Aligning Study Abroad Programs with Institutional Mission and Goals

November 17, 2009

The resources in this area include articles, white papers and reports that address the expected outcomes, optimal content, curricular roles, and duration and structure of study abroad programs.

Making the Most of Short-Term Study Abroad

Ernesto Guerrero, August 2005

Often short-term summer study abroad programs leave little time for the important aspect of student exposure to the local culture.

In this International Educator article, Ernesto Guerrero recounts how UCLA worked to expose their students to the study abroad city and country in the limited time they were there.

Click on View Resource and scroll down to select: Making the Most of Short-Term Immersion.

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Study Abroad Diversity

May 2007

This IIE White Paper, Current Trends in U.S. Study Abroad and the Impact of Strategic Diversity Initiatives, represents the first of a new policy research series and documents growth and dominant trends in study abroad. It provides a benchmark for future expansion and includes an analysis of existing strategic funding initiatives such as the Gilman, Boren and Freeman-ASIA Scholarships, showing how resource allocation can influence diversity of participants, geographic destinations, field of study and length of study. The paper also highlights institutions that have created specific program models for better facilitating a more diverse group of students participating in study abroad.

View the White Paper (2.7 mb Adobe PDF)

Securing America's Future

A Report of the Strategic Task Force on Education Abroad
  • Too Many Americans Lack Crucial Global Skills in Post-September 11 World, Report Warns
  • Blue-ribbon Panel Urges Dramatic Expansion of Study Abroad Participation

In a report released November 18, 2003 by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, a task force of national leaders in international education warns that Americans' lack of knowledge of the world represents a "national liability" in the war on terrorism. Securing America's Future: Global Education for a Global Age sets out concrete recommendations to federal and state governments, higher education institutions, and the private sector for addressing the problem, focusing specifically on the need to dramatically increase the participation of U.S. college students in study abroad opportunities.

Download the report (133kb Icon PDF 16)

Related Materials

A National Action Agenda for Internationalizing Higher Education

NASULGC's A National Agenda for Internationalizing Higher Education presents desired outcomes in higher education with respect to three key components, each of which is essential for successful internationalization:

  • The education and preparation of students in the international context.
  • The vital role of the international involvement of faculty members in teaching, research and engagement.
  • The overall institutional commitment as manifested by campus leadership, as well as appropriate programs, policies and structures.


Written primarily for internationalizing higher education at NASULGC member institutions, it reaches all campus sectors and is useful not only to central administration, but also to faculty, staff, and academic units.

View the Resource (scroll down for Report PDF)

US-CHINA: Global Engagement and Study Abroad

A 2009 article by Alan Ruby, senior fellow for international education at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, outlines the importance of expanding U.S. global engagement through study abroad and discusses the importance of the Simon study abroad legislation.

View the resource.

Study Abroad Levels: Toward a Classification of Program Types

Lilli Engle and John Engle wrote this article in 2003 for Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad to advocate for "a level-based classification system [of study abroad programs] clearly distinguishing categories of program design… based on comparable objective criteria such as program length, type of student housing, the language in which course work is given, required linguistic competence for admission and other program components." They believe that such a system would help prospective participants and their advisers define priorities and select programs that are most appropriate to students' academic, personal and career goals.

View the resource.

The Role of the Institutional Setting and Its Impact on Education Abroad Policy and Programs

This article by John Pearson appears in the American Institute For Foreign Study Foundation publication, Study Abroad: A 21st Century Perspective, Vol. II. The article helps readers consider the internal complexities in their own institutions that help determine the climate for education abroad and which may need close attention for anyone hoping to affect change. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Who drives the desire for education abroad opportunities?
  • Are education abroad opportunities part of the mission of undergraduate education?
  • Who has an interest in the work you do in education abroad at an institution?
  • How are education abroad opportunities related to broader institutional philosophies?
  • Is the diversity of the home student population reflected in education abroad programs?
  • What types of programs does the institution sponsor or support?
  • How does the institution evaluate and validate its programs?

View the resource.

International Initiatives at Harvard University

This article by Boston Globe journalist, James F. Smith, explores the recent increase in the number of Harvard University students studying abroad.

View the resource.