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  • Locations: Minneapolis–Saint Paul, United States; New Orleans, United States
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Arcadia 
Program Description:

River Semester

One hundred days on the Great Mississippi to last a lifetime

As the lifeblood of the nation, from its headwaters in Minnesota to where it meets the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River looms large in the history of the North American continent and in the American imagination. 

Spend a hundred days traveling by canoe and catamaran down the entire length of the river, developing a field research project, and participating in a completely unique, and fully immersive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This customized study away program focuses on the areas of environmental justice, sustainable agricultural, ecological restoration, and the food, music, and culture of the American heartland.

A full program of co-curricular opportunities, including meeting with local experts, partner agencies and organizations, and “river rats” covers a range of topics from Traditional Ecological Knowledge to American literature. 

Earn a full semester’s credit while taking part in this environmentally friendly option where classroom experience and field study coalesce. Environmental justice and social change in the Mississippi watershed act as guiding themes, and your own experiences and interests will be uniquely enhanced and explored through your curricular choices and research interests.  Program features include:

  • An extended outdoor experience, including camping under the stars and bonding with classmates around the campfire in this non-traditional, immersive experience
  • Immersion in the cultures, cuisines, and music of river cities such as St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans
  • A field research project helps to contextualize and guide your canoe journey alongside other scholar-adventurers
  • Local experts and lecturers will contribute along the journey, on topics from ancient civilizations, Native American communities, urban justice and resilience, and climate change.
  • The proposed itinerary for 2023 is available on our website.
  • This program runs bi-annually.  Apply today for Fall 2025.


Arcadia is a nationally recognized leader in higher education, offering exceptional study, research, and internship experiences for students from colleges and universities across the US. Our unique combination of customized, diverse academic programming and comprehensive support allows students to explore new worlds, get to know themselves, boost their resumes for future job opportunities and graduate school, and experience the incredible growth and shifts in perspective that a culturally immersive experience can deliver.

Please visit the Arcadia website for dates and the latest program information.