Faculty-led Education Abroad: What’s changed over the past decade?

The beginning of 2020 is generating a lot of backward looks over the past 10 years. In education abroad, change is constant. Let’s look back at some select changes in faculty-led education abroad and at Seminars International.

  • In 2009, Seminars International supported programs that sent 1,251 students on programs all over the world. By the end of 2019, the number of students had risen to 1,582. A 25% increase! We’ve been busy. (Overall, Seminars has seen a 53% increase in program participants since 2009–our work with alumni, performing arts groups, athletic teams, and faith-based programming is also growing.)
  • Our growth mirrors the growth in short-term education abroad. According to IIE’s Open Doors report, the percentage of short-term study abroad over the past 10 year increased from 56% to over 64% of all study abroad.
  • Over the decade, we added new destinations for faculty-led programs: we partnered on new programs in Borneo, Indonesia, Malawi, Nicaragua, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Zambia. Seminars currently works in locations all over the world, but we are continually expanding our expertise into more non-traditional countries.
  • In other areas of student programs, changes include more dietary preferences and food allergies. These are more common but also get easier to accommodate each year. When they aren’t, we hope faculty take the opportunity to discuss the place of food in a country’s culture and economics and how to interpret various reactions to student dietary requests and allergies.
  • More universities are requiring two faculty or leaders to direct a program. Risk management and responding to emergencies are easier but programs also become more expensive for students.
  • Program costs have become a much bigger discussion during program development than in past years. Travel costs continue to increase and university fees/tuition associated with faculty-led programming also seem to be on the rise.
  • Social Sciences was the leading major among education abroad students ten years ago. Now, it’s STEM majors. Seminars has seen the range of subjects taught on faculty-led programs become more varied–from sustainability in Germany, to biology in Borneo, to the intersections between theology and physics in Europe, to Harry Potter in the UK. To name a few.

What changes have you seen on your campus and programs?

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