15 Game-Changing Custom Programs

ISA’s Custom Programs division is celebrating its 15th year in service to U.S. universities for their faculty-led and partnerships study abroad programming. Join us for this series of 15 things as you imagine, develop, and implement your own custom programs abroad.

1. Arizona State University Sustainability in Morocco and Spain
ASU’s Sustainable Development across the Mediterranean in Spain and Morocco takes students on a slam dunk of a trip through the historic cities and diverse countryside of Morocco and Spain to understand the political and social context of sustainable development and energy transitions. As a part of this ISA custom program, students visit government ministries, embassies, solar energy plants and research centers, conservation centers, and participate in a seminar with the Young Arab Analysts Network International.

2. Butler University Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts: Argentina, Chile, and Peru
This program allows students to spend an entire semester traveling, much more than two steps with the ball, across the South American continent while taking four Butler core classes taught by a variety of Butler professors; participants spend three to five weeks in each location and visit course-relevant sites in each country.

3. Drake University Democracy in India
Drake students travel through India exploring temples and mosques, and follow the path of the Ghandian movement. Through role-play, debate, and discussion, students examine how England took possession from India in 1858 and forged hypothetical policies in study of the country’s constitutional crisis of 1945.

4. High Point University Non-Profit Management in Ireland
Visiting organizations all around Ireland, High Point students learn about the logistics of non-profit management and then spend time serving at each one to get to know the community and leave a lasting impact. Talk about an assist!

5. Purdue University Freshman Global Leadership: Costa Rica and Peru
Purdue’s incoming freshman class has the opportunity to study abroad before they even move into their first dorm. One of the all-time great alley-oops, the Costa Rica program has been such a success over the past three years that Purdue is now offering a simultaneous program in Peru.

6. St. Edward’s University M.B.A.: Chile and Peru
The Global M.B.A. Capstone course encourages students in overtime to imagine and implement efficient and effective solutions to global business challenges. In Chile in 2012 and 2013 and Peru for 2014, grad students organize research as a consulting team to develop an innovative global business plan.

7. Texas Tech University Architecture Studios: France and South Korea
Texas Tech’s College of Architecture enters each student in the lottery pick to study abroad in one of many programs offered each summer; ISA supports both the Paris and Seoul programs, where the group spends time sketching and analyzing châteaux of the French countryside and skyscrapers in Seoul.

8. University of California, San Diego Mathematical Beauty in Italy
Students can earn math credit as an engineering major or even just to meet core curriculum requirements, and just like with a perfect bank shot, they’ll come to really understand the geometry and physics of the Coliseum’s arches and columns.

9. University of Cincinnati Changemakers in Peru
As a part of this spring break course, Changemakers: Lessons Learned Through Travel in the Developing World, students participate in their own March Madness and interact with academics, leaders and activists of non-profit organizations in Peru, immersing themselves in the local social and environmental situations and issues.

10. University of Colorado, Boulder Leeds First-Year Global Business Experience (FGX): Spain, Chile, Ireland, England, Cuba
The First-Year Global Experience (FGX) through the Leeds School at CU Boulder consists of a spring semester business administration course on campus, and a class trip to earn the International Business Certificate. Students just have to create the pick between Europe or Latin America.

11. University of Florida Service-Learning in the Dominican Republic
This service-learning program gives students the opportunity to earn a double-double, learning about themselves and the community, with opportunities to work with children and youth on literacy initiatives and to shadow doctors in medical clinics.

12. University of Kentucky First-Generation Students in England
The University of Kentucky has instituted a study abroad experience as a part of the First Generation Initiatives program, aimed at retaining and graduating students who are the first in their families to attend college. With academic and social mentorships on campus and a tight-knit group dynamic abroad, UK First-Generation students examine the Global Marketplace in London, expanding their world and their opportunities while they’ve still got time on the shot clock.

13. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Tracing The Footsteps of Social Change in South Africa
The straight aim of this course is to explore our innermost selves and trace “soft-footprints” of a conscious sort and to seek the wisdom South Africans gained during their long walk in defeating Apartheid. The course will include an examination of South Africa’s history and collectivist community healing in order to empower students as agents of social change.

14. University of Pittsburgh Multi-region Academic Program
The ultimate three-pointer, Pitt MAP travels to three continents over a semester each year, offering two different tracks for students looking to fill various curricular requirements. ISA has supported this program in Argentina, Brazil, and India, and is looking forward to supporting the program in France and Morocco this fall.

15. University of Pittsburgh Sustainable Engineering in Brazil
Most engineering students know which classes they will take each semester for the next four years within their orientation week; this sustainable engineering program opens a path to the basket while pumping up Pitt engineers’ global perspectives.


Melissa Stone is a Program Manager for ISA Custom Programs. Melissa works with programs in Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, France, and Jordan.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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