Illuminate your learning with OWU’s unique Travel-Learning Courses

Spend a semester in the classroom learning about a topic of interest and then hit the road for a related travel experience. Led by your professors, Travel-Learning Courses link academic theory with real-world experience to bring learning to life in invaluable and unforgettable ways.

Application, billing and financial aid information is at the bottom of this page.

Fall 2018

BOMI 344 – Plant Communities and Ecosystems

Instructor: Dr. Laurie Anderson
Travel Component: Utah, October 9-14, 2018

Student Cost: $700

Plant Communities and Ecosystems is an upper-level, lecture-lab course that explores the interactions between plants and their environment.

The on-campus course prioritizes understanding plant communities and ecosystem processes in Ohio, particularly the temperate deciduous forest, and includes field trips to local plant communities during lab. The optional Travel-Learning component (during mid-semester break) provides a wonderful opportunity for students to compare and contrast plant communities and plant adaptations in the temperate forest with those in the Western United States.

On this trip, we will visit the landscapes of Utah, including the red rock canyon lands in the Moab area and shrub-steppe, montane forest, subalpine forest, and alpine tundra sites near Salt Lake City, as we observe how plant communities change and adapt along an elevation gradient. The interactions among plants and landscapes, soils, local climate, ecosystem processes, and human pressures on the environment in Ohio and Utah will be compared and discussed.

Prerequisites: BIOL 122 or BOMI 233

Capabilities: Students should be in good physical condition and be prepared for extensive day hiking over uneven terrain at altitudes above 8,000 feet. Hiking boots and layered clothing are a must. Other required gear includes a wind-breaker shell jacket, comfortable day pack, water bottle, and sun protection for the skin and eyes.

Apply Online

MUS 014 – Chamber Choir/Choral Art Ensemble

Instructor: Dr. Jason Hiester
Travel Component:
Italy, January 3-15, 2019
Student Cost: $1750

Chamber Choir will spend the semester studying the music of the renaissance and baroque Italian master composers with the intention of visiting and singing at the churches, palaces, and opera houses where these composers specifically wrote and directed their music.

The travel component will take place during winter break (January 3-15). The benefits of performing in the same historical venues as the composers of the music the ensemble is performing cannot be overstated.

This experience will provide students with authentic holistic connections among the music, Italian culture, and their own personal significance in a global family that can be fully realized only by traveling to these places. We will be touring the Island of Sicily.

Capabilities: There will be moderate physical requirements: stairs, long periods of time on foot, lots of walking.

Apply Online

Spring 2019

BIOL 255 – Tropical Biology (Honors Course)

Instructors:Dr. Ramon Carreno & Dr. David Johnson
Travel Component:
Costa Rica, March 5-13, 2019
Student Cost: $1,700

This honors course examines the biodiversity and ecology of tropical ecosystems of the world, examining evolutionary processes that account for the remarkable diversity of the tropics through reading and discussion of the research literature.

The field trip to Costa Rica at Spring Break constitutes the laboratory portion of the course and includes student-designed projects. Each student prepares and presents a research report upon return to campus.

Students participating in the OWU Honors Program will receive priority for enrollment, but all interested students are encouraged to apply. You do not need to be a science major to take the course, although one previous college-level biology or geology course would enhance your understanding.

Capabilities: This course stresses both independent and collaborative student work before, during, and after the travel experience.

Fieldwork in Costa Rica may be strenuous, involving hiking, some of it at higher elevations. You must carry your own luggage and any equipment you bring for your field project. Yellow fever vaccination and anti-malaria medication are NOT required, but students should consult with a physician, travel-health service, or the Centers for Disease Control website to determine your own individual medication/immunization needs. (Is your tetanus shot up to date, for example?)

Speaking Spanish is not required, but is helpful with accomplishing many small tasks and enriches the overall experience.

Apply Online

BWS 300.8 – Comparing National Health Care Systems

Instructor: Dr. Randy Quaye
Travel Component:
England, Denmark, Netherlands, May 15-31, 2019
Student Cost: $2,300

A comparative analysis of health care systems from a number of countries, including the United States, Sweden, Great Britain, Netherlands, and Denmark. The course will apply concepts and methods to the study of health and illness. Topics will include social determinants of health; health-related behavior; the history of health and medical care; health care financing, and the rise, development, and de-professionalization of the medical profession. The course will explore the structure and function of the health care delivery system; planning, regulation and politics of cost control.  Students will travel to England, Denmark, and the Netherlands to explore the different health care structures in these countries.

Capabilities:

  1. The course is rigorous, and it is supplemented with classroom lectures, readings, examinations, and an ethnographic research paper.
  2. An off-campus exploration of these topics will be conducted as part of the course. For this reason, students must be willing to travel to England, Denmark, and the Netherlands (12-18 hours in flight) and to adhere to all protocols recommended by the instructor.
  3. Students will be housed in university hostels and/or budget-style hotels.
  4. Students must be ready to travel by bus, train, and walk for at least 2-5 miles per day, attending lectures and visiting hospitals and clinics.
  5. Students must be willing and capable of hiking for an hour or more and be able to carry a camera as they will be required to document their experiences via video or digital recording.
Apply Online

ENG 300.7 – Slouching Towards Empire: The Literary Politics of Ireland

Instructor: Dr. Nancy Comorau
Travel Component:
England, May 20 - June 4, 2019
Student Cost: $2,100

Students will travel to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, visiting the capitals Dublin and Belfast, border city Derry/Londonderry, and the Listowel Writers Week festival in County Kerry. We will see sights related to Ireland’s literary history and present and consider ways in which its literature and politics intersect.

After spending a semester reading 20th- and 21st-Century Irish literature, students will walk in the footsteps of Joyce’s Leopold Bloom, follow the paths laid out in Ciaran Carson’s Belfast, see the cramped Catholic section of Derry/Londonderry, and hear and meet writers from our syllabus.

Capabilities: Students should be able to walk moderate distances over varied terrain including with their luggage through city streets and on long walking tours. We may be able to accommodate disabled students on this trip; please contact the instructor with questions or concerns.

Apply Online

HIST 300.6 – European River History

Instructor: Dr. Ellen Arnold
Travel Component:
Europe, May 14 - May 28, 2019

Student Cost: $2,300

Ever walked along a river and wondered about where it might take you? This class, focused on the environmental history of rivers of Europe, will take you to the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Exploring the history of how people interacted with rivers and water resources, the class covers ancient, medieval, and modern history. We will look at changing uses of and ideas about rivers and connect historical questions to discussions of literature, religion, geography, computer modeling, and other STEM fields. The travel component will include river trips, tours of river museums and modern engineering facilities, and meetings with scholars and students working on both the history and future of rivers and water resources. During the semester, students will pursue independent research projects on the rivers and cities we are traveling to, and also attend the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History in Columbus.

The trip will be two weeks in Europe, and will focus on the Netherlands, and the Mosel, Rhine, and Danube Rivers. Tentative plans include visiting Amsterdam, Delft, Cologne, Koblenz, Munich, Vienna, and Budapest. Activities *may* include bicycling or kayaking, and *will* include trips on commercial boats. The travel-learning costs include all travel and transportation, all site visits, and meals, and attendance at the ASEH.

Capabilities Statement: This class will include walking tours, boat trips, and possibly bicycling and or kayaking activities. Moderate physical fitness, including the ability to comfortably walk 2 miles and climb multiple flights of stairs is recommended, though all efforts will be made to accommodate those with physical limitations. Such restrictions must be noted in the application, so that we have time to assure accommodations.

Apply Online

ZOOL 349 – Island Biology

Instructor: Dr. Shala Hankison
Travel Component:
Galapagos Islands, 15 to 28 May, 2019 

Student Cost: $4,400

As part of the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands hold a unique place in the history of biology. Not only do many zoology courses, including those at OWU, refer to organisms found only on the islands, the ongoing biological research conducted on the islands continues to shed insight into biological processes, especially as related to evolution, conservation, ecology, and behavior.

This 14-day trip will visit multiple islands in the Galapagos to discover firsthand the biodiversity, volcanic terrain, and geological history that make the island so compelling. We also will explore the mainland and visit one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet, the cloud forests of Ecuador.

Capabilities Statement: Participants should be in good health and capable of walking over rocky, uneven, and potentially slippery terrain. Some hikes may be long and/or hot.

We will live on a boat during our time in the islands, so those prone to seasickness should bring medication or consider another trip.

Participants should be comfortable spending a lot of time snorkeling and in the water. We are on the equator, so the sun is intense and participants should pack accordingly. Finally, some portions of the trip are at high altitude.

Apply Online

Application, Billing and Financial Aid

Application Process

The Application for SP/19 Travel Learning Courses will open after the Travel Learning Course Fair in September.  Students who have applied and been accepted into a course should register for it during their regular Spring Semester registration period. Accepted students should refer to their acceptance email. Students with questions should call 740-368-3075.

Billing Process

The charges for SP/19 Travel Learning Courses will be placed on the February or the March 2019 student statement/bill, depending on the course. Final student charges will be released prior to this. Travel Learning Courses cover almost all student travel costs, including air & ground transportation, accommodations, most all meals, entrance fees, etc.

Students should plan to budget for souvenirs, additional food, excess baggage, additional/optional travel, etc.  Vaccinations are not covered.  Details often vary course-to-course but are made available to students by the faculty and/or the OWU Connection Office. Students with specific questions about student billing policies and procedures (such as the TMS payment plan) and charges should contact the Bursar at 740-368-3362.

For more details on student financial responsibility for Travel Learning Courses, please go here.

Financial Aid

Endowed funds from donors cover approximately half of the cost of each individual student's travel experience. Students who need additional financial support to assist them with paying the student charge should contact the Financial Aid Office. Normally, students have access to Parent PLUS and private loans. Financial aid profiles for students vary, though, so students are encouraged to speak with their Financial Aid Counsellor.