This paper explores an approach to problem-oriented, interdisciplinary field-based courses devised by university consortia in southern Africa and Denmark. The SLUSE (Sustainable Land Use and Natural ResourceManagement) model has been applied on six three-week field courses within southern Africa and trained over 200 students. Student groups composed of individuals from different academic disciplines that investigated problems specifically devised to integrate social and natural science approaches set the stage for an interdisciplinary approach. The field locations are in rural areas that have a legacy ofmarginalization, poverty and reliance on natural resources for at least part of their livelihoods thus allowing for environmental and natural resource issues to be investigated. Course evaluations show that students feel they gain invaluable exposure to the innovative field-based learning environment created by the SLUSE approach. The main benefit perceived by hosting local communities was an increase in their self-esteem and to harness the knowledge and experience gained from the courses to further enrich their owncommunities.Onreflection, the students value the opportunity towork cross-culturally, and trying new techniques on ‘real' issues. To many students the personal challenges they face adjusting to the demands of the field course are as important as the academic outputs.