Student group photo in front of hills

Global Experience

At Furman, we understand that field and research experiences are vital to your education. As such, we offer numerous field and travel opportunities from individual labs in our introductory courses, to weekend field trips in our upper-level courses, to three-week experiences in May and whole semester abroad opportunities for our majors.

Our introductory and upper-level classes take local and regional field trips to the mountains, caves, swamps, and coast surrounding our community. We offer domestic May Experience trips to the Sierra Nevadas, the Southern Appalachians, and the national parks as well as international travel experiences to Iceland, Tanzania, and Guatemala. Many of our majors also partake in semester programs through other departments including the India program through the Asian Studies Department, the Brussels program through Political Science, and various Biology Department travel programs.

If you are interested in any of these programs, begin your application at the Office of Study Away and International Education.

May Experience Programs

Our May Experience travel courses provide students with focused opportunities to explore new places and apply the concepts learned in classes to real world settings. These three-week programs are co-led by our faculty and are open to both interested majors and non-majors.

Domestic Programs

The Appalachian Mountain Experience (2009)

A three week interactive camping trip up the Appalachians starting from Virginia and ending at the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. The trip includes among other things, a study of mountain top removal and its impacts, the geology and geomorphology of American civil war sites in Gettysburg, and an exploration of how rocks provide clues as to the origin of the Appalachian Mountains.

Exploring the Sierra Nevadas (2012)

A three week, interdisciplinary field study of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that focuses on geology, ecology, conservation, the work and writings of John Muir, wilderness education and medicine, and human modification of the environment. Students hike sections of the John Muir trail.

Experiencing the Rocky Mountains - South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana (2014)

A three week camping excursion that looks at the geology, ecology, and land evolution of the Rocky Mountains. The trip includes field visits to the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, Yellowstone National park, the Black Hills, and the Grand Tetons.

Fly Fishing and River Conservation (2014-15)

A three week introduction to fly fishing. The course includes instruction on basic fly casting and tying techniques, field trips to local rivers to fish, and discussion on river conservation, stream evolution, fish identification and habitat, and watershed hydrology.

Geology and Astronomy in Southwester U.S. (2015)

A three week camping excursion to the southwestern U.S. that looks at the interrelationships among regional geology, planetology, and celestial observations at field sites in New Mexico and Arizona.

International Programs

Iceland May Experience (2010, 2012)

Iceland is a classic region to see geological phenomena happening first hand and to study environmental issues facing inhabitants living and thriving in a harsh climate. Iceland lies on an active rift between two diverging plates. Spectacular volcanic and glacial settings provide opportunities to see geologic processes in action and their effects. The result is an unforgettable learning experience for students. Discoveries can be made concerning plate tectonics, geologic history, and their relationships to key environmental and sustainability issues involving, for example, the fishing industry, sheep farming, hothouse agriculture, and utilization of geothermal energy sources.

Tanzania May Experience (2013)

From the Serengeti grasslands to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Zanzibar Island, Tanzania is a land of geological wonders. The Tanzania May Experience in this rich Eastern Africa country brings together many subjects and disciplines, including geologic history, economic development, biodiversity, and sustainability. One day, you may be looking at economic development, and another day you could be marveling at the wildlife of Serengeti National Park.


Guatemala May Experience (2013)

The foray to Guatemala mixes students, ideas, and curriculum from different departments into an exciting cultural and environmental experience. Participants explore Mayan ruins, big cities such as Guatemala City and Xela, and tiny mountain towns. Studies cover a range of topics and interesting projects. You’ll help find ways to get water to indigenous communities in Esperanza San Antonio by practicing the three pillars of sustainability, making use of project management tools, and examining different methods for preserving and maintaining environment and economy. Along the way, you can try out a few salsa dance steps, visit hot springs, explore an active volcano, shop at an open market, or investigate an old mission church.

Study Away Semester in India (2011, 2013)

You’ll be taking in cultural and intellectual delights in the bustling city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. This city is a star of southern India’s economy and an area rich in dance, architecture, and art. Our students, with a cross-section of interests and majors, stay at the international guest house of Madras Christian College for five weeks, enjoying weekend trips to sites such as the ancient port city of Mahabalipuram. Study topics include Humans and the Natural Environment, Urbanization and the Environment and Health in India, as well as other subjects. The final four weeks of this study away are spent traveling from southern to northern India and seeing landmarks — places like Delhi, Agra, and Kochi.