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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description

Please note: This program has been cancelled for Post-Spring 2020.


Singapore architecture

Penang Hill

Learn about the history, the cultural influences, the economy, and the environment (for humans, for wildlife) of Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore, an extraordinary city-state in SE Asia, maintains one of the world’s strongest economies while earning recognition as the 11th most-sustainable city on Earth. Malaysia is known for innovation and modern urbanization, contrasting with its rich biodiversity of beaches and rainforests. We will work with Universiti Sains Malaysia students at The Habitat, and visit UNESCO world heritage sites in George Town. There is a crucial need for interface between business enterprises and the conservation of Malaysian tropical forests.  Students will learn the value of local knowledge, as well as how to apply critical-thinking skills towards innovative solutions.


Quick Facts

  • May 14 - May 24, 2020
  • Experience four sites: Singapore, Penang, The Habitat Penang Hill, George Town
  • Interact with University of Sains Malaysia students
  • Earn 3 credits as Spring C 2020 course (online and onsite)

Application Requirements

To apply for this program, click the "Apply Now" button above. This will generate an online application with the requirements listed below. Please also refer to the "Academics" tab for specific eligibility information. Note: Non-ASU students should consult these instructions before applying.


Singapore buildingsPenang Temple
Habitat Penang Hill

Location Details

Singapore is the only island nation in the world, and receives high-ranking marks for education, technology, health care, and quality of life. Singapore ranks 3rd in the world for life expectancy (compared to the U.S.A.’s ranking of 31st), per the World Health Organization.  Considered one of the 12 most sustainable cities in the world, Singapore incorporates nature into its architecture with green roofs and ‘nature ways’ that stretch alongside roads, buildings constructed with sustainable materials, and designed to save both energy and water. Rich in biodiversity, Singapore is an incredibly modern city. 

Historically nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Penang is a thriving metropolis in Malaysia, known as the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’. We will tour a technology plant in Penang.  Penang is famous for its soft sandy beaches, its reputation as the food capital of Malaysia, as well as its drive for innovation and urbanization. Some of the most interesting sites of Penang include the sandy beaches of Tanjung Bungah, the landscape from the summit of Penang Hill and the vipers in the Snake Temple.

Over millions of years, Malaysia’s rainforests have provided a home to countless unique mammal, bird, and plant species. Recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Conservation International listed Malaysia as one of 17 countries described as “mega diverse”.  The Habitat is located on the fringe of the Penang Hill virgin jungle reserve area.  Rich in biodiversity, it plays an important role as primary water catchment area for Penang island. Protection of rainforests is vital to climate change mitigation, water & nutrient recycling, air purification, carbon storage and soil stability. We will partner with Universiti Sains Malaysia students for our field work at The Habitat.

A UNESCO World Heritage site on Penang island, the state capital of George Town is home to historic cultural landmarks including the British-East India Company colonial Fort Cornwallis, the ornate Chinese clan house Khoo Kongsi and the Indian Muslim Kapitan Keling Mosque.  These evidences of international influence span centuries. With present-day global innovations, we create a need for balance: preserving biodiversity while recognizing the societal benefits of a strong economy.

Visa Information

It is each student’s responsibility to independently determine if a visa is necessary for travel to any foreign countries visited on this program. Limited information may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office, your faculty director, and/or partner organizations/institutions. Where visas are required, failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum 2.5 GPA

  • Interest in Sustainability

  • SOS 100 and/or SOS 111 recommended

Note: Graduate students will be selected based on merit of application. School of Sustainability graduate students will be given priority placement should a program be over-enrolled.

*Students that do not meet the listed qualifications may be considered on an individual basis, if space is available.  Please speak to the faculty directors for more information.


Students will register during the spring registration period for  the following course:

  • SOS 494 / SOS 598: Malaysia: Innovation and Urbanization in a Biodiversity Hotspot* (3 credits)
*Please note that this course counts towards your Spring semester load. If registering for this course will put you in a course-overload situation, you will need to speak with your academic advisor for an override.  

Course Format

As a Spring Session C 2020 iCourse/oCourse, the first credit hour is earned through a required online Canvas class (January 13 through May 1) to learn about  program objectives in Malaysia and Singapore. The second credit is earned through onsite participation (May 14 through May 24), the third credit hour through a final perspectives paper (due May 25, 2020). 

This is a Global Intensive Experience program and will include three in-person (Tempe campus) pre-departure meetings during late April and early May (with call-in options for students not on campus).  We will set these dates in March via a doodle poll to determine best day/time options

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Monkeys in tree


Faculty Directors

Dr. Christopher Boone
School of Sustainability, Dean & Professor
Christopher G. Boone is the Dean of the School of Sustainability.  His research contributes to ongoing debates in sustainable urbanization, environmental justice, vulnerability, and global environmental change. He is a scientist for the urban Long Term Ecological Research projects based in Baltimore and Phoenix and sits on the scientific steering committee for the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change project. Dr. Boone is an active contributor to Future Earth, an international initiative that aims to integrate the global environmental change community with a focus on sustainable outcomes.

Brigitte Bavousett
School of Sustainability, Instructional Professional
Brigitte Bavousett is the ‘first-ever’ graduate in the United States with a degree in Sustainability. She has led previous ASU Global Intensive Experience (GIE) study abroad programs to Cuba in 2017, Cuba in 2018, and Costa Rica in 2019. 

Dr. Chris Boone

Brigitte Bavousett


Hotel Porch

Program Housing

Housing will be in shared rooms in hotels and/or dorms.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus. Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodations in Malaysia and Singapore very different from what you find in the United States. This program may include a boat trip. Participants may be required to embark and disembark from the boat, to traverse potentially uneven terrain, and to navigate small confines. This program may also include a great deal of walking through the rainforest. The Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Malaysia, most public buildings are inaccessible and inconsistent inspection results in construction of new facilities that are not accessible. Public transportation for persons with disabilities is very limited. 

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. For example, in Malaysiaseveral states observe strict Islamic law, and therefore LGBTQIA identity expression is criminalized. LGBTQIA individuals may face discrimination, especially in more conservative rural areas. LGBTQIA students should exercise caution while traveling in Malaysia. For example, in Singapore, while not always enforced, homosexual expression is technically prohibited by law. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon in Singapore, especially between homosexual couples.

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. For example, in Malaysiafemale students should be prepared to dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing clothing (shorts, sleeveless blouses, and short skirts). Students are encouraged to travel in groups and in mixed company whenever possible.

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services. 

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

The Program Fee for Post-Spring 2020 is $2,910.

Program Fee includes: Housing in shared rooms, breakfast daily, some other meals, academic visits, cultural excursions, in-country transportation, intra-program flight from Singapore to Malaysia. ASU faculty support, and international health insurance. Not included: Tuition for 3 credit course, airfare to Singapore and from Malaysia, baggage fees associated with intra-program flight, passport & visa fees, most meals, personal expenses, and miscellaneous items.

Faculty Directed program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the Program Fee listed above. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the program Cost Sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sight-see or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. View the program Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  2. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  3. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  4. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  5. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  6. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program

  • ASU Tuition Waiver may be applied on this program to cover the tuition associated with this program.  The ASU Tuition Waiver cannot be used to subsidize the posted program fee.
  • Students are encouraged to take advantage of all the funding recommendations provided on the ASU Study Abroad website.  There may be limited needs-based funding through the School of Sustainability.


Links to Additional Resources

*The ASU Study Abroad Office does not officially endorse, administer or monitor the content of these links.

Dates & Deadlines

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.