Study Abroad: Environmental Studies Programs at Lake Baikal

Baikal Environmental Studies: an 8 week summer program intended to help form the environmental professionals of tomorrow. Participants assist the Tahoe-Baikal Institute with hands-on research and restoration projects, gaining invaluable experience in how to work with state agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs to advance environmental initiatives and improve the environment of the Lake Baikal region. Application deadline: have students contact me *ASAP* if they are interested in applying as the formal deadline for this summer has passed.

Siberian Summer Adventure: a 6.5 week summer program. Students will prepare with intensive courses in Russian language and an overview course on the specific environmental challenges facing Siberia. Students then put the language skills to use and gain first hand knowledge of the local environment when they join a local NGO, The Great Baikal Trail Organization, on a trail building expedition. Application deadline: March 31, 2012.

Siberian Studies: offered as a semester or academic year-long course, it covers the history, development, and current state of Siberia. It combines academic courses with a hands-on internship to give students a broad understanding of environmental issues, the history behind them, and what local Russians think about them. Application deadline (for the fall ’12 semester): May 15, 2012.

All of these programs are hosted in Irkutsk, Russia, near the world-famous Lake Baikal. Baikal is the world’s largest, deepest, and perhaps still purest freshwater lake, holding 20% of the world’s surface fresh water. The water and surrounding forests are home to myriad animal and plant species including the ring seal (nerpa), sturgeon, and brown bears, many found nowhere else on earth.

More detailed information – including dates and costs – can be found on the website (

Please pass this information on to students who might be interested in these opportunities, and let students know they are welcome to contact me. I’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the programs.

To apply, students would register on the website (, which would give them access to the online application.

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