Learning Abroad Center

Create Your Own

Create Your Own programs offer leaders the highest level of Learning Abroad Center support for program development, administration, and implementation while allowing some flexibility in program dates and length, academic scope and focus, and target audience.

Proposal and Review Process


  • Usually short-term (winter break, spring break, May or summer session)
  • Embedded course combining on campus and learning abroad, course taught entirely abroad, or non-credit experience (e.g., volunteer)
  • Designed around a particular theme or topic
  • Discipline-specific or interdisciplinary
  • Usually upper division, lower division or graduate credit possible
  • Credit amount varies (usually 0–3 credits)
  • Prerequisites are possible, but not required
  • Usually fulfill liberal education requirements and/or major/minor requirements
  • Typical minimum enrollment of 12 students and maximum of 25 students/leader
  • Require at least a 2.5 GPA
  • Can be open only to UofM students or can allow non-UofM students


  • Provides the highest level of support from the Learning Abroad Center for program development, administration, and implementation
  • Follows a pre-established program timeline and framework
  • Engages leaders in a cohort of peers also leading programs abroad
  • Provides support to leaders who may have limited experience leading programs abroad
  • If an embedded program (abroad and on-campus class component), part of leader's semester teaching load (salary is paid by department, college, unit)
  • If program is entirely abroad, LAC Provides modest salary and fringe for one program leader


Create Your Own courses typically consist of:

  • 2–3 orientation sessions covering (not coursework):
    • Health and safety
    • Travel tips
    • Local context (how to be respectful in country destination)
    • Course information (e.g., itinerary, rhythm of the days, role of homework and research, etc.)
  • Round-trip group or coordinated flight
  • 45 hours of classroom instruction and excursions (3 credits)
  • Excursions, site visits, field assignments, cultural activities, discussion, reflection, and free time
  • Final project


Program locations are finalized in consultation with the Learning Abroad Center. Factors taken into consideration are availability of partners that can provide strong on-site support, appeal to students, relevance to program topic, distance, safety, and cost.

For spring break, only locations in Europe and Latin America are possible due to travel time and flight cost. For winter break, May session, and summer, travel to Asia, Africa, and Oceania is also possible.

Program Leader Experience

The Learning Abroad Center facilitates all on-campus and on-site arrangements, including academic and cultural advising for students, financial aid advising, marketing and recruitment, design and production of all printed materials, application and registration processing, pre-departure orientations, flights, room and board, classrooms, other necessary instructional support, and other related activities.

Program leaders are actively involved in the planning and recruitment for their program. Once on site, program leaders attend and lead all course-related activities in addition to teaching their course.

Because program leaders interact with diverse student groups, it is important for instructors to think about how their own background, identities and privileges influence how they interact with and educate students. In addition, program leaders should consider how they plan to encourage program participants to think about their own positionality and identities while learning abroad.

Program leaders are to attend the University-required Health & Safety Leader Training facilitated by GPS Alliance's International Health, Safety, & Compliance office. Additionally, leaders will be invited and encouraged to attend the LAC's Excellence in Leading Learning Abroad Series.


These seminars are designed for one leader to travel with a group of students and all seminars work with organizations that provide assistance to the leader once the group arrives in the host country.

These programs have small budgets that are strongly affected by the addition of a co-leader. Two leaders or the addition of an assistant will add cost in the following areas: airfare, housing, salary, fringe benefits, food, entrance fees, ground transportation, and international insurance.

Co-leaders or teaching assistants are welcomed and supported if expenses are covered by the co-leader's college, department, unit, or personal means. To lead a program, both leaders must have permission from the departmental chair.

Proposal & Review Process

Deadline: February 1 for programs occurring the following academic year

Learn more about the Proposal & Review Process.

Proposal and Review Process


Lindsey Lahr, Assistant Director, Instructor-led Programs

Jemma Lund, Instructor-led Program Manager

Kate Meyer, Instructor-led Program Manager