Dr. Richard Schultz, University Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management and Global Resource Systems in the Department of Horticulture. Dick is a seasoned programs leader that has led programs to Korea, China, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Uganda, Thailand, Ecuador, Peru, Virgin Islands, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia since 2004.
Why do you lead programs?
- I lead programs because I love to travel and meet new people and old friends. More importantly, I like to expose students who often have a very limited view of the world to a different culture and a different environmental landscape. Most of my study abroad experiences have focused on developing countries because students are likely to travel to developed countries as adults and may never have an opportunity to visit developing country where more than 1.2 billion people live and where global population growth is and will continue to be the greatest.
What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program?
- I would recommend that faculty who are considering it to jump in and do it. The awesome staff in the CALS Study Abroad office can help with logistics, ordering tickets, etc and help develop itineraries. I would suggest that interested faculty contact an international peer that they work with, or a former visiting professor or former graduate students to get started. I have also worked with former students who did internships or Peace Corps overseas to get started with in-country contacts.
What have you learned by leading programs?
- Leading programs has taught me about different cultures, how people in different environments and cultures address challenges in different ways than we do. I have also learned that that people all over the world have the same basic concerns of providing families and friends with safe and prosperous lives and that most people around the world like Americans as individuals despite what they may think about our government, etc. I have also personally experienced how successful trips can be for massively changing students’ perspectives of the world and how they fit into it. Our students’ outlook on what they have and the world in general is changed forever and I believe that makes them better global citizens.
What has been your favorite program that you have led?
- My favorite trips are service-learning trips where students get to work with and live in or close to the communities where they work. I have been going to Uganda once or twice a year for more than 10 years and because of the friends I have made there and the positive results of the work that the students have done there is probably my favorite. However, our hike to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail at elevations up to 14,000 ft and our climb up Cotapaxii mountain, the highest live volcano in the world in Ecuador, or the work with elephants in Thailand, etc. all could be classed as favorites for different reasons.
What do you like to do in your free time?
- I love to travel and as an ecologist/forester I love to spend time in forests, prairies, etc. – when I travel I enjoy spending time with small groups of people that include both locals and our students.
Why should students study abroad?
- Students should study abroad to learn about themselves and others in the world, to appreciate what they have but learn what others also have, to get out of their comfort zone, to leave something of themselves behind in a service learning trip, etc.