Paper No. 305-12
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM
DISCOVERY-BASED RESEARCH IN A STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCE: “NEPAL: GEOSCIENCE IN THE HIMALAYA” PROGRAM
The “Nepal: Geoscience in the Himalaya” program is a seven-week summer field education program run by SIT Study Abroad (School of International Training). It combines traditional field geology skills with investigations in geohazards and earth-human system interactions. The program culminates in two-week student-run independent research projects. To prepare for the research experience, students maintain a ideas journal throughout the preceding weeks, meet several times for project planning with instructors, and conduct a smaller group research project to gain experience in formulating a research question and collecting data independently. In a broader sense, the entire seven weeks are comprised of discovery-based learning as the students figure out how to study geoscience within a very different cultural and educational landscape. The program particularly emphasizes affordable, sustainable solutions to geohazards that are appropriate for a developing country such as Nepal—a very eye-opening approach for students from the USA. Nepal’s national university, Tribhuvan University, is a critical program collaborator. Most of the instructors are Nepali and Tribhuvan undergraduate students study alongside their USA colleagues as full participants. Although the USA students are the ones discovering how to learn and study while abroad, the Nepali students are similarly challenged in learning to live and study with Americans for weeks at time. Study aboard excursions with independent research activities are thus discovery learning within discovery learning in a way that supports better development of globally informed scientists, citizens, and leaders.