parks, like Chobe National Park, and engage with wildlife and managers!

After familiarizing ourselves with the unique natural landscape features, including Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site and wonder of the world, we will explore nature-based tourism and sustainability with the view of understanding opportunities and challenges amidst tourism growth. We will also visit the Chief Mukuni Village to get a feel of a traditional way of life amidst tourism growth in the Livingstone area. Students will learn through extensive readings, class discussions, field visits (including field service projects with one of the local organizations or communities), meetings with tourism stakeholders, resource conservation activists and the local people. 

Students will also visit the iconic Chobe National Park in Botswana and spend several days experiencing a safari of the major charismatic African wildlife and a unique camping experience within the park while engaging with park managers and professionals. This is a major highlight of the trip and a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

View the PTRM345X Syllabus from the 2015 class (pdf)

Tentative course schedule

May 18 Depart Missoula 
May 19 Overnight in Johannesburg, South Africa
May 20 Arrive in Livingstone Zambia. Check into the Kaazmein Lodge; Meet our Zambian cohort; Driving tour of the city.
May 21 Orientation to Livingstone Area; Livingstone Museum; Livingstone area background; Bird counts on the Zambezi River
May 22 Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.   
May 23 Mosi-a- Tunya National Park
May 24 Tour of Sekute Community Trust/ African Wildlife Foundation 
May 25 Chief Mukuni Village          
May 26 Alert Program – Walk with Lions     
May 27 Livingstone Tourism Association                                      
May 28 Panel Discussions with Community Stakeholders Heritage, ZAWA, Ministry of Tourism, James, AWF                                
May 29 Field projects                                                       
May 30   Field projects                                                       
May 31   Field projects                                                       
June 1   Close out the Livingstone Experience              
June 2   Depart for Chobe Elephant Park
June 3   National Park Safari Management    
June 4   Chobe National Park Environmental Education in an expedition context.
June 5   Return to Livingstone
June 6   Depart for Missoula via Johannesburg
June 7   Return to Missoula or beyond

About the instructors

Jennifer Thomsen is an assistant professor of Park, Recreation, and Tourism Management at UM

Wayne Freimund is professor of Parks and Protected Area Management at UM

Jane Kwenye is a professor at Copperbelt University in Zambia and former graduate student at UM

Apply now to study in India 

PTRM 345X: Sustaining Human Society & Natural Environment, 6 credits (pdf file)

Open to undergraduate and graduate students

Scholarships and financial aid available

2018 dates TBD

Interested students can contact Jennifer Thomsen at 

Program cost:
$3,965 + airfare (cost includes all meals, lodging and tuition)