Join us on our exploration of climate change in Vietnam, as we visit its cities, river delta, and coastal areas. Lively floating markets, quiet riverside villages and the big city of Ho Chi Minh — the Mekong Delta is the captivating backdrop for this study of climate change.

The W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, the Mansfield Center, and the Environmental Studies Department have created a unique study abroad opportunity for students to expand their knowledge and experience of climate change in natural ecosystems in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. The field-based, experiential classes focus on climate change impacts and adaptation as well as the culture, ecology, economy and history of Vietnam. The program will be led by FCFC Professor Jill Belsky and Professor Emeritus Steve Siebert and is suitable for students of all backgrounds and majors.

The program has two courses taught for both undergraduate credit at the 400-level and graduate credit at the 500-level:

ENST 427/514: Social Issues: The Mekong Delta, 3 cr.
An introduction to the history, cultures, economy and environment of Vietnam, with particular emphasis on the Mekong Delta region. This course includes a survey of:

  • The people, history and socio-economy of Vietnam
  • Historical climate, natural ecosystems and land use in the Mekong Delta
  • Ecology of large floodplain rivers
  • Human impacts on the Mekong Delta and how the Delta’s ecosystems have affected the people
  • Livelihoods of people living in the Delta
  • Past and present Vietnamese government policies related to the Mekong Delta
  • Perceptions and attitudes that local people have about their environment
  • International management of the Mekong River: Laos, Cambodia and China

ENST 437/516: Climate Change: Mekong Delta, 3 cr.
An analysis of potential threats and opportunities to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change upon the ecosystems and people of the Mekong Delta, including:

  • Potential changes in climate and sea level around the Mekong Delta
  • Ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change in the Mekong Delta
  • Economically efficient policies and strategies 
    for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change on livelihoods, conservation of the environment, protection of infrastructure and urban development
  • Contrast with North American climate change issues and policy options
  • Youth leadership and involvement with climate change education and advocacy

View a sample itinerary from the 2016/17 course (pdf)

Read more about past programs on their blog: Deep in the Delta: Stories from Vietnam

Learn more about how women, especially in poorer countries, are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: Video: Climate Change Impacts on Women in Vietnam

Registration Information

Apply before January 21, 2019 and receive a $500 early bird discount off of the program fee! The program fee with the early bird discount is $3,950. The program fee for participants who apply after January 21, 2019 is $4,450. This program fee includes lodging, transportation while in Vietnam, scheduled academic and cultural activities, field trips, emergency and international health insurance, and some meals. Participants are responsible for their own international airfare.

The program fee is in addition to UM’s standard tuition fees. The credits will be a part of your Spring 2019 tuition. If you are registered as a full-time student (12 credits for undergraduate students and 12 credits for graduate students) in Spring 2019, the six 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 up to the flat rate. Most Spring 2019 financial aid can apply to the program. No summer tuition is required for this course.

We accept students on a rolling basis beginning November 2018. The final application deadline is March 15, 2019. 

For more information and to apply online, visit the UM Global Engagement Office.

Apply Now

May 8 - 31, 2019

Application deadline:
Early bird registration - January 21

Final deadline - March 15

View a sample program itinerary (pdf)

Read more about past programs on their blog: Deep in the Delta: Stories from Vietnam