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Belmont USA in Oregon

Belmont USA in Oregon 

Belmont USA in Oregon, offered in partnership with the Oregon Extension Program, is a study away, 17-credit fall semester program in the mountains of southern Oregon. Students live in cabins heated by wood stoves, read a lot of good books, and experience a Benedictine way of life—work, worship, and study—in a forest on a pond. They visit some of the wonders of the West—desert, coast, alpine regions—and get involved in raising chickens, milking goats, making cheese, fermenting foods, and bread making. Study and practice sustainability and a more deliberate life in the Wild West. Learn more about Oregon Extension here. 

Program Curriculum

In the program, you will take one course at a time. The sixteen week semester is divided into four segments, and each segment is directed by a question. Students receive 3-4 credit hours in each segment based on independent research projects conducted in the discipline of their choice. View an overview from Oregon Extension here. More information on how these courses will transfer back to Belmont coming soon. 

Immersion Experience

The Oregon Extension is deep in a forest and there is a small farm. Students learn how to milk goats, care for chickens and turkeys, garden, and are then taught what to do with the milk, eggs, meat, fruit and vegetables you’ve cultivated. Since your cabins are heated with wood stoves, you work side by side with professors retrieving trees from the forest, splitting firewood, and building and tending fires. In one course, students can elect to mill lumber from trees and build furniture in the carpenter shop, or to go out in the forest with saws and drip torches to learn about fuels reduction and prescribed fires.

Living together in cabins and cooking together gives students a sustained experience in how to budget, how to stock a kitchen, how to make a list of food items that will last a week, how to share with cabin mates and create social events around meals. Students learn basic skills of hospitality. You’ll organize your own potlucks, talent shows, and adventures in the woods. You’ll develop into your own community.

An important part of the OE semester is detaching from the irresistible omnipresence of the internet and mobile phones. Except for two online computers that are available to students all the time (to stay in touch with family and friends) the wireless and personal phones are packed away Monday through Friday. The intent is to try out life that is more focused on ones’ immediate surroundings—the forest, books, people, weather, animals—all experienced in analog time.

During the semester we also go on excursions to spend time in some of the iconic spots of the west coast. We go on a week-long backpacking trip in the Sierras or Cascades, hike in the Redwoods and camp out at the Oregon coast, and take a four-day trip to San Francisco. On weekends students use our campus as a base from which to canoe, mountain bike, climb a peak, and cross-country ski. Our nearest town, Ashland, is the home to one of the world’s most renowned Shakespeare Festivals, and we attend at least one play in the outdoor Elizabethan theater.


Students participating in the Oregon Extension live in a cabin or bunkhouse. Each dwelling sleeps four or five people in two or three bedrooms  and has its own kitchen, bathroom, and living room.Every unit sports a cedar porch for warm days and a wood stove for cold ones. 

Students buy and prepare their own meals, often choosing to make this a communal effort in their own dwelling or with a larger group of students.


Car Reminder: We understand that for the sake of cost, some students choose to drive to the Oregon Extension, but remember that during the semester, in the spirit of “being present,” you will not have use of your vehicle.

Belmont USA in Oregon: Oregon Extension Program Staff

Belmont USA in Oregon is administered by staff in both Nashville and Oregon. In Nashville, the Belmont USA Program Coordinator manages the application and pre-departure processes and communicates with all students prior to their arrival in Oregon. 

Belmont USA Program Coordinator: Allison Sprouse - Nashville: e-mail Allison

Oregon Extension Program Contact: Star Tarrant : e-mail Star