Experiential Learning


All courses in the Water in Central Eurasia sequence will incorporate high-impact experiential learning activities, including mentored research projects that students will present at Pitt’s European and Eurasian Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as virtual peer-to-peer exchanges with students at Nazarbayev University (Astana), Pitt’s partner institution in Kazakhstan. Pitt and Nazarbayev students will engage in common readings and video-conference discussions to jointly develop a case study of water problems and solutions in a Central Asian community, thus gaining practical experience with cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural communication to address real-world issues.


Thanks to a generous grant from the Office of the Chancellor's Pitt Seed Initiative, the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies will also roll out two credit-bearing study away programs in collaboration with Pitt Study Abroad. These programs will add a comparative dimension to the courses in the Water in Central Eurasia cycle by inviting students to explore the global and domestic dimensions of water sustainability through field visits to policy-oriented think tanks, NGOs, and federal agencies in Washington, D.C. and a fair-trade global service learning program in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, provided by Amizade.


1 CR | March 8-15, 2020 | Estimated Cost In-State $1,350 | Tuition Remission Scholarships Available

Instructor: Andrew Lotz, Lecturer, Political Science

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Explore U.S., Central Asian, and global perspectives on water management and environmental sustainability through this innovative study away program for undergraduates. On this one-week, 1-credit program, you will study competing perspectives on global water policy. You will be introduced to the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations managing water equity. You will look closely at the interconnections between policy, law, economics, and culture related to the environment. You will develop a portfolio of varied writing samples to use in applications for graduate programs and careers in policy while also creating their network of experts and organizations influential to the shaping of water and environmental policy in the U.S., Central Asia, and globally. This program is designed for students in interested in political science, history, environmental studies, policy, law, business, economics and international studies. 

What You'll Accomplish
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • A variety of policy writing examples that come together to form a portfolio of writing samples that can be used in applications for graduate programs and careers in policy
  • Network of experts and organizations influential to the shaping of water policy in the US, Central Asia, and globally

Apply by November 3, 2019


3 CR | May 20 - June 2, 2020 | Estimated Cost In-State $3,799; Out-of-State $3,999 | Tuition Remission Scholarships Available

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Study in the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. On this 2-week, 3-credit program get a feel for its past, present and future. You will learn from local natives about their day-to-day life, culture and work on community-driven service-learning projects. Projects may be related to environmental sustainability, agricultural initiatives, programming on youth and education, cultural learning and indigenous rights.. Students of all majors are welcome to apply. This program is ideal for any student interested in history, politics, environmental studies and anthropology. You should be flexible, patient, hardworking, open to new cultures and professional in delicate community situations.

What You'll Accomplish
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • Regional expertise and awareness of diverse perspectives
  • Skills for community driven civic and global engagement
  • An understanding of Oglala Lakota Life and current issues
  • Lakota's history and relationship with the United States 

Apply by November 3, 2019


ABOUT THE PROVIDER: Since 1994, Amizade has worked to inspire empathy, catalyze social action, and link diverse communities through Fair Trade Learning.  Over 12,000 individuals have served with local community leaders in 12 countries on 4 continents with 16 partnerships. From working with women and girls on rainwater harvesting initiatives in rural Tanzania to running at-risk youth camps in Jamaica, Amizade volunteers have transformed and been transformed. One of Amizade's core values is providing community-driven service, meaning that the community defines their needs and Amizade programs contribute to community life in that way. 


Through the Global Social Action Accelerator, Amizade offers its alums access to project funding when they return home from a program. Amizade will help participants build on their new skills passions, and networks by funding and supporting social action projects designed to address a need in their home community. In the form of small grants of up to $1,000, project management training, and mentorship, alumni will have the opportunity to transform ideas into social action, providing long-term impact in the communities where these ideas are implemented.