Visit to Center for Human Ecology

I returned on Monday night from a several day stay in Glasgow; I was there to check out the Centre for Human Ecology at the University of Strathclyde as I’m looking into a Masters in Human Ecology (would be a two year commitment).
From the CHE website:

Human Ecology is about uncovering and understanding the connections between personal action, social systems and the ecology of the planet of which we are part. The challenge is to critically examine the way things are and to ask why and how they could be different; to find new and better ways of arranging our lives, our businesses and our societies; ways that reduce poverty and inequality, reduce the amount of resources we use, restore the environment and improve quality of life for all – now and for generations to come.

So, as you can see, that covers about everything! They are covering topics as diverse as agriculture to the workings of spirituality in societies. The classes meet in solid blocks over long weekends. From the brief time I was able to spend with the students and lecturers, I was greatly impressed with the topics they are discussing and the people involved. Class time is divided between weekend sessions at the university in Glasgow and longer (one week or so) sessions at various locations in the UK (field research trips in different cities, etc.).

I interviewed for a position in next year’s cohort; this is a very exciting opportunity for me (on a personal level, I’ve had a lingering interest in environmental studies for some time now; at the professional level, this is really a training centre for BuildaBridge. I heard arts-integrated language left and right through the weekend). On Friday evening, we had a group of former graduates speak (the centre has been in existence since the early 70’s) on what they are doing currently. There is much practical application of the skills acquired there in the social service sector (The UK seems especially welcoming of environmentally friendly design and planning).

So, the next big barrier (or, just the big barrier period) will be finding funding; the program itself is only about $14,000 USD for the two years; however, it’s significantly more expensive to live in Glasgow than where I am in the Czech Republic. Alternatively, I could live out in the countryside for a good bit less; however, that would not afford the community and networking connections available in the city. So we’ll have to see where that all balances out.