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Develop Intercultural Connections

Explore Global Issues

Receive Hands-on Experience

Program Introduction

Group of StudentsThe Oregon Experience Program (OEP) is designed exclusively to help international students explore American university life, learn about topics related to sustainability and health, and connect with the culture and people of Oregon.

The University of Oregon embraces and supports students from all over the world. A full-time, on-site program director will provide you with support in your academic and daily life. You’ll become part of a university that values international students.

In Only Four Weeks, You Will…

  • Develop Intercultural Connections
    OEP begins with a one-week orientation to learn about the University of Oregon and life in the United States. Group excursions will further allow you to explore the beauty of Oregon’s natural environment, vibrant culture, and welcoming residents. You’ll also experience American family culture through home stay accommodations.
  • Explore Global Issues
    You’ll explore global issues related to sustainability and health. Our program addresses a global issue from a variety of perspectives and allows you to explore local resources related to that problem. You’ll work in the classroom with dedicated faculty and explore the community to find potential solutions for the issues raised in class.
  • Receive Hands-on Experience
    You’ll become part of the local community by completing a service learning activity and serving as a volunteer. In this capacity, you’ll become familiar with a variety of local subcultures, and our program faculty will guide you through reflection.

Just the Right Size
As a student in OEP, you will become part of a cohort that receives dedicated support from faculty and staff. As a result, you’ll experience a small-campus feel while connecting with peers, faculty, and community members.

Our Town

Mt Pisgah View
View from Mount Pisgah Arboretum in Eugene

The Oregon Experience Program (OEP) takes place at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is big enough to provide exciting options for entertainment. Cultural events, sports, music, art, unique restaurants, and outdoor recreation ensure that there is truly something for everyone. Yet, we’re small enough that you’ll feel safe on campus and in the surrounding community.

Eugene is situated in a clean and beautiful river valley and is about two hours from Portland, Oregon, a vibrant urban city. Portland offers a host of shopping opportunities, cultural activities, and outdoor experiences. Eugene is also about two hours from the Oregon coast and two hours from the mountains. Take a quick trip to the mountains to hike or drive to the coast and walk along the beaches.

The quality of local food is unsurpassed. Restaurants emphasize local, fresh, and ethically grown food. In fact, Oregon was the first state to certify organic farming, which has since become a growing trend across the country.

We Love Our Ducks!
Pac-12 sports and world-class track and field are exciting parts of the UO experience. Feel the excitement on campus and at the world-famous Hayward Field as students compete in track and field. We’re not called Track Town, USA for nothing! Watch the events from campus or a local restaurant nearby to feel the excitement.

Our Curriculum

The Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) at the University of Oregon coordinates the Oregon Experience Program (OEP). During your four weeks in Oregon, you will learn about university life, participate in place-based learning experiences, volunteer in community service learning opportunities, and engage with faculty and students at the University of Oregon.

Read on for details on what you’ll be doing each week and download our general program schedule.

What is Place-based Learning?
Place-based learning takes you beyond the classroom to engage you in complex global issues as they relate to the local community of the language and culture you are studying – in this case, English and the United States.

Our place-based curriculum requires you to use your growing English language skills and cultural knowledge to interact with people and places in our community. We take advantage of mobile technologies, like smart phones and tablets, to facilitate learning and enhance your exploration of the local community.

This type of learning creates an engaging learning environment, increases motivation, encourages you to use English outside of the classroom, and engages you as a multilingual participant in everyday life.

Students with Oregon Duck Behind ThemWeek 1: Orientation
During the first week, you’ll explore life in the U.S. and at the University of Oregon. You’ll meet with program staff and discover the university through a scavenger hunt and a game called Ingress. You’ll also observe college-level classes and learn about the admission process to higher education institutions in the U.S. – perfect for anyone interested in graduate school.

Week 2: Sustainability
The second week focuses on issues related to sustainability and eco-friendly approaches to business, architecture, policy, economics, and daily life. You’ll receive targeted language instruction to prepare you for the vocabulary and language functions related to sustainability. You’ll interact with a panel of experts discussing topics ranging from climate change, sustainable city planning, and more. You will take a guided trip to Portland, a vibrant urban city north of Eugene, to learn about sustainability. Portland is a model of sustainability, with many “green” initiatives, buildings, and businesses. The week’s learning will culminate in a project using a game called ChronoOps, developed by the 503 Design Collective at Portland State University.

Week 3: Health
During week three, you’ll explore emergency response and health. At the beginning of the week, you’ll receive targeted language instruction to prepare you for the vocabulary and language functions. Then, you’ll engage in an earthquake response simulation. As part of this experience, you will work in the classroom and explore the community. The week’s learning will culminate in a reflection of the simulation and discussion of its application on a global scale.

Week 4: Service Learning
Finally, you’ll engage with the local community through hands-on volunteer work and reflection. You’ll visit two service sites for two days each. Examples of service learning activities include reading to children at the library, reading to elderly at retirement homes, gardening at the urban garden, and distributing food at the food bank.

Weekend Excursion
As a group, we’ll take one weekend excursion to Newport, Oregon. We’ll visit the Oregon beaches, enjoy fresh local seafood, and explore the Oregon Coast Aquarium.