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Gzira/Sliema, Gozo, Malta

Program Description

The tiny country of Malta, situated in the Mediterranean Sea, is roughly the size of our own Rockingham County. Natural resources, open spaces, environmental stewardship, and conservation are necessary to preserve a balance and the need to be mindful is paramount.

During this Study Abroad, we will be fully engaged in experiential learning as we explore the environmental issues and meet the people behind the NGOs leading the movements. We will meet with nearly two dozen NGOs in the field where they are conducting their important work and get a glimpse into the ways they collaborate in order to move forward environmental advocacy in Malta. The NGOs and their partners include: KOPIN (supporting migrant issues), EcoGozo, Majjistral EcoPark and EcoFarm, Vincent's EcoFarm, Malta Water Association, Friends of the Earth Malta, Malta Organic Agriculture Movement, Youth for the Environment, BirdLife Malta, SPCA Malta, Slow Food Malta, fish4tomorrow, and Sharklab-Malta, just to name a few.

The course itself will have a strong cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary, advocacy/stewardship, and personal development emphasis. We will explore all the corners of the island, from sustainable farms, wildlife sanctuaries, sea turtle rescues, forest restoration areas, underground treasures, and beautiful protected areas. It promises to be a truly transformative adventure.

As we learn about the campaigns and cooperation, we will also learn about how the Maltese people's connection to their natural world, sense of place, and cultural identity impact sustainability efforts. And we will explore how the power of a clear mission and cooperation can lead to powerful change.


1. Learn about sense of place, nature connectedness, and the cultural influences on environmental advocacy and environmental movements. 

2. Interact with a variety of NGOs and government organizations in order to learn how they address environmental issues and try to influence change.

3. Learn about the message design, psychology of change, and elements of cooperation and collaboration that strengthen efforts to protect the environment and engage citizens in their natural world.


INFORMATION SESSION: Thursday, October 25th at 6:00 PM in the Center for Global Engagement classroom (2nd floor of Madison Hall).

Location Description

For over 18 years, James Madison University has organized a study abroad program in Malta, a small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea that is geographically and culturally diverse. Students are immersed into 7,000 years of history, as they meander the narrow, winding streets of Malta’s towns and visit ancient temples and grand palaces. The island has an extensive ancestry, connecting its customs, styles, and traditions to a myriad of cultures. The natural environment of Malta will serve as an open air, experiential classroom, with its incredible blue sea, cliffs, fields, secret inlets, and perfect sunshine. As students step into its unique culture, they step into a world of adventure.

One of the reasons for choosing Malta is the highly active cultural, political, and interpersonal conflict regarding their relationship with the natural world. For several years, Malta had been at odds with the European Union with regard to their care of the environment and the population is greatly split (not unlike Americans) on what the natural world means to them collectively and individually. At the same time, Malta has just become the first country in the EU to ban glyphosate, is developing cutting age desalination processes, and has a strong network of NGOs actively working to protect their natural space and heritage.

We will include an excursion to Catania and Taormina, Sicily to experience Mt. Etna and a does of Sicilian culture, nature and food.


Debbie Sturm | | Graduate Psychology


Students and faculty will reside in flats centrally located in Sliema/Gzira, Malta, located close to the University of Malta and easy walking distance to the National Aquatic Complex, grocery shopping, plenty of restaurants, and plenty of sea front. We will stay in fully furnished apartments with kitchens, living rooms, airy balconies, washers and internet. Public transportation is easily accessible.

Students will be allocated a weekly meal stipend of 100 euros. All student apartments while we are in Malta have fully equipped kitchens and we are very near several small grocery stores. It is most economical to eat meals at home when possible. We will have several outings in which the program will pay for meals or snacks for students. We will also have several group dinners out or at the director’s apartment. These will all be identified in the program calendar so students have an idea when they will need to purchase their own meals. Many affordable places to eat exist and students are encouraged to seek them out and enjoy!

Additional Items to Consider

There are no visa or immunization requirements for US citizens. Malta is a well-developed country and a member of the European Union. English is well understood and travel around the island is relatively easy and safe.

This program would be an excellent choice for any students enrolled in one of the environmental minors. It is also a fitting elective for students with a passion for environmental issues, cultural implications of environmental movements and sustainability initiatives, interest in sustainability issues surrounding food, agriculture, natural environments, wildlife, and cultural heritage as well as students who are interested in how non-profits and NGOs work together to bring about change. It is a nice fit for students interested in interdisciplinary collaboration, social movements, and nature interaction.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

All majors and class levels are welcome

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

WAITLIST applications only.

apply now

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ENVT 225: Environmental Advocacy & the Psychology of Change (6 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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