Study Abroad in Namibia

Spring Semester Program

Studying at Namibia’s premier university provides an opportunity to enroll in classes taught through the lens of the local African context, engage with students from various backgrounds, and challenge you to initiate meaningful learning experiences in a setting that is both vastly different than the U.S. and familiar in its sophisticated development. For the socially-minded PLU student, the program provides volunteer and internship work with community organizations that empower this young democratic country. Students live near the university which encourages interactions with other students, and has easy access to shops, nature and weekend recreation. Namibians, who have a reputation of being friendly, welcome PLU students and develop bonds that often continue beyond this five-month program. The country is vast and the study tours engage students with indigenous people, cultures and countrysides. Monthly activities with a host family provide another avenue to develop relationships, make connections and explore Windhoek and Namibia. The program also allows students the time and space to explore the country on their own and with student groups from the University of Namibia.


Education; Natural Sciences; Social Sciences

The experience begins in early January with a J-term course focused on Namibia’s history and development as a democratic country and highlights issues related to education, health and the environment. During Spring semester, students will enroll in a combination of courses at the University of Namibia (UNAM) and PLU.  Students may also elect to engage in an internship experience associated with their interest and field of study.

January Term

HIST 289: Special topics in Non-West History (SO – 4 credits)

All students take this required course, which provides a historical perspective on Namibia from colonization to democracy. Taught by a UNAM historian.


Required Courses (15-19 credits)

EDUC 370 – (0 credits: Pass/Fail) Practicum Professional Practice II in local school

EDUC 371 (1 credit) Developing Professional Learning Community

EDUC 372 (4 credits) English Language Education III (UNAM)

EDUC 373 (4 credits) Numeracy and Math Education (UNAM)

EDUC 374 (1 credit) Management and Student Engagement

EDUC 375 (2 credits) Integrated Media and Technology (UNAM)

SPED 376 (3 credits) Inclusive Classrooms (UNAM)

Elective Courses

EDUC 340 (2 credits) Arts Education (UNAM)

KINS 322 (2 credits) Physical & Health Education (UNAM)

Natural & Social Sciences

BIOL 367SA: Conservation Biology (4 credits)  Taught by Dr. Julie Smith (Site Director 2020)

Based upon the principles of population ecology and ecological genetics, an integrated study of the impacts of people on nature—specifically the diversity of plants and animals. Not limited to but largely focusing on the conservation problems facing Sub-Saharan Africa.

Other Courses:

Students will enroll in 3-4 Natural & Social Science courses at UNAM. Coursework options for Natural Science include Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geoscience and Physics. Coursework for Social Sciences includes History, Politics and Government, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Economics, and Anthropology.

Students may also elect to complete an internship/research for credit in one of the subjects listed above or COOP 477: International Work Experience.

Because Namibia is in the southern hemisphere, the University of Namibia (UNAM) operates on a different academic timeline than PLU. The PLU spring semester is equivalent to UNAM semester 1, with classes running from early February to May. Because PLU’s semester and the Gateway Namibia program ends in May, students in this program will not be required to take UNAM’s final exams since the final examination period runs from mid-May through June. Instead, grades will be assessed based on the mid-semester examinations, participation, and assignments (Continuing Assessment).  When planning for two-semester class requirements (organic chemistry I and II, biochemistry I and II, physics I and II, etc.) be sure to take these scheduling differences into account. 

Spring Study Tours

Between the J-Term course and the start of the Spring semester, students participate in a 7-day study tour, that includes visits to rural villages in northern Namibia, interaction with those involved in animal conservation, health, and education efforts, and exploration of Namibia’s prime national park and game reserve, Etosha National Park. Students have a two-night homestay where they live in rural homesteads and participate in daily life.

At the university’s mid-semester break, students participate in a second study tour that includes climbing the world’s tallest sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park and explore the seaport town of Swakopmund, and Damara Land, home to unique geographical features and San (Bushman) rock art.

During the semester students participate in two local activities. They interact with a local batik artist, learn about local methods and create their own batik designs during a 3-day workshop. They also spend a day “behind the scenes” on the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary, a foundation that works to protect Namibia’s wildlife and ancient San Culture.


You will live on campus among other University of Namibia students in a housing complex that has multiple buildings, similar to a large dormitory complex. There are double rooms and the bathroom and shower is shared between two rooms. There are two kitchen areas on each floor that are shared with 24 students who live on each level. The common space on each floor include the kitchen, tables and a television.

Program Fee

The PLU comprehensive fee for Spring semester covers this academic experience (instruction and academic credit, housing and meal stipend, study tours, study abroad insurance, visa fees, and a $750 flight credit). To find the current comprehensive fee for one semester, divide the total full-year cost listed on the Admissions website by two. Please note that the comprehensive fee varies each year, and the cost of this program will be based on the year in which you study away. Financial aid applies.

Out-of-pocket Expenses

Some air travel, books, personal excursions, and other miscellaneous expenses are not included in program cost.

Global Scholar Award

All PLU Gateway & Featured Programs are Global Scholar Award eligible. This need-based award can cover out-of-pocket expenses up to $2,500 on PLU Gateway and Featured semester programs.

External Scholarships

For more outside scholarship opportunities, please visit our Funding webpage.

Contact Us

Jan Weiss
Associate Professor of Education, Associate Dean of Education
Program Director, Namibia Gateway Program

Brynn Smith
Semester Program Manager


Sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Students must have a minimum 2.7 or higher G.P.A. (3.0 preferred). Must be a student in good standing. All courses taught in English.

Application Deadline

Spring applications are due May 1

A $50 non-refundable fee is due with the application. A $300 non-refundable program payment to confirm participation is required within 10 days of acceptance.

NOTE: Each academic year the current application is made available during International Education Week in November.

Application Components

  • Online application
  • Short essays
  • 2 recommendation forms (1 faculty, 1 professional)
  • Application fee

Namibia Highlighted as Top Travel Destination
In 2014, the New York Times ranked Namibia number six in their list of 52 places to visit!

PLU Film Team in Namibia
During Summer 2014, six Lutes traveled to Namibia to film a documentary about the nine Namibians who studied at PLU in the 1990s.

Photo Gallery
Check out our Flickr Photo Gallery to see pictures from past participants in the Windhoek program.

Alumni Stories
Check out what alum Britt Rosenberg did after PLU and how her experience studying in Namibia impacted her vocational path.

Program Highlights

  • PLU faculty member on site to provide instruction and support
  • Housing in modern facilities at the University of Namibia
  • Practicum for Education majors in local schools
  • Two week-long study tours that explore the vast cultural and natural resources throughout the country
  • Monthly Host Family experience to encourage regular interactions with local culture
  • Internship choices with working with organizations that support woman empowerment, vulnerable children and people with disabilities.
  • Research option for Natural Sciences that are supervised by faculty and have a local focus such as medicinal property of plants, and HIV/AIDS research
  • U.S. Department of State Study Abroad Grant available for Education and Science students.