History Lived and Learned: Students and Vietnam Veterans in an Integrative Study Abroad Course


  • Raymond M. Scurfield
  • Leslie P. Root
  • Andrew Wiest
  • F. N. Coiro
  • H.J. Sartin
  • C.L. Jones
  • M.B. Fanugao




Study Abroad, Vietnam, Vietnam Veterans


In May 2000, the College of International and Continuing Education and the History Department at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) sponsored an innovative study-abroad course on the history of the Vietnam War. As part of the course, three Vietnam combat veterans accompanied eight undergraduate and eight graduate history students to Vietnam. The course’s staff included three members of the history faculty, a social-work faculty member, a psychologist, and a cameraman. This precedent-setting study abroad course integrated the teaching of Vietnam culture and military history with an exploration of the mental health aspects of combat and post-war recovery of Vietnam veterans. This article discusses lessons learned in designing and implementing the course, and implications regarding the integration of history education and therapeutic mental health objectives.


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Author Biographies

Raymond M. Scurfield

Raymond Scurfield is an associate professor of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a distinguished national and international record as a PTSD clinician/manager and an innovative therapy and program developer. Other areas of expertise include race-based trauma, family and peer-group therapy, outreach, and community-based mental health.

Leslie P. Root

Leslie Root, a Gulf Coast-based clinical psychologist now in private practice, is former director of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Clinical Team at the Veteran’s Affairs’ Gulf Coast Health Care System in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is an expert in the assessment and treatment of war-related PTSD.

Andrew Wiest

Andrew Wiest is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, a specialist in military history and Modern British history. He serves as Deputy Director of USM’s British Studies Program and Coordinator of the Faculty Exchange with Sandhurst.


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How to Cite

Scurfield, R. M., Root, L. P., Wiest , A. ., Coiro, F. N. ., Sartin, H. ., Jones, C. ., & Fanugao, M. . (2003). History Lived and Learned: Students and Vietnam Veterans in an Integrative Study Abroad Course. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 9(1), 111–138. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v9i1.117



Research Articles