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  • Locations: Bellingham, Washington, United States; Ladakh, India;
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Global Learning Faculty-led
Language of Instruction:
Fields of Study:
Culture, Ecology, Service Learning Housing Options: Other
Program Description:
WWU Global Learning Programs Program Details Instructor Cost

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Global Learning

Himalayas, India

FAIR437b (12 credits)

Culture & Ecology: Field Program in Ladakh, India

Pre-Departure dates: June 14 - 17, 2016
Travel dates: June 21 - August 1, 2016

Join Western faculty and students on this remarkable journey to Himalayas. Western Washington University in association with the Institute for Village Studies offers students an in-depth, cross-cultural educational program in the Himalaya communities of Ladakh.

Learn more about this program:

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Program Details

Ladakh, in northern India, is one of highest and most remote human habitats on earth. Located between the Himalaya range to the south and the Karakoram range to the north, it is a region beset by water scarcity, fragile ecosystems and extreme climatic variation. Ladakhis have resourcefully dealt with these harsh conditions for over a thousand years, using longstanding practices that integrate environmental knowledge with social and religious understandings. Now confronting globalization and climate change, they are grappling with how to develop in a sustainable manner. These environmental challenges represent a unique natural setting for first-hand understanding of social adaptation and sustainability.

The program, run in partnership with the Institute for Village Studies, is an intensive field course that encompasses academic studies in Himalayan culture, history, religion, sociology, and ecology, with service learning projects. A primary focus will be on how Himalaya communities respond to critical social and environmental challenges in ways that promote sustainability and wellbeing. The seven-week program includes six weeks in northern India, where we will work on our Artificial Glacier Project with Stongdey Village and assist the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust in their community-based conservation projects.  

This course is grounded in collaborative learning and ethical travel. Through an intellectually and physically rigorous schedule of activities, the experience promises to be both unique and transformative. Prior to travel, you will participate in orientation, team building, and preparatory study on ethical global citizenship. While in Ladakh, community, work, and family activities provide diverse experiences for participatory learning.  As a “seminar in motion,” the program draws on remarkable local expertise and diverse social contexts, in a dynamic itinerary that entails both carefully planned and evolving activities.  In addition to service learning projects, you will engage in on-site academic seminars, reading, writing, and reflective practice. Upon return to WWU, you will create an action project for positive social change informed by your experience in India. This 12 credit course is designed to enable students to get the most out of their international experience by developing knowledge, skills, values, and their application in an intercultural context.

*Service learning is defined as a “course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on the service activity in such as way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.” (Bringle & Hatcher, 1995).

Program highlights:

  • Spend 6 weeks in a remote region of the Western Himalayas
  • Work with the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust on community-based conservation projects
  • Support climate change adaptation through Artificial Glaciers
  • Study Tibetan and Ladakhi culture, religion and history
  • Learn about local issues of conservation, cultural survival and adaptation to a changing climate
  • Trek in the dramatic western Tibetan Plateau

Syllabus & Itinerary:
FAIR437b (12 credits) Syllabus Himalaya Cultures & Ecology Summer 2016.DOCX

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Charlie Ashbaugh is the Director of the Institute for Village Studies. He joined IVS from the field of international development and has worked on development projects in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Prior to taking over as Director, he worked with the International Center for Research on Women, where he conducted research on women’s economic empowerment.

He holds an M.A. in sustainable international development from Brandeis University and a B.A. in global studies form Western Washington University. He is also a nationally certified EMT.

Phone: (206) 300-7857

James Loucky

Phone: (360) 650-3615
Office: Arntzen Hall 322

Julie Tate-Libby

Phone: (360) 650-

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Please click the budget sheet for program cost and payment information.


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This program is currently not accepting applications.