Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Janet Thomas


International educators widely agree that overseas experiences provide tremendous opportunities for student growth and learning. However, institutions and international education professionals are increasingly recognizing that pre-departure preparation is essential to maximize student learning during overseas programs. Most institutions offer a pre-departure orientation program of some form, such as a weekend workshop, a series of presentations, or weekly sessions prior to departure. These meetings are often mandatory and provide essential “nuts and bolts” information about the international programs and usually some type of cross-cultural training and instruction.

A mandatory for-credit pre-departure seminar, called Global Awareness and Competence, was developed to provide prospective study abroad participants at Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) with the tools and knowledge necessary for successful completion of FHU’s semester-long program in Belgium. The seminar replaces the previous pre-departure orientation program and enhances it with experiential learning activities, a self-reflection component, and additional lectures and discussions on culture and cross-cultural exchanges. This paper describes the theoretical foundations, institutional context, goals and objectives, content and curriculum, and other details about the orientation seminar.


International and Comparative Education


Image Location