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Center for

Environment & Society

What to Expect


You will spend more than 50 days in the field, linking classroom discussions with firsthand experiences in the watershed.


Although the College serves as home base, you will be traveling with 8-10 other students and 2-4 instructors for much of the semester.  There will be journeys that involve 10-12 days of study and travel away from campus. Additionally there will be a number of day trips where students will return to campus in the evening. In order to stay connected to the campus and Chesapeake Semester faculty, students will be trained and equipped with iPads for blogging, email, and general correspondence.

There will be substantial periods of classroom time leading up to your trips in the field.


Participation in extracurricular activities outside of the Chesapeake Semester will most likely be minimal. Plans should be discussed with faculty advisers and program management during the application process.


This travel schedule will make participation in many extracurricular activities, on a regular basis, difficult or impossible. Athletes are still encouraged to apply, as program management will work with coaching staff to find an appropriate schedule. Detailed trip descriptions are outlined here.




You should be prepared to rough it. 

 Much of this program will be conducted outdoors, in varying terrain and weather conditions. Participants must be curious, open-minded, and prepared for adventure. A portion of your outdoor adventure will be spent camping, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. At times, our field excursions will be physically and mentally rigorous. Not participating — outside of medical reasons or personal harm — is not an option. Students will learn how to be uncomfortable and happy at the same time.   Students must fully committed to the outdoor rigors of the Chesapeake Semester in order to succeed.


Students will be supplied with a Chesapeake Semester Equipment List upon their acceptance into the program


Students will create and carry the Chesapeake Semester Backpack throughout the program. Much of the semester will be outside during the fall and early winter months. Warm, waterproof clothing, hiking shoes, and athletic sandals (i.e. Keens)  will be essential to your comfort. Additionally, a high quality sleeping bag will be necessary during overnight camping trips. Tents, stoves, and other camping equipment will be provided by the College. Lodging will vary from hotels to field stations and camping.

Textbooks and Field guides

Students will be responsible for purchasing a number of books, field guides, and field notes that will accompany you on your travels. The cost of these books will be comparable to what you would expect to spend during a typical four-class semester.




Students will be required to have a valid passport for international travel. This passport must be valid for at least six months after the last date of travel to Central America (November 2017), hence the passport must be valid for travel through May 31, 2018.