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International Capstones

You can search for International Capstones on the Education Abroad website by can selecting "Capstone" under "Duration."

7 INTERNATIONAL CAPSTONE COURSES which go outside of the U.S.
*The terms in which these Capstones are offered vary. Please check the Class Schedule, or the Education Abroad website, for current offerings.*

Effecting Change:  Russia International Fall 2012 Capstone
Anna Yatsenko,
CRN:  14261
In this Capstone course, each student explores what it means to work for community change by engaging in a committed community service experience of at least 3 hours per week with a community partner of her/his choice and exploring the meaning that work has for the individual and for the community through reflection, dialogue, readings, activities, and collaborative projects. This course is intended to allow both students with longstanding volunteer commitments to continue those commitments in fulfillment of their Capstone requirement and students new to community service to explore how they might become affective agents for positive change in their communities.  This Capstone takes place over three terms (fall, winter, and spring).

2) Knowing Our Neighbors—Knowing Ourselves: An Exploration of Leadership Through Service in Mexico—first offering summer, 2013
Jenna Padbury,
Students will learn, serve, and live together in Mexico for about 3 weeks. Through pre-trip classes, direct service in Mexican communities, interactive sessions with grass-roots leaders, and reflection students will explore the following: leadership, community development, and the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. Service projects may include any of the following: serving meals, building housing, painting, interacting with children. Some Spanish is highly recommended but not required. This is an excellent study abroad opportunity for 1st time international travelers.

3) Health and Aging in Nicaragua SPRING TERM
Margaret Neal,
This spring-term course held at Portland State University and subsequent two-week study abroad program in Nicaragua will provide students with meaningful experiences in an international context through: (a) learning from and interaction with experts in the fields of social gerontology, public health, community development, and other multidisciplinary perspectives; (b) local use and testing of training materials designed to prepare students to administer those materials while in Nicaragua; (c) research and program development with international organizations and governmental agencies; (d) involvement in activities associated with securing resources for the program (e.g., funds, supplies for Nicaraguan partners) and (e) travel to Nicaragua for the purpose of engaging in service learning in a developing country.

Although Spanish-speaking students are preferred, students speaking only English may participate, provided there is at least one Spanish-speaking student for each English-only speaking student.  Additionally, translators having knowledge of Nicaraguan vernacular and culture will be provided.  Students from a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply to maximize the interdisciplinary nature of the course.    

4) African Studies: Ghana
Run out of Black Studies with Kofi Agorsah,
African Studies Overseas Experience: Ghana
Accra the capital city, and Cape Coast in the Central Region, will be the main rendezvous sites. Participants will spend much of their time interacting with communities in other cities, towns and villages in at least three other regions with over sixty ethnic, language and dialect groups. There will also be opportunities to observe Ghana’s vibrant agricultural system, and local and small-scale textile, basket, woodcarving, pottery and leather industries. These experiences will give participants the opportunity to observe the distinct differences in Ghana’s several ethnic groups.  Participants will be housed in hostels and student dorms in Accra, Cape Coast and other cities, towns and villages outside the rendezvous sites – double, triple and quad occupancy, depending on local conditions will apply. Home-stays will be explored to provide participants with more interactive experience.  Participants who plan to stay in Ghana beyond the end date of the program should notify the Program Director in order to coordinate logistical arrangements.

5) Costa Rica
Jenna Padbury,
This capstone provides an opportunity to learn about Costa Rica and immerse yourself in the culture. The course includes a 2 week service-learning experience in the city of Turrialba, Costa Rica. In Turrialba, you will conduct daily service in a community-based setting such as a school, national park, or social service organization. Evenings will be spent studying Spanish and learning about social, political, economic and environmental issues in Costa Rica.  Educational field trips to other parts of Costa Rica will be scheduled during the weekends.
This capstone is open to PSU juniors and seniors in all majors. Spanish language
skills are preferred but not required.

6) Health and Migration in Oaxaca, Mexico
Jack Corbet,, and Sam Gioia,
Increasingly, migrant workers in Oregon and other western states are arriving from southern Mexico, especially from the indigenous communities in the southern state of Oaxaca. Migration impacts the health of this population in complex ways, and challenges health care systems on both sides of the border. This capstone course takes students to Oaxaca, Mexico to study the cultural, economic and social forces that impact health in both sending and receiving communities. We focus particular attention on diabetes and other chronic illnesses related to changes in diet and activity patterns among this translational population, but students will also have the opportunity to learn about the relationship between migration and HIV, and to visit with organizations that work on prevention in this area.
*Note: The 2011 application information and budget for Summer 2011 is now available at the Education Abroad website.

7) Environmental Activism and Community Engagement in Mexico
Jack Corbet,, and Michael Taylor,
Following three campus class sessions in July and August, students will spend two weeks in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico. This international capstone explores sustainability and environmental activism in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Given the increasing interconnectedness between Mexico and the United States we want to understand how Mexican families and communities demonstrate environmental awareness and ultimately begin to make behavioral choices by opting for sustainable approaches to everyday activities of living. Specifically this course will assess how urban and rural households address efforts to sustain clean water, local food production, and a healthy environment in the face of political and economic changes contributing to a declining quality of life and increased migration. The capstone provides students an opportunity to work with community members in rural and urban settings in support of efforts to secure sustainability through innovation as well as the conservation of tradition.  Students live with local families in Oaxaca City, participate in daily language classes and travel on public transportation to rural communities.
*Note: This class will not be offered in Summer 2011.

8) Sustainable Rural Development in NW Argentina WINTER TERM
Leopoldo Rodriguez,
Where the pampas meet the Andes and tradition blends with modernity, nested on a valley 3,000 feet above sea level, sits San Pedro de Colalao, a small town in Northwestern Argentina. Join us this Winter term in a capstone where we will work with community organizations towards the establishment of eco-touristic services. We start with 4 days in Buenos Aires, followed by two weeks in San Pedro de Colalao, where we will work with our community partners, explore natural and cultural attractions and interact with local and regional NGOs and state agencies. Our final report will evaluate the progress made during our stay, and suggest steps that the community and future capstones may undertake.  Open to juniors and seniors from all majors. Financial aid can be applied.  MUST SUBMIT A SEPARATE APPLICATION PRIOR TO REGISTRATION!  Application and information available online at: Application deadline is 10/31/2012.


1) Seasonal Workers- Micheal Chamberlain ( 1 course winter term )
2) International Debt Relief- Pat Rumer (Spring)
3) 1 Bilingual Education by Ann Wales (Fall)
4) 1 Japanese Language program by Suwako Watnabe (winter)
5) 6 Capstones on Immigrant and Refugee  by Sam Gioia (runs each term)
6) 4 ELL Capstones by Michelle Culley (runs each term)
7) 5 Capstones on Immigrants in the Workplace (Fall & Summer, Andrew Reed)