Studying abroad is an extremely rewarding opportunity for students to expand their horizons and experience new cultures. The University of Minnesota's Learning Abroad Center gives students access to more than 300 opportunities in more than 60 countries, but many students think that studying abroad is limited to taking classes in another country. In fact, there are so many more opportunities to explore, including conducting research abroad.
Laura Nelson, a junior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, spent three weeks during last year's winter break in western Thailand learning how to track tigers and other large mammals. As a forest resources major, she went on this research trip with twelve of her classmates and two professors. The students hiked all day in search of tigers; their research helped Thailand's tiger conservation efforts. This adventure was not only important to tiger conservation research, but Nelson and her fellow students also learned how to take care of themselves in the rugged environment of the jungle.
Nelson chose her major because of her personal history and her love of environment and conservation. She plans to work for the forest service or the park service upon graduation from the University of Minnesota. Based upon her own experience, Nelson believes that research experience is especially fulfilling, among the opportunities available for students to pursue. At the University of Minnesota, there are many research opportunities available to all students, and you can even get paid for the experience! Nelson also advises new students to take classes outside of your discipline, meet new people, and register for freshmen seminars.
Click here to learn more about Laura Nelson and her research project. Pictured below is Nelson and part of her research team outside of Khao Nang Rum Research Station, where the students lived in a bungalow during their time in Thailand.