Learning Abroad Center

Freshman Seminars Abroad

Freshman Seminar Abroad

Freshman Seminars Abroad are a joint initiative between the Learning Abroad Center and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost.

Program Leaders teach the seminar on campus during spring semester and then lead students abroad during spring break or winter break.

Proposal and Review Process


  • Taught exclusively to first-year students
  • Combine on-campus instruction with learning abroad during spring break or, possibly, winter break
  • 3 credits at the 1xxx-level
  • Fulfill a liberal education theme and/or writing intensive
  • No prerequisites
  • Enrollment of up to 20 students
  • Open to UMTC first-year students from any college
  • Require round-trip group flights for students and program leader


  • 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
  • Embedded program (abroad and on-campus class component), part of leader's semester teaching load (salary is paid by department/college/unit)


Freshman Seminars Abroad require at least 45 hours of classroom instruction and excursions. They include:

On campus (preparing to learn abroad)

  • Pre-departure orientations to prepare students for learning abroad (i.e., health and safety, travel hints, course information)
  • Community-building activities

Learning abroad

  • On-site orientation (i.e., local context)
  • Excursions/site visits/academic tours
  • Reflection and discussion
  • Lectures by program leader and guest lectures by local experts
  • Reading and journaling
  • Free time

On campus (post-learning abroad)

  • Coming home workshop (study abroad reflection, discussion regarding skills gained from learning abroad, goal setting for future international experiences)
  • Final assignment (journal, take-home essay, paper, exam, presentation, group project, digital story, etc.)


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 first-year 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 May session, travel to Asia, Africa, and Oceania is also possible.

Program Leader Experience

The Learning Abroad Center facilitates pre-departure and re-entry programming and all 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 orientation and re-entry workshop
  • Travel, housing, and some meals
  • Classrooms and other necessary instructional support
  • Other related activities

Leaders are actively involved in the planning and recruitment for their Freshman Seminar Abroad. Once on site, leaders participate in 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.

Freshman Seminars Abroad 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