International Multidisciplinary Research and Education: A Mountain Geography Perspective
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Collaborative international research projects represent excellent opportunities for students to obtain unique and life-altering educational experiences. Dynamic interactions with people from a variety of countries, institutions, and departments, in diverse situations, provides students with new perspectives, encourages them to operate in a multidisciplinary environment, and facilitates real-world problem solving. This article discusses important concepts and issues in geographic education that are based upon real-world experiences in the Himalaya Mountains of India and Pakistan, involving undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research assistants. Multidisciplinary research/education activities reveal the importance of geography in problem solving and scientific inquiry. This work also highlights numerous issues and curriculum challenges required to establish a scientific foundation in geography, as traditional empirical approaches to geographic education and research frequently hide the complexities of dynamic systems and our world. Students require a multitude of perspectives that incorporate cultural and communication experiences, knowledge synthesis, field and laboratory work, and real-world problem solving. International research experiences can address some of these requirements, so that students can effectively solve problems in an increasingly international and multidisciplinary world. This personal article incorporates numerous examples from physical geography and geographic information science. 2009 National Council for Geographic Education.