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Global Intensive Experiences: Immersive, short-term study abroad programs for any Sun Devil

ASU student on her study abroad to Cuba

ASU student Delia Johnson on her GIE study abroad program to Cuba. Photo courtesy of Delia Johnson

August 03, 2020

Studying abroad may not seem like a feasible option for students trying to juggle graduating on time, extracurricular commitments and working through the semesters to pay for tuition, but that’s why the Study Abroad Office at Arizona State University created a program type that will fit perfectly into any student’s already-full schedule. Global Intensive Experiences (GIEs) are the perfect study abroad option for students with a lot on their plate. 

GIE programs allow students to go abroad during session breaks. Whether that is before a semester begins, after a semester ends, or during winter or spring break, students are able to keep taking the classes they need during the semester (and keep on good terms with their supervisor at work), while fulfilling their dreams of studying abroad. Participants are taught by ASU faculty and are in class with other ASU students. With programs lasting seven to 12 days, this intense, culturally immersive study abroad model connects students to experiences and cultures abroad that are integrated with for-credit ASU academic courses.

Designed with affordability in mind, GIE programs allow for students’ funding, scholarships and financial aid to apply to their experience abroad, making them a very cost-effective option for any Sun Devil. 

GIE programs are especially popular among nontraditional students due to their flexibility and affordability. First-generation students, parenting students, online students, students working a full-time job or those with intense academic course loads, and many others find that this option for studying abroad works well with their busy schedules.

Kelli Barker, an ASU Online student working full time as a Starbucks store manager, studied abroad on a GIE program in Costa Rica, learning the history and process of coffee. “I never thought that I would be able to study abroad. I don’t have my summer space, and I can’t necessarily take a semester to do something more intensive. So it was really exciting,” said Barker. “And as an online student, being able to participate in all aspects of school is really amazing.”

On most Global Intensive Experience programs, students take a Session A, B or C course that accompanies their study abroad program, augmenting what students are already learning in the classroom. So rather than just hearing about the life of a sea turtle and learning about conservation from lectures and lessons, students can engage in marine conservation field work, participate in sea turtle monitoring, conduct hands-on research and experience what they are learning come to life. While most GIE programs are tied to a semester class, some GIE programs are stand-alone, where the study abroad experience is all you need to receive credit.

GIE programs take place all over the world, whether that be traveling to Thailand to study mindfulness and Thai culture, heading to Germany to learn about innovative STEM practices or even staying within the United States to encounter a new cultural experience without the need for international travel. 

Interested in embarking on a GIE program for your study abroad? Take a look at the GIE programs available and start your study abroad journey today!

Does this type of program seem fitting for your students? The Study Abroad Office is always looking for ASU faculty who are interested in applying their expertise to an international course context and creating new programs for students to embark on.

Where will you go?

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