Arcadia University

Environmental Sustainability & Cultural Immersion


May 20 – June 2, 2024

We are excited to have Arcadia University return for their second year of their ‘Environmental Sustainability & Cultural Immersion’ program.

This course examines the promises and challenges of environmental sustainability from the perspective of Bali, an island in Indonesia. Sustainability is a major, global challenge for human societies. Bali is a perfect-fit to explore themes in sustainability because it is at a critical turning point in its development: trying to balance tradition and modernity, cultural sustainability and economic advancement. During the semester, we cultivate a seminar atmosphere to encourage collaborative knowledge building and use a systems-thinking approach to explore topics including: principles for sustainability; sustainability as “inclusive human well-being;” dynamics of social-environmental systems; poverty alleviation through tourism; natural resources as attractions and destinations; the challenges of linking knowledge with action; and governance for sustainable development.

During our field study, Bali is our “living classroom” where we examine the ways that individual, community, and environmental well-being are intertwined and connected to global economies and local ecologies. Exploring Bali’s challenges through interactions with the island’s NGOs provides real-world context for issues discussed in the classroom. Students have multiple learning opportunities including visiting revered Balinese temples and royal palaces, exploring sustainability in a national park, snorkeling over coral restoration sites, speaking with a member of the Balinese royal family, and visiting an organization that brings simple technologies to communities in need. This GFS combines experiential learning with reflective writing, culminating in a project where you explore podcasting or photoethnography based on your experience in the field study.