Kansas Abroad

Large field full of windmills, with one featured prominently in the middle ground

Program Summary

Kansas Abroad, a two-week, summer road trip plus a fall semester research seminar, will allow students to explore the state as an Environmental Studies’ “living laboratory.” This competitive program provides an immersive and hands-on, expansive look at the state’s reliance on environmental resources, creative and entrepreneurial solutions proposed by Kansans, and space for students to develop research skills related to preserving our future.

Students will explore Kansas akin to a study abroad experience and similarly develop cultural awareness and new skills through this unique learning opportunity. The point of studying away or any kind of community-based learning is to experience something unfamiliar — a new place with a different culture often including different language, cuisine, and norms — that illuminates both the new place and one’s home. Students will gain firsthand experience with experts who explore the diversity, contradictions, and contributions of Kansas to the country and the world — and then research and share their observations about Kansas’ future.

With an emphasis on urban and rural relationships, Kansas Abroad offers students a chance to explore and encounter differences within the state and leverage those experiences into knowledge. Students will build skills in interviewing, listening, and developing research questions on the future of Kansas and the role of young people in shaping it. Focusing on civic responsibility and collaborative leadership, Kansas Abroad aims to fulfill KU’s mission dedicated to preparing students for lives of learning and the challenges educated citizens will encounter in an increasingly complex and diverse global community.

Sample Itinerary

(Note: Inclusion on this list does not guarantee it will be part of the program in a given year)

Each year the itinerary for Kansas Abroad will reflect both the historical environmental impacts in the state, but also adapt to include new and emerging projects.

Kansas Abroad will be a two-week road trip traveling by SUV from Lawrence to the southeast then through Wichita/Hutchinson to Dodge/Garden, up through Scott City/Monument Rocks to northwest Kansas and then coming back on 70 in kind of a wave shape – up to Nicodemus, down to Lindsborg, to Salina and back to Lawrence with stops in between.

Destinations could include:

Wolf Creek, Burlington

Bauman Cedar Valley Farm, Garnett

History of mining in SE Kansas

Oil and Gas

Hemp Farm

Tallgrass Prairie/Cottonwood Falls

Prairie and bison

Grain elevators and murals

Wichita Art Museum

History of flight

Oil and gas

JaKo Farm, Hutchinson

Urban agriculture, Common Ground

Red Hills



Meatpacking plants

Immigration issues

SW Groundwater Management District/Ogallala/Irrigation/Arkansas River

Lake Scott and archeological finds

Keystone and fossils

Monument Rocks

Little Jerusalem

Agricultural ventures, various scales

Arikaree Breaks

NW Groundwater Management District, Colby


Wheat farm, Palco

Water solutions, Hays

Sternberg Museum, Hays

St Fidelis, Victoria

Garden of Eden, Lucas

Lake Wilson

Kansas Originals, Wilson

Rock City, Minneapolis

Land Institute, Salina

Sandizen Gallery, Lindsborg

Coronado Heights

Konza Prairie and Discovery Center

Academic Information

Required enrollment

(Tentative as of 2022)

All students accepted into the Kansas Abroad program are required to enroll in the following:

  • EVRN 498[Link when available]       Kansas Roadtrip (2 credits) [the two-week trip]
  • EVRN 499[Link when available]       Kansas Environmental Futures (1 credit) [for Fall following the trip]


The program is open to all KU Environmental Studies majors who have been a declared-major for at least a year. Prior to the study abroad, students will have completed EVRN 140 & 142 (or their equivalents).