Mountains, Livelihoods, and Traditions in the Alps

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore or above
Location: Europe, France
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

During this three-week program, experience the best of the Chamonix Region and the Alps. In this program, students will explore the interconnectedness between mountains, livelihoods, and traditions, and how these connections shape certain ethical and political views, as they become visible in various food production systems, conservation agendas, and human values:

Students will complete a six-day hike on the famed Tour du Mont Blanc where they will make observations and gain additional knowledge of the natural world and of the impact of human activity. 

The program ends with a closing talk from French mountaineer and mountain guide, Patrick Gabarrou. You can listen to Patrick Gabarrou and see Mount Blanc (in the winter) in this short video

All instruction is in English, and no French is required.

This is a physically rigorous program, which includes hikes at a minimum of 4 hours and up to 6-7 hours per day on mountain trails at altitudes of up to 9,000 ft.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2023 2/15/23 3/15/23 7/29/23 8/19/23

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Academic Details

Students will earn 8 credits. This is an interdisciplinary course, with upper-division UO credit applicable toward a variety of majors. Students should speak with the relevant academic advisor in their major/minor for specific details.

This course has also been approved for Core Education: Arts & Letters and Global Perspectives

This program begins with five days in Chamonix for orientation, classes and preparing for the hike. The next six days will be spent on the trail and moving through the mountains. The planned route may change before or during the program due to scheduling changes, inclement weather, or other factors. After the hike, you will return to Chamonix and spend the remaining 11 days processing your experience on the trail through lectures by local experts and participating in various excursions. Students will pay particular attention to three local examples that highlight the relationship between this alpine landscape and the local community: food and the production of the famous Reblechon cheese, conservation and important reintroduction of the bearded vulture, and spirituality with the visit of one of the oldest monasteries in France.

A note about supplies:

  • Students will need to bring a tablet and/or a smart phone with good camera resolution to complete assignments during the program.
  • A list of the required hiking gear will be provided to the students participating in the course.

Course Equivalencies

UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Additional requirements

All students participating in this program must meet and agree to the following requirements:

  • Ability to carry a 12-15 pound day pack while hiking up to 6-7 hours per day on mountain trails at high elevations (up to 9,000 ft.). 
  • Mandatory participation in four pre-departure meetings in May 2023, which will introduce students to and prepare students for the program and logistics through readings and discussion. 
Faculty and Staff
Nicolae Morar is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy and an Associate Member of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution. His work provides an analysis of the ways in which natural sciences inform conservation debates and how current biotechnologies are altering traditional conceptions of (human) nature.
Housing Description

Lodging for this program may include youth hostels, rustic mountain huts along the trail, and hotels.

The mountain huts offer traditional atmosphere of the area and taste of local cuisine. During the hiking portion of this program, rooms may be shared with students of all genders.