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Mwalandiridwa (Welcome)

The Malawi Immersion Seminar, sponsored by the University of Rochester Department of Anthropology, is a three week study abroad/field school addressing cultural, health, social, political, and ecological issues in Malawi, Africa using the anthropological method. The seminar provides students with an immersive and transformative summer experience offering a unique focus on experiential learning and training in the methods of field research.

Program Details

Participants will be expected to keep daily ethnographic observations and field notes, attend Chichewa language class, and participate in lectures and excursions with American and Malawian faculty on topics in anthropology, history, public health, and ecology. Students will be trained in anthropological research methods and complete an individualized ethnographic research project. The program concludes with a two-night safari to Liwonde National Park during which students present their research projects and learn about the complex social ecological system in and around the park.

Prior experience in anthropology is not required. The field school is appropriate for students from diverse disciplinary approaches. Undergraduate and graduate students from any university and in any major may apply. International students are also welcome.

Highlights Include

  • Training and experience in anthropological research methods
  • Courses in Chichewa language
  • Exploration of Ngoni and Chewa culture
  • Independent ethnographic research project
  • 13 day homestay in a rural Malawian village
  • Participant observation in urban and rural communities
  • Hiking the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley
  • Two-day safari at Liwonde National Park
  • Service learning experiences on rural irrigation projects and in a rural community health center.
  • Seminars by local experts on sustainable agriculture, language, economics, culture, history, religion, and public health.

More About Malawi

Government of Malawi
Malawi World Factbook

Malawi map

I was basically able to become part of another family for two weeks. They were incredibly kind and supportive throughout my time there. Everyone, my host family, the students, the instructors have built a web that is altogether perfect. This program has taught me that I need to reach out more and it has certainly helped me come closer to that goal.”

Student Quote


Joseph Lanning
University of Rochester

Department of Anthropology
440 Lattimore Hall
PO Box 270161
Rochester, NY 14627-1061
(585) 747-1636