Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Sora Friedman


The University of Colorado (CU), as with many academic institutions in the United States, has seen a consistent increase in the number of students opting for short-term study abroad programs. A growing concern in the field of international education is whether it is possible for students to mature in cultural competence from such a short time spent abroad. In an initiative to deliberately increase students’ intercultural growth during short-term excursions, Global Seminar: Environmental Sustainability and Cross-Culture Contact in Costa Rica (GSCR) proposes a program that implements two new aspects to CU’s study abroad options: a course-linked program and an intentional focus on cultural competence.

The proposed program spans one full spring semester on campus and a three-week summer session in Costa Rica. GSCR students will engage in learning activities focused on environmental sustainability, intercultural understanding and personal growth. GSCR develops its academic foundations from the theories and foundational works of Spencer and Tuma’s Guide to Successful Short-Term Programs Abroad, Mezirow's Transformational Learning Theory, Howell’s theory on Developing Intercultural Competence, David Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle, and the Gallup Business Journal's book Now, Discover Your Strengths. Drawing on best practices from the field of international education and short-term study abroad, GSCR addresses all elements of a comprehensive program design with a focus on theoretical foundations and the curriculum. Upon successful completion of the program, CU would see the possibility of offering similar programs in a variety of subjects and disciplines.


Educational Sociology | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | Sociology of Culture