ASU Global Education Office launches new hybrid study abroad program

ASU Global Flex Program allows students to mix and match online coursework with in-person experiences while abroad

March 20, 2023

When Ana Montoya arrived in Sydney, Australia, she had no idea she’d be leaving with a full-time job offer after she graduated. Montoya, an Arizona State University interdisciplinary studies major, completed an internship with an environmental consulting company in Sydney during her study abroad program. After proving herself through her in-person internship, Montoya was given an opportunity to extend her internship remotely when she returned to the U.S., which then turned into an opportunity to return to Sydney to work in person full time after graduation.

“Any field that you get into, it’s hard to get your foot in the door. This was my opportunity,” Montoya said. “Not only did I get my foot in the door with this internship, but having this opportunity to come back and work with (my boss) has been amazing.”  ASU student smiling holding up a pitchfork on the London Bridge The ASU Global Flex Program gives ASU students the opportunity to study abroad while taking ASU courses online. Photo courtesy Global Education Office/ASU Download Full Image

Montoya’s study abroad experience was made possible with the ASU Global Flex Program, a new, highly customizable study abroad program that embodies the Global Education Office’s “Your world. Your choice.” philosophy.

This new study abroad program takes advantage of ASU’s large online coursework catalog while giving students the opportunity to gain an immersive cultural experience.

Students can choose to take ASU courses all online or mix and match their online coursework with up to six credits of in-person experiences while abroad. Students can take three to six credits of in-person courses or an international internship, like the one Montoya had, to boost their resume with global work experience. 

The customization doesn’t stop there, though. Sun Devils are able to choose from one of 10 locations across five continents to spend six, 12 or 18 weeks of their semester or summer abroad. 

“Taking ASU courses online while being abroad helped relax my anxiety towards the idea that studying abroad would slow my academic development,” said ASU Global Flex student Alex Saldana. 

Saldana looked into studying abroad in the past, but due to the COVD-19 pandemic, he chose not to study abroad earlier in his academic career. The ASU Global Flex Program allowed him to complete the degree requirements he needed for his senior year online while pursuing his study abroad dreams.

During his study abroad in Madrid, Spain, Saldana completed an internship with a professional soccer team, Atletico de Madrid, which tied directly to his major in sports business.

ASU student Alex Saldana on the Atletico Madrid soccer field.

Alex Saldana on the Atletico Madrid soccer field. Photo courtesy Alex Saldana

”Being able to take on an internship at Atletico de Madrid was a dream come true. I always wanted to work for a professional soccer team, especially one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Saldana said. “Being part of the experiences department, who took care of the team's museum and tours, gave me good insight into how professional teams run their operations while reaching their customers' satisfaction levels and manage their business on a day-to-day basis.” 

“(My internship proved to me) that I have the capabilities to work in a professional sports business environment and that one day I can also reach the goal of working for my dream team,” Saldana said.

Student housing, in-person courses, cultural excursions and in-country staff are provided to support students while they are abroad through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE), a nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization.

Over 200 in-person courses are offered along with the robust course options offered through the ASU Online and iCourse catalog. Students can gain a new perspective by taking unique classes that are not typically offered at ASU, like the Economics of Wine in Rome or German Cinema in Berlin, while earning ASU credit. Some courses are offered in the country’s native language, but knowing the language is not necessary to participate in the program. ASU Online students are also given the opportunity to take in-person courses for the first time in their academic career, giving them the chance to connect with other ASU students, as well as students and professors from around the world.

ASU student Anna Montoya smiling and standing in front of a sign that reads "Tamburlaine."ourtesy Anna Montoya

Anna Montoya in Sydney on the ASU Global Flex Program. Photo courtesy Anna Montoya

Students have the option to intern with a local organization to earn internship credit, filling another degree requirement for many students. Through the personalized placement process, students are able to grow professionally, build their resume and expand their network internationally.

Montoya grew in her self-confidence and learned the value of embarking on new experiences during her program, including her first professional experience, which led her to a full-time job offer internationally.

“Put yourself out there. You just have to start saying yes to opportunities. That’s honestly how I found my internship. I just started saying yes to a whole bunch of things that I probably wouldn’t do normally,” Montoya said. “I ended up not only making a bunch of friends, but I ended up with this amazing opportunity.”

Find out more about the ASU Global Flex Program.

 Lindsay Lohr

Marketing Coordinator, Global Education Office


ASU Online program, lab fellowship helps student work toward dream career in international affairs and human rights

March 20, 2023

Devin Parker was in her early 20s when she began contemplating a career in international affairs and leadership. But before she knew how to get there, she decided a good place to start was working with local nonprofits.

“I worked with women coming out of human trafficking, refugees, women in halfway homes and eventually for a nonprofit restaurant that employed young men and women coming out of the juvenile justice system,” Parker said. “The perspective I gained from working with underrepresented groups changed my worldview.” Portrait of ASU student Devin Parker. Devin Parker is pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs and leadership through ASU Online, and is gaining invaluable experience as one of the Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab’s spring 2023 fellows. Photo courtesy Devin Parker Download Full Image

During that time, Parker had three daughters, another life-changing experience that ultimately brought her original goal back into focus.

“After I had my girls, it was a simple conversation with my husband,” she recalled. “He asked what I wanted to do for the next 30 or 40 years. I happened to be staring at a picture of my girls and responded ‘I want to ensure the rights of women and children globally.’ And here we are.”

Today, Parker is pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs and leadership through ASU Online, and is one of the Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab’s (LDNS Lab) spring 2023 fellows. The program appealed to her partly because the courses are taught by former United States ambassadors and military general officers.

“I saw the value in receiving my education from those with lived experiences. It was a perspective I could not pass up,” Parker said.  

What’s more, the resources she gained access to as an LDNS Lab Fellow allowed her to participate in Washington Week — a weeklong leadership experience in Washington, D.C., where students hear industry experts speak from personal experience on international affairs and current issues.  

“Involving yourself within the lab is an opportunity to gain something valuable for your knowledge base and make connections with others in the program. It does take effort and commitment, but (it's) worth it,” Parker said.

In addition to that experience, Parker has led a cross-cultural exchange program engaging with other master’s students in Kyiv, Ukraine; is currently part of a project working with the embassy in Skopje, North Macedonia, doing research to produce a video and historical document to further enhance training in the area by the U.S. State Department; and is working with her mentor, Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, a professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies, on ASU’s Genocide Awareness Week taking place April 17–21.

For Parker, pursuing her dream of a career in international affairs and human rights can come with its challenges. But she is grateful for the support of her family and is willing to put in the work to be a positive example for her daughters.

“When time gets tight and I am up until midnight writing papers or researching projects, I have their pictures hung above my desk for motivation to succeed,” she said. “I also have an incredibly supportive husband. I could not articulate the amount he has taken on while I am pursuing my master’s to help support me.”

Grace Peserik

Communications Assistant, School of Politics and Global Studies