NAFSA Strategic Retreat

We apologize that this program has been cancelled. You may be interested in our October e-Learning Seminar, Ethical and Sustainable Service Learning for Education Abroad.

July 31 - August 1, 2017 | Washington, DC (Cancelled)

  • Collaborate on a profound level with senior-level education abroad leaders and professionals
  • Engage in a participant-driven agenda designed to spark creativity
  • Reconnect with your core reasons for seeking to serve and advance education abroad
  • Post-event materials and reading list help foster deeper conversations on campus

Theme Overview

How do education abroad programs affect their host communities? In education abroad, the focus is largely on how our programs impact our students. As a result, we might not fully consider or only make assumptions about the long-term or recurring presences of our students on host communities.

With the steady growth in study abroad participation, proliferation of short-term programs, and promotional non-traditional destinations, serious potential exists for unintended economic, social, and cultural consequences on the partners and communities who accommodate our programs.

Through a thought-provoking opening lecture, probing discussion, and creative collaboration at the 2017 NAFSA Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders, you will consider strategies and discover actionable solutions for fostering positive effects on the communities that host our programs.

Preparation and Opening Speakers

Two weeks prior to the retreat, each participant will receive a short reading list to help frame the context for beneficial discussion.

Opening Talk

Host Communities and Study Abroad: Views from the Other (Side)
A welcome consideration for the impacts on host communities has recently entered conversations about study abroad. There remains, however, much murkiness and confusion on the topic. The opening talk by Cynthia Wood and Kathleen Schroeder of Appalachian State University will open doors to more informed and critical debate on how one might address effects on communities in the design and implementation of study abroad. By considering the obvious (and less obvious) impacts of study abroad, economically, socially, and environmentally, we can gain an understanding of how many communities in one place alter these discussions. Important to the discussion is how members of the community bring to and learn from our students study abroad and how our students’ assumptions and beliefs affect the community. How will we design our study abroad programs with host communities in mind?


Cynthia A. Wood, PhD
Appalachian State University

Cynthia A. Wood is professor of global studies at Appalachian State University. She received her PhD in economics at the University of Texas-Austin, where she focused on development policy, Latin American studies, and alternative approaches to economics. In addition to the community impacts of study abroad, her research interests include gender and development; solidarity economics; and the development potential of cooperatives at home and abroad. Her publications have appeared in Nepantla: Views from South, Struggles for Social Rights in Latin America, the Canadian Journal of Development Studies, and Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. She has accompanied study abroad courses to Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, and Belize.

Kathleen Schroeder, PhD
Appalachian State University

Kathleen Schroeder is a professor and the chair of the Department of Geography and Planning at Appalachian State University. Her research concerns questions of gender and equity in the global south, in particular in the Andes. She has published articles on these topics in Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (2011); Development in Practice (2005); Gender, Place, and Culture (2006); and Geographical Review (2000). She is a member of the Leadership Committee for the university's quality enhancement plan (which is focused on global learning). She has co-led study abroad courses to Bolivia and to India, and currently represents the College of Arts and Sciences on the review committee for study abroad for the Office of International Education and Development at Appalachian State.


Designed for directors, deans, faculty, and professionals with extensive experience in education abroad, the NAFSA Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders cultivates a multifaceted consideration of education abroad.

Objectives and Takeaways

Participants can expect their interests and issues regarding education abroad and host communities will be raised and that all issues will receive full discussion, to the extent desired. After the event, all attendees receive copies of the group notes, graphic recordings, and post-discussion guide to inform conversations with campus stakeholders.


The retreat will be held at NAFSA headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., starting on Monday morning, July 31, and ending Tuesday afternoon, August 1. A hotel block for participants will be made available at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza. Rooms will be $189 per night plus taxes and fees. Reserve your hotel room here.


  • $299 NAFSA member, $399 nonmember
  • After July 11, 2017:
    $399 NAFSA member, $499 nonmember

Pricing includes pre-retreat materials, two continental breakfasts, one lunch, and drinks at off-site reception. Registrants will also receive a 10-percent discount on registration for the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Participants in the NAFSA Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders can reserve hotel rooms through the NAFSA block at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza. Rates are $189 per night plus taxes.

Come for the NASFA Strategic Retreat, stay for Washington’s world-class restaurants, museums, and attractions! With your NAFSA Strategic Retreat badge, you will receive special discounts at select restaurants, museums, and other cultural centers. To receive these discounts, simply present your NAFSA Strategic Retreat badge. For more information on current offers and deals, visit

Cancellations, Refunds, and Changes to Registration

Cancellation or request for changes to registration for the NAFSA Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders must be made in writing and received no later than two weeks before the first day of the retreat. Any cancellations received after July 17 will not be refunded.

A $50 (USD) cancellation fee will be deducted from registration refunds. If NAFSA cancels a retreat, you will receive notification of the cancellation and a full refund.

Refunds, if approved, will be processed four to six weeks after the retreat. If payment is made by credit card, a credit will be issued to your credit card account; otherwise, a refund check will be issued.

All requests for changes, cancellations, and refunds must be made in writing. Please send requests by e-mail to educationabroad[at]