Study Abroad

Study Abroad!

It is the goal of the department to offer three study abroad opportunities each summer to provide project-based global learning opportunities.  The following study abroad trips are being offered for the 2017/2018 academic year.  Trips for the 2018/2019 academic year will be published when information is available.

  • Nicaragua/Costa Rica - Awake in the Coffee Fields: Fair Trade and Appropriate Technology (website) led by Mr. Ray Sinclair and Jason Miller, AIA
  • India - Appropriate Technology in Developing Communities and Sustainable Mountain Development (website) led by Dr. Jeremy Ferrell and Mr. Ian Snider
  • Tanzania - Renewable Energy Design and Energy Efficiency in Tanzania (website), led by Drs. Brian Raichle and Jeff Ramsdell

Other recent study abroad opportunities have included trips to South Korea, Taiwan, Peru, Austria, France, Mexico, and South Africa. Please contact the department for additional general information about future study abroad trips, at


Study Abroad to Peru - Summer 2018

Peru Study Abroad program conducts 2-day workshop on stand-alone PV systems with University of San Antonio de Abad de Cusco.

While many in the world still live without electricity, (estimated at 12% of global population) cell phone reception is often found in even the most remote corners of the planet.  Cell phones have become indispensable to people around the world and many people living off-grid literally walk many miles to charge their phones. It is with this in mind that the Peru study abroad program focused on the design and construction of stand-alone PV systems for lighting and cell phone charging.  Sustainable Technology professor’s Jeremy Ferrell and Brent Summerville along with 14 App State students led a 2-day workshop to build and install two systems working with students and faculty from the University of San Antonio de Abad de Cusco (UNSAAC). One system was installed at UNSAAC, while the other system was installed in the Altiplano community of Pucarumi (13,500’) located at the base of the beautiful glacier Ausangate.  This workshop is part of an on-going collaboration between the Sustainable Technology program and the Applied Physics program at UNSAAC that focuses on renewable energy technology.

Photos courtesy of Marie Freeman

Study Abroad to Costa Rica - Spring Break 2017

Study Abroad Costa Rica 2017STBE faculty Brent Summerville PE and Dr. Jeremy Ferrell led a Spring Break 2017 study abroad trip to Costa Rica. 14 students from Sustainable Tech, Building Science/Sustainable Building Systems, and Sustainable Development travelled to the remote tropical countryside of Mastatal to attend Renewable Reality's workshop entitled Solar Electricity for the Developing World. Workshop leaders Ian Woofenden and Jason Lerner both live off-grid in the Pacific Northwest and have been running this type of workshop in Costa Rica for 15 years. Our homebase Villas Mastatal, a small, Tico-owned sustainable eco-lodge/farm.

The workshop kicked off with some classroom lectures and hands-on labs to establish a baseline of solar electricity knowledge, focusing on practical application in the developing world. After a free day of hiking and time at the beach, the students designed, built and installed four off-grid solar systems: one to power LED sign lights at Villas Mastatal and three at local homes without electricity. These local residents all lived way off the main road so we hiked in the tools and gear and installed systems that provided lighting for the house and a charging port for mobile phones. These projects were a transformational experience for the students and the homeowners graciously and emotionally received them. These small solar-powered systems, the people of Costa Rica, and our travelling companions made a big impact on all of our lives.