Study abroad in Zambia with the University of Montana

Students 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 and Botswana using the Livingstone region of the Zambezi as a model to explore the complex interactions between natural resources, local people, NGO’s, government agencies, tourism providers, resource managers and tourists. We will focus our discussions on livelihoods, conservation, livelihood change and nature-based tourism in the context of sustainable development.

The Livingstone region is a unique area in that it is Zambia's tourist capital and enables us to begin by looking at areas of global significance that demonstrate global issues, and reduce in scale through national, regional, community, NGO and individual business scales. Zambia is endowed with numerous natural landscape features, including one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls World Heritage site. The Victoria Falls lies on the Zambezi River, which is Africa's fourth largest river and Zambia's longest. The Livingstone area also contains unique cultural sites, as well as the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park, which is one of Zambia's 20 national parks. As a result of its unique natural landscape features, Livingstone appeals to both domestic and international tourists. The livelihoods in the area are heavily reliant on tourism. Over the years, Livingstone has been experiencing rapid tourism growth. This growth has been a major driver of development in Livingstone and this poses diverse impacts for nature-based tourism and sustainability.

View the Syllabus (pdf)

If you are registered as a full-time student (12 credits for undergraduate students and 12 credits for graduate students) in the spring semester 2020, the 6 credits of this course will already be included in the flat-rate tuition. If you are not at the flat rate, you will need to pay tuition for the additional credits. No summer tuition is required for this course. 

Sample 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

Jane Kwenye is a lecturer at Copperbelt University, Zambia


Apply now to study in India 

PTRM 345 (undergrad)/PTRM 595 (grad): Sustaining Society & Natural Environment, 6 credits (pdf file)

Open to undergraduate and graduate students

Next trip May 2020

Interested students can contact Jennifer Thomsen at 

Program cost:
$2,961 + airfare (cost includes all meals, lodging and tuition)

Students in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation are eligible to apply for funding through a Franke Sustainability Fellowship.