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  • Locations: Lelu, Micronesia
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
  • Budget Sheets: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:

Oceanography Micronesia
QUICK FACTS
Location Lelu, Micronesia
Academic Term Early Fall 2018
August 31- September 23, 2018
Estimated Program Fee $5,550
Credits 5 UW credits
Prerequisites N/A
Program Directors Julian Sachs, jsachs@uw.edu; Susan Burke
Program Manager Katherine Kroeger | studyabroad@uw.edu
Priority Application Deadline February 15, 2018
Extended Application Deadline March 15, 2018
Information Sessions TBD. Contact Program Director for more information.
HIGHLIGHTS
General In this field-based Exploration Seminar in Kosrae, Micronesia students will conduct rapid ecological assessments of coral, mangrove and seagrass habitats to gain an understanding of how development and climate change are impacting the largely pristine coastal ecosystems of this remote island.
 

Program Description

Kosrae is the eastern-most island in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the expansive Caroline Island chain of the western tropical North Pacific Ocean. It is unique among Micronesian Islands in that it is a solitary island surrounded by a coral reef rather than being amongst a group of small islands. Also unlike much of the FSM and the neighboring Marshall and Gilbert Islands, Kosrae is essentially pristine. With a population of just over 7,000 people, very little in the way of tourism or industry, and a strong sense of conservation, most of its 42 square miles of lush mountainous terrain remains undisturbed and stunningly beautiful. Coupled with the fact that the steep mountain terrain and dense vegetation that characterize most of the island act as a barrier to development, Kosrae remains what one prominent travel website describes as “a sleepy backwater paradise for active travelers who enjoy tramping through rainforests, paddling through mangroves, or snorkeling coral reefs” (http://www.janeresture.com/fedmic/index.htm). At the same time, the people of Kosrae are gracious and hospitable, while remaining closely connected to their cultural heritage and traditions.

Students will apply basic principles of biology, chemistry, physics, and geology to develop an understanding of the coral, mangrove, and seagrass ecosystems surrounding Kosrae, and the threats to these ecosystems from coastal development and climate change. Kosrae’s coral reef and mangrove ecosystems are among the healthiest and most magnificent on the planet and students will learn about the conservation efforts underway to ensure they remain intact. A study of Kosraean culture is central to understanding how the island’s natural resources are being preserved, and a wide variety of cultural activities will be woven into the course involving food, crafts, music, and the Liberation Day festivities, a week-long celebration of the liberation from Japanese rule after World War 2.

Throughout the field components of the course, our students will conduct a number of rapid ecological assessments of impacted and pristine coral, mangrove and seagrass systems that will be shared with organizations involved in local conservation efforts. We have longstanding relationships with these organizations going back to 2009, including the Kosrae Island Resource Management Agency (KIRMA), the government agency responsible for the local environment and natural resources, and Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization (KCSO), a local NGO.

As a capstone project for the class, students will conduct a day-long workshop on mangroves, oceans and climate for local Kosraean elementary and middle school teachers. During this workshop, students will share science and conservation principles that they learned during the class with the teachers, and work with them to produce grade-appropriate posters and lesson plans that they can take back to their classrooms.

Although this course will be rooted in the natural sciences, a primary focus will be the intersection of the natural world and human societies. As such, we will investigate the aspects of Kosrae’s history and culture that have allowed it to remain relatively pristine and undeveloped, as well as the challenges faced by those working to preserve the island’s natural resources in the face of growing economic and development pressures.

As a small island state, Kosrae is already beginning to be affected by impacts of global climate change, particularly rising sea-levels that are eroding the narrow coastal fringe on which most Kosraeans live. These impacts will worsen in the coming years and decades. By studying in Kosrae, students can see first-hand the effects of climate change and how it is impacting remote island nations where local populations had little hand in creating the problem.

Most days of our program will feature a field-based activity, where students are in the environment they are studying and gaining first-hand knowledge of the threats to that environment from development and climate change, as well as assessing the effectiveness of local efforts to mitigate these threats. Frequently we will be joined in the field by a local expert, such as Erick Waguk, the state forester at KIRMA, and Carlos Cianchini, a marine biologist who works with KCSO. Other guests may include William William (the director of YELA, another conservation minded NGO), Osamu Nedlic (a coral reef specialist at KCSO), Katrina Adams (a founder of KCSO and the local organizer of coral monitoring programs), Martin Selch (the manager of the National Aquaculture Center), and others.

We will stay at the Pacific Treelodge Resort, which will provide our meals. Guests at some meals will provide students a chance to have more informal interactions with Kosraeans. They may include individuals from KIRMA, KCSO, the Peace Corps, and World Teach.

 

LOCATION

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Lelu, Micronesia

Housing

We will stay at the Pacific Treelodge Resort, one of only two lodging establishments on the island. The hotel has all the basic amenities of a hotel in the United States..

ACADEMICS

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Prerequisites and Language Requirements

There will be several field excursions that involve walking through swamps for 4-6 hours with a break for lunch. Students will be expected to be active in temperatures that are over 85 degrees F in a tropical rainforest climate. Students must be proficient swimmers, and comfortable in the water for 60 or more minutes at a time wearing mask, snorkel and fins.

Credits

5 UW Credits

Courses

OCEAN 496: Coastal Ecosystems of Micronesia in a Changing Climate ( 5 Credits)

Students will apply basic principles of biology, chemistry, physics, and geology to develop an understanding of the coral, mangrove, and seagrass ecosystems surrounding Kosrae, and the threats to these ecosystems from coastal development and climate change. Kosrae’s coral reef and mangrove ecosystems are among the healthiest and most magnificent on the planet and students will learn about the conservation efforts underway to keep them intact. Although this course will be rooted in the natural sciences, a study of Kosraean culture is central to understanding how Kosrae’s coastal ecosystems are impacted by development in some places, and preserved and others. Thus a variety of cultural activities will be woven into the course involving food, crafts, music, and the Liberation Day festivities, a week-long celebration of the liberation from Japanese rule after World War 2.

As a small island state, Kosrae is already beginning to be affected by impacts of global climate change, particularly rising sea-levels that are eroding the narrow coastal fringe on which most Kosraeans live. These impacts will worsen in the coming years and decades. By studying in Kosrae, students can see first-hand the effects of climate change and how it is impacting remote island nations where local populations had little hand in creating the problem.

Most days will feature a field-based activity, where students are in the environment they are studying and gaining first-hand knowledge of the threats to that environment from development and climate change, as well as assessing the effectiveness of local efforts to mitigate these threats. Throughout the field components of the course, students will conduct rapid ecological assessments of impacted and pristine coral, mangrove and seagrass systems that will be shared with organizations involved in local conservation efforts. As a capstone project for the class, students will conduct a workshop on mangroves, oceans and climate for Kosraean elementary and middle school teachers, working with them to produce grade-appropriate posters and lesson plans.

Learning goals include:
Students will be expected to develop critical thinking skills through the application of the scientific method in the context of the integrated ecosystems found on Kosrae (mangroves, coral, and seagrass) and how they are being impacted by coastal development and global climate change. These objectives will be assessed through three field reports, Catalyst questions and Exit Slips, a climate change workshop for Kosraean school teachers, a final paper due two weeks after the class ends, and active participation in all field and classroom activities.
NW/I&S

PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

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Julian Sachs, Department of Oceanography, Program Director

A Professor of Oceanography, Julian studies the mechanisms that cause tropical climate to change on timescales ranging from decades to millennia. To do this, he and his lab group spend lots of time on remote islands in the tropical Pacific, collecting sediment cores from lakes, lagoons and swamps. Once back in the lab they analyze molecular fossils in the sediment, and their hydrogen and carbon isotopic ratios, to reconstruct rainfall variations. From these records of climate in the pre-industrial era we can determine when, and by how much, the modern climate is outside the range of natural variability. Julian has a passion for engaging students in experiential learning and has taught a variant of this Exploration Seminar in Micronesia five times previously.
jsachs@uw.edu

Susan Burke, Department of Oceanography, Program Co-Director

Susan is an Oceanography PhD student studying the role of microbes in oxygen minimum zones. She grew up in Seattle before attending Occidental College in Los Angeles for her undergraduate education, where she studied cellular and molecular biology. She loves marine life, boating, scuba diving, and snorkeling. She is excited to travel to Kosrae this summer to teach (and learn) some amazing marine ecology!
sburke3@uw.edu

FINANCES

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Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $5,550

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1,938)
  • Food (about $23/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money


Payment Due Date: October 13, 2018

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans.  To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.

Scholarships

  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Here are some ways to find additional support:

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at goglobal@uw.edu to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.

APPLICATION CONSIDERATIONS

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Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.

Orientation

To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Visas

UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting: https://www.state.gov/s/cpr/32122.htm.

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at disability.uw.edu.

Withdrawals

$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.

Additional Info

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