Werner Dörgeloh is an adjunct professor in the Department of Forestry where he teaches natural resource conservation and wildlife management. He studied zoology and wildlife management in South Africa and obtained his PhD from the University of Pretoria. Dr Dörgeloh has many years of experience in teaching, research and field work in African wildlife ecology and conservation that motivated him to develop a study abroad program to Namibia. Since 2005 he has successfully led groups of students to Africa where they study various aspects of ecology, wildlife management and conservation. In addition his familiarity with the region and interest in travelling inspired him to found a tour company, Eko Tracks, which offers guided eco- and adventure tours to Africa.
- My Program
- Advice for Students
- Advice for Faculty Directors
Where do you lead a program?
This program is offered in Namibia, covering the Namib Desert and arid savanna ecosystem of south western Africa. To complement this unique African experience, my future plans are to develop a program in Botswana focusing on wetland ecology and woodlands. Alternating between these two destinations will offer students a wider range of learning experiences.
How long have you run your study abroad program?
The Namibia program has been in existence since 2005. The first program was planned and arranged late in the year of 2004, and with little time left for advertising we were pleased when 12 students signed up for the program. From the start, this program has been a great success.
What makes your study abroad program unique?
There are relatively few study abroad programs offered in natural sciences, especially those focusing on desert and savanna ecology, wildlife management, park management, conservation and tourism. While emphasizing these fields of study, this program is also unique for many other reasons; we visit the Namib Desert one of the oldest deserts in the world with its unique animal and plant life, as well as one of Africa’s largest national parks, Etosha. Throughout the program we also traverse a number of different landscapes and vegetation types. Students also benefit tremendously from my intimate knowledge of the natural history and the various cultures of Namibia.
What stands out as your favorite memory from the study abroad programs that you have directed?
There is no single event that I can highlight, because the entire adventure in Africa is a wonderful experience. Most students have never been to Africa and sharing their excitement and experiences is very gratifying. A special highlight is while sleeping in a tent and hearing lions roar nearby. That is when students realize they are in wild Africa and for me, I achieved my goal of offering students a real African wilderness experience.
If you could give prospective students one piece of advice about
study abroad, what would it be?
With globalization and the effects it has on our lives, it becomes increasingly important to become familiar with the state of affairs outside the USA. It is not adequate anymore to know and experience only one’s immediate surroundings. Like the saying goes "The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page. St. Augustine".
Study abroad programs are costly! Therefore students should make sure that a study abroad program is of a high academic standard and that it offers a true learning experience. In short, the program should be relevant and add value to their studies.
What are you looking for from the students who apply to your program?
Prospective students are required to have some background in either ecology, wildlife management, zoology, natural resource management, tourism or a related field in order to get the most out of this program. For example, some ecological background is necessary when conducting field work.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Faculty Director?
The most rewarding aspect for me is to share my knowledge and love for Africa with students. It is encouraging to see students learn and experience more than they can ever hope to acquire in a classroom. This enriching adventure widens their horizons significantly both on a scientific and cultural basis.
If you could give new Faculty Directors of study abroad programs one piece of advice about leading a program, what would it be?
Developing, planning and arranging a study abroad program requires time and effort. It is also important and beneficial to be familiar with the host country. I am in the fortunate position that I know the southern African region very well, which has been a tremendous asset to the program and students alike. One needs to be passionate about leading a program, because it is not a summer vacation! Faculty directors should also realize that the organization and effort it takes to lead a program is not always recognized by peers.
What marketing tips would you suggest to your fellow Faculty Directors to encourage more NC State students to study abroad?
You have to keep up to date with student’s needs and how they communicate. That means using the electronic media, as many student’s search for programs on the Study Abroad homepage. Another effective way of marketing is the study abroad fair and of course talking directly to students.