Cambodia

Center for Conservation and Development Studies

Cambodia

Here, remnants of 12th-century temples share the landscape with wild forests, Buddhist monasteries, and small villages. Diverse ecosystems, from the mighty Mekong River to the dense highland forests of Mondulkiri, are home to rare species like the Asian elephant, sun bear, and Irrawaddy dolphin. The Tonle Sap Lake swells exponentially each year with the monsoon season, creating a dramatic seasonal shift for the fishing and farming communities and wildlife of this flooded region.

Programs

semester

Climate Change, Ethics, and Conservation

Spend the semester exploring Cambodia’s diverse ecosystems – from the great Tonle Sap Lake to the Gulf of Thailand. You’ll visit the ancient Angkor temples, study threats to biodiversity, learn about environmental justice and policy, and discuss traditional medicines with Indigenous communities. Embark on a country-wide expedition, spending time in an elephant sanctuary in Mondulkiri, the mountain and coastal ecosystems of Kampot, and conservation sites along the Mekong River.
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15 Weeks
18 Credits
Spring 2021

Jan 25 - May 7

Closed

Fall 2021

Aug 30 - Dec 10

Open

summer session I

Elephants of the Cambodian Highlands

During this summer study abroad program, spend your time in the lush Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary studying the behavior and ecology of the endangered Asian elephant. Examine human-wildlife conflict and conservation pressures and discuss elephant welfare and management practices. Visit the vibrant city of Phnom Penh and the ancient temples of Angkor to explore the history and culture of Cambodia.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2021

May 31 - Jun 30

Open

summer session II

Freshwater Ecology and Conservation

On this summer study abroad program, Cambodia’s freshwater ecosystems become your classroom, from Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake to the mighty Mekong River. Travel across Cambodia, visiting ecological sites, floating villages, ancient temples, and the vibrant capital, Phnom Penh. Learn about endangered species conservation, fisheries, water governance, food security, and hydropower development.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2021

Jul 5 - Aug 4

Open


What Students Are Saying:


 
“The friendships, multicultural experiences, field research techniques, and self-understanding I gained during this program made it definitely worthwhile. And the food at the SFS center is amazing. I eat a plant-based diet, and there were always plenty of yummy options at the center.”
 
– Yuxi, Wellesley College


 
“It was a dream-come-true, honestly, and more dreams were realized while on program. The amount of cultural immersion and opportunities for observation, appreciation, and critical consideration of all aspects of the country – cultural, environmental, political, historical, social, traditional, religious – is surely unparalleled. Beyond worthwhile; this was life-changing.”
 
– Kayla, Hollins University


 
“I had an amazing time with SFS Cambodia. The classwork is incredibly interesting and the ability to go into the field and connect what you have learned in class to real life experiences is unlike any learning setting I have been in before.”
 
– Hanna, University of Washington

 

Where You'll Be Living

Our most urban center lies on the outskirts of Siem Reap, near the famed temples of Angkor. The Center is a breezy, modern campus nestled in a quiet neighborhood minutes away from the bustling downtown area where you will find restaurants, artisan shops, markets, and many Cambodian cultural activities.

  • Dorm living with air-conditioned, four-person bunkrooms
  • Classroom building with library and balcony
  • Student lounge with open loft and beanbag chairs
  • Expansive open-air dining area, and on-site cooking staff
  • Gyms and running routes in surrounding neighborhood
  • Swimming pool, badminton court, and hammock bungalow
Click here to read stories from students, staff, and faculty on our blog

 
 
 

Program Costs

Study abroad is an investment in yourself – you’ll return home with new experiences, skills, knowledge, and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. SFS program costs cover a variety of expenses, including:
 

  • Pre-program advising and on-site orientation
  • Tuition and research fees
  • Housing at the field station and on excursions
  • Daily meals and snacks
  • Airport transfers (for arrival/departure)
  • Field excursions and cultural activities
  • Student success and wellness team on site
  • 24/7 mental health and well-being support
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Official transcript processing

View Cambodia Program Costs

Financial Aid

We know cost can be one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At SFS, we’re committed to making our programs accessible to students which is why we award more than $650,000 in need-based financial aid each year. Our Admissions Team has worked with thousands of students and are here to answer your questions about the SFS aid process, aid available through your home school, and funding from external sources.
 
SFS Financial Aid: Need-based aid packages typically consist of a combination of scholarships, grants, and zero- and low-interest loans. SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.

Home School Aid: Be sure to ask your home school study abroad office or financial aid office what financial aid resources might be available to support your study abroad experience.

External Funding Opportunities: Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad or the Gilman International Scholarship Program award scholarships to students going abroad. These can be a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your program even more.
 
Learn More about Financial Aid


 
 
 

 

Research

Research at the SFS Center for Conservation and Development Studies covers a diverse array of topics – from the impacts of climate change on local communities and ecosystems to the transfer of traditional ecological knowledge. Students and faculty work with government partners, community members, Indigenous groups, NGOs, and other key stakeholders. Our faculty and students seek to analyze and develop strategies to assess species richness and support conservation initiatives in Cambodia.
 
Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Climate change impacts
  • Elephant ecology
  • Traditional ecological and medicinal knowledge
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmental anthropology
  • Influences of Buddhism on conservation

Environmental Issues

Our Centers are strategically located in regions facing critical environmental issues. Students and faculty study these issues and collect data to help facilitate sustainable responses. In Cambodia, we’re currently investigating the following issues:

Climate Change
Biodiversity Conservation
Community Resource Management
Environmental Policy
Environmental Ethics & Justice
Sustainable Livelihoods
Learn More About the Issues

Community

Siem Reap, Cambodia

 
SFS is an active part of the Siem Reap community, where we have been based since 2014.

We have built long-term, collaborative relationships in the communities around the Center, where the Center is locally known as the Center for Environmental Research in Conservation and Development Studies, and we have developed our research plans based on the environmental issues they and the surrounding ecosystems face. Throughout the program, students collaborate with local students at the Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC), take a short homestay in a floating village, visit bustling markets, and attend festivals.

At the end of each semester program, we host a Community Research Night where select students will present their research findings to the community. SFS research data is shared with the community, local NGOs, and the Cambodian government.
 

Read stories about our community in Cambodia