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International Perspectives

A stylized map of the globe showing Iowa City with rays of light radiating out from it across the map.

International Opportunities in Water Resources Science and Management

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Water resources are a global concern. To help students better understand how water problems affect our shrinking world, IIHR offers the course “International Perspectives in Water Resources Science and Management” in collaboration with UI International Programs. Each course offering focuses on a different country or world region for an intensive and in-depth exploration of the historical, cultural, social, economic, ethical, environmental, and political conditions that impact water resources projects.

This photo shows a group of seven young men and women posing in a historical site while visiting India as part of the University of Iowa's International Perspectives course in 2013-14.

Several student participants in the International Perspectives 2013–14 Winterim course in Gurgaon, India, pause for a photo. (UI students left to right: Katie Langenfeld, Bass Dye, Harvest Schroeder, Lizzy Mueller, and Timothy Hunziker). Photo credit Katie Langenfeld

The course helps prepare students for careers that are increasingly global in scope. In past years, the course has taken students to the following countries:

  • The Netherlands and the United Kingdom
  • India
  • Taiwan and Japan
  • China
  • Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, and Romania)
  • Turkey
  • Egypt
  • Argentina

The most recent International Perspectives trip took students to India in December 2013–January 2014.

In addition, IIHR has several international agreements for exchange of students, including possibilities for co-supervision of thesis research. These include agreements with international educational and research institutions, such as Danish Hydraulic Institute, National Center for High-Performance Computing, and University of Stuttgart.

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Academic Program and Credit

The course starts with preparatory lectures on the University of lowa campus. The trip abroad is conducted during a semester break (usually May or December), and the course finishes with post-visit reports completed by participants during the following semester. During the visit abroad, students attend seminars by local experts, with special emphasis on planning, socio-economic and environmental impacts, rehabilitation programs and problems, and legal, cultural, and institutional aspects of water resources projects. Students visit specific operational and planned water resources projects to gain first-hand appreciation of issues related to their field of interest.

This photo shows a bridge over a canal or river with a small rowboat visible on the other side, carrying two people.

International Perspectives, 2010

Participants can earn 0–3 semester hours of credit, depending on the agreement with the instructor on the scope of the project and associated assignments. Starting in 2005, the course was included in a series of short courses of the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research European Engineering Graduate School Environment Water (IAHR-EGW).


The course is designed for juniors, seniors, and graduate students who wish to become engineers, economists, planners, legal and management specialists, and environmental, social, and political scientists, but it is also open to young professionals working in these fields. The course provides preparation for the increasingly international scope of practices and services in the field of water resources planning and management. Students from universities around the world have been attending the course, but priority is given to UI and IIHR students.


Participants are expected to pay for their travel to and from the visited countries, the course fee, and a portion of their local expenses. Financial aid from home universities and IIHR may be applied toward program costs.



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Last modified on August 15th, 2017
Posted on June 1st, 2010

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