SFS-Cambodia: Elephants of Southeast Asia

Program Details

Program Location Siem Reap, Cambodia
Sponsor School for Field Studies
Program Type Co-sponsored
Course # SA 35010
Duration Summer
Upcoming Program Dates
Summer 2024 06/02/24 to 07/14/24
Page Links
Click here to apply for this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice


SFS-Cambodia: Elephants of Southeast Asia

Meet the gentle giants of Mondulkiri. Spend your summer in the lush Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, studying the behavior and ecology of the endangered Asian elephant. Examine human-wildlife conflict and conservation pressures and discuss elephant welfare and management practices. Visit the vibrant city of Phnom Penh and the ancient temples of Angkor to explore the history and culture of Cambodia.

Stay at the Elephant Valley Project in the forested Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary to observe Asian elephants from meters away as they forage, bathe, and interact with each other in a protected setting.

For more program information, please visit the program website. This program is sponsored by:School for Field Studies.


SFS-Cambodia: Elephants of Southeast Asia

The program is open to Purdue students in good standing who have completed at least two semesters of university study by the start of the program. Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity, and a desire to experience another culture.

GPA Requirement: 2.6 on a 4.0 scale
Language Requirement: none

Purdue Credit

Direct Credit available from the following: [College of Agriculture] [College of Liberal Arts]
Specifically from: All (AG) and Liberal Arts majors fulfilling their science requirement

Students interested in completing courses while abroad from Purdue colleges or departments that are not listed above should discuss this with their study abroad advisor before applying to the program.

Academic Program

On the Elephants of the Cambodian Highlands program, you will take one 6-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.

Attention liberal arts majors! Although credit is awarded by the College of Agriculture, the College of Liberal Arts will count this summer program as fulfilling your four-credit lab science requirement.  Please speak to your study abroad advisor for more information.

Non-liberal arts majors should check with their academic advisor to see if this might fulfill their science requirement.

This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Cambodia.

Major academic themes include:

  • Asian elephant ecology and conservation
  • Cambodia’s highland ecosystems
  • Traditional culture of the Bunong people
  • Human-elephant interaction and conflicts
  • Wildlife management policies
  • Elephant health and welfare
Course information and the syllabus can be found on the SFS website.


Due to COVID-19, excursions are subject to change.

Course-related excursions/field work are included in the program fee.

You will visit different ecosystems and communities, which may include a forested elephant sanctuary, the ancient temple complex of Angkor, lush evergreen and mixed deciduous forests, historical and cultural sites in Phnom Penh, and Indigenous Bunong communities.


Participants live at the SFS field station in Cambodia. Meals are included.

The home base of this program is in the heart of the Mondulkiri highlands set on the slopes of Elephant Valley. Watch the sunset over the valley and fall asleep to the sounds of gibbons and other nocturnal creatures. The valley provides great bird-watching, from eagles to hornbills. You'll also spend a portion of the program at SFS center in Siem Reap, located near the famed temples of Angkor. 

The center is dorm-style with 4 person bunkrooms, lounge and study areas, and an open-air dining and kitchen area with Bunong chefs. 

Estimated Program Costs

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss. 

Students should carefully note what costs need to be paid to Purdue University or to a co-sponsor or agency, and what costs need to be paid at the overseas study location.  This will vary by program.

The program and housing fees cover: housing and meals, program-related ground transportation and park entrance fees, field equipment, supplies, orientation and pre- and post-program advisory services.

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Summer 2024

Costs per term to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee $5,100.00
Study Abroad Fee $609.40
Housing $3,800.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month) $32.00

Approximate additional costs per term
To be paid by the student.
Round-trip Airfare $2,000.00
Visa $35.00
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $0.00 - $1,400.00
Travel Documents (passport, photos) $175.00

Financial Aid

In order to qualify for financial aid (incl. loans), students need to register for at least six credits during the summer. Participating in this program will only result in four credits, therefore students planning to use summer aid will need to enroll in at least two more credits during the summer at Purdue. 

SFS offers many scholarships and/or 0% interest loans (no FAFSA form required). Please see the SFS website for more details.

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.

Application Deadlines

For full consideration, students must submit all supporting documents (typically an essay, transcripts, 1-2 recommendations, and copy of passport) before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline. To ensure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an online application, a My Study Abroad account is created. Applicants should consult this page often to check on the status of the application.

Program Application Deadline
SFS-Cambodia: Ecology & Conservation of Southeast Asian Elephants Feb 1

Returnees Information

SFS-Cambodia: Elephants of Southeast Asia

Click below to search for Purdue students who have participated in this program and are willing to be contacted.  If you get no results, you can use the search form to find people who studied in the country you are interested in.


The websites listed below contain information about this program. The accuracy of information at external sites cannot be guaranteed.

For more information on this program, please contact the Study Abroad Office by phone (765) 494-2383 or email studyabroad@purdue.edu.