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  • Locations: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: UNL applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Field of Study: Natural Resources, Nutrition Science, Public Health Housing Options: Hotels
Language of Instruction: English Minimum GPA: 3
Number of Credits: 1 Credit Hour, 2 Credit Hours, 3 Credit Hours, 4 Credit Hours, 5 Credit Hours, 6 Credit Hours Courses Offered: NUTR 496
Course Credit: UNL Credit UNL Sponsor(s): Arts & Sciences, Education and Human Sciences
Experience Type: field study, study abroad Program Type: Faculty-Led
Program Leader(s) or Contact(s): Mary Willis, Yirga Gismu Wondemanhe Education Abroad Coordinator(s): Marnie Nelson
Academic Level: 01 - Freshman, 02 - Sophomore, 03 - Junior, 04 - Senior
UNL Faculty-Led - Offered in academic year(s):
2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017
Program Description:
Important Update: On October 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Warning for Ethiopia. According to University of Nebraska Executive Memorandum No. 25, “no university sponsored program of travel for students and members of the general public shall depart from the United States for a country for which the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Warning….” As a result, the faculty leader is currently considering a Summer 2017 program in Zambia and more information will be shared soon.


Program Highlights

  • Participate in field-based research projects based on your academic interests!
  • Visit and interact with local students at two partner institutions!
  • Visit UNESCO world heritage sites and national parks to observe wildlife!


Course of Study

This study abroad program in Ethiopia provides a unique opportunity to enhance the international experience and research skills of UNL students, including scientific data collection, data analysis, and presentation. Students will experience cultural immersion while conducting research in two different regions and ecological zones of Ethiopia. Students will gain a greater understanding of bio-cultural adaptation, the impact of poor nutrition on growth and development and overall health, as well as the multifaceted challenges of agricultural production, environmental degradation, drought, and food insecurity.

This study abroad will include five days of preparation in the U.S., followed by a full five week fieldwork experience in Ethiopia. The preparatory week will include reading and discussing literature, selecting a research topic or focus, examining the languages and cultures to be experienced, reviewing the study abroad procedures, and organizing contact information and safety procedures.  UNL students will write reflective journal entries for each day of the study abroad and participate in daily wrap-up discussion sessions. Teams composed of UNL and Ethiopian university students will work together throughout the study experience.  Teams will engage in a broad array of activities, e.g., collecting survey data and interviewing, visiting health and education programs, assessing growth and development and nutritional status (anthropometry), mapping social and natural resources, visiting markets and small holder farms, and conducting participant-observation to facilitate learning and develop research skills.

All student teams will spend three to five days conducting participant-observation within local farming communities and households. The focus of the participant observation will be determined by the interests of students as identified in the pre-departure session. For example, students with an interest in animal science will be placed in households with a variety of livestock holdings. In this experience, student teams will work with a rural family and collect data based on their preparatory training.  Also, students will assist in household and/or farming activities where possible, e.g., harvesting, plowing, marketing, cooking, etc. 

At the conclusion of each research session (Dessie and Awassa) students will share their findings and experiences in a Power Point presentation to be delivered to fellow students and faculty. Additionally, UNL students will deliver a presentation to fellow students and faculty at UNL in the semester following their study abroad experience.

Finally students will complete a final paper that incorporates the journal reference materials gathered before and after the trip, observations, and experiential research work in Ethiopia.  

Learning Outcomes:

To introduce UNL students to Ethiopia’s food security environment.  This includes the policies, economic issues, history, diverse cultures including the context for food production, preparation, and consumption, ethnic groups, natural ecologies, educational, health, and food systems.  

Students will gain firsthand experience with the following:

  1. Small scale subsistence farming practices in diverse agro-ecological settings;
  2. Indigenous farming systems and weather-related coping mechanisms, e.g. irrigation, drought responses;
  3. Food production, storage and distribution;
  4. Bio-cultural adaptations to environmental conditions;
  5. Health challenges, including malnutrition and disease;
  6. Rural education systems and programs;
  7. Food acquisition, preparation and consumption across diverse sociological and cultural settings;
  8. Interviewing participatory observation and nutritional assessment.

Course Credit

Students will earn 1 to 6 regular UNL credit hours for NUTR 496.


This program is open to UNL students in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA or above with strong letters of recommendation from UNL faculty. Ideally, students should be returning to UNL for at least one semester after returning from the study abroad experience.

While applications from non-UNL students may be considered, preference will be given to UNL students. Non-UNL participants must first be admitted to UNL as a visiting student.

Students will hold an academic conference-style symposium to present research and discuss what was learned in the five week program early in the fall semester of 2017.
Group Photo 2016

Faculty Leaders

Dr. Mary S. Willis
104K Leverton Hall
402- 472-9677

Mary S. Willis, PhD: Dr. Willis is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences here at UNL.  Trained in anthropology, her research focuses on culture transition and the implications for health, malnutrition and growth-related sequelae, the dentition and diet, and food and culture of populations across the globe.  Dr. Willis has been traveling to and working in Asia, Africa and the Americas over the last 40 years and has lead an education abroad program to Ethiopia in 2014 and 2015.  

Mr. Yirga Gismu Wondemanhe

Mr. Yirga Gismu Wondemanhe, BSN, MPH: Mr. Yirga Gismu Wondemanhe is a PhD student in UNL’s Department of Nutrition and Health Science here at UNL.  Mr. Wondemanhe earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at Hawassa University and a Master’s in Public Health at University of Gondar in Ethiopia.  He’s currently on leave from Ethiopia’s Wollo University where he is a lecturer in the College of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Department of Public Health. Mr. Wondemanhe coordinated the UNL education abroad program to Ethiopia in 2015 and has trained or worked in both host institutions to be visited by the UNL education abroad program. The best method to contact Mr. Wondemanhe is by email. 


Ethiopia CEHS 2015
Students will spend five full weeks in Ethiopia visiting the Amhara Region and South Nation and Nationalities and People`s (SNNP) region, Dessie and Awassa.

Accommodations and Other Arrangements

INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE: All program participants will fly to and from Ethiopia as a group. Deviations from the group itinerary will not be permitted.
LODGING in COUNTRY:Students will stay in hotels located close to the host institutions.
MEALS in COUNTRY: Students will be responsible for purchasing their own meals (lunch and dinner) in country each day at local restaurants/cafes. Meals will be included within the formal banquets at the host institutions abroad. Breakfast each day will be included at the hotel/hostel or guest house.
TRANSPORTATION in COUNTRY: All local transportation (by car) will be arranged by a partner organization.
ACCESS to LAUNDRY FACILITIES: Students can pay to have their laundry done in hotels for a reasonable charge.
COMMUNICATION & CONNECTIVITY: WiFi is often available at the local hotels, hostels and guest houses.
DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED for TRAVEL: All U.S. citizens will need a valid passport to participate on the program. Non-U.S. citizens need to research entry requirements specific to the country of destination at the time of applying to the program. Deadline to upload passport to MyWorld: March 17, 2017. A visa will be secured upon arrival in country. 
HEALTH AND MOBILITY: Students will walk distances throughout the program and will have some optional opportunities to hike, as well. (Light weight hiking shoes may be helpful while abroad.) It is not possible to drive to each location, but breaks will be included throughout the day. There will be hills and rocky roads to drive through and walk over during the program. The program will visit a highland area that is cooler and several places in the Rift Valley where it is warmer – but not sweltering. Like any big city, the capital of Addis Ababa has some air pollution, but the program does not spend a significant time in the city. Two types of international insurance will be included within the program costs: HTH Worldwide Insurance (included on all UNL faculty-led programs) and AMREF. Recommended immunizations/medications per CDC (as of November 1, 2015) include the Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever vaccines. CDC recommends that you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Please be sure to check the CDC for additional recommended immunizations.


See the Budget Sheet near the top of this page (click on "Summer") and the Fund your Experience page on the Education Abroad website. The program budget will be updated in the fall.


Upon confirmation of participation, program participants will pay a $500 deposit (including a non-refundable $150 Education Abroad Fee). The $500 deposit will be applied to the final program cost balance. If a participant withdraws from a program, the participant will be responsible for any irrecoverable costs associated with the program at the time of withdrawal. The deposit payment will be due on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Please see the Education Abroad website for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.

Ethiopia 2016

Additional Resources

Below you will find links to resources for travel, health, and safety:
*UNL Education Abroad does not officially endorse, administer, or monitor the content of these links.

U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Embassy of Ethiopia in the U.S. 

U.S. Department of State: Travel

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.