Learning Abroad Center

Community Engaged Scholars Program

The Community Engagement Scholars Program (CESP) is offered through The Center for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL). The CCEL works with partners to provide opportunities for students to engage in off-campus experiential learning through community work and place-based educational programs.

"Learning abroad can be an excellent supplement to community engagement. You might see and experience completely new things that will give you a fresh perspective on your experiences back home. We have a very specific image of homelessness or water scarcity globally: If we wonder why there are villages without clean water, do we wonder that about Flint, Michigan, or North Minneapolis? What can we learn about ourselves when we are no longer in the comforts of our own home? You don't have to leave town to do community engagement, but you can leave town to learn more about who you are, and how you want to contribute to change at home."

Masog, Campus Outreach, Recruitment, Communications, and Event Coordinator, CCEL

CESP Recommendations

Fulfilling CESP Requirements

Whether or not you plan to complete program requirements while abroad, you should plan to meet with a CESP Advisor before departure.

Students can complete community engagement hours and community engagement credits abroad. Internships and research can also count towards program requirements. Experiences abroad must meet the same guidelines for program requirements completed within the United States:

  • Hours must be completed in partnership with a non-profit/non-government organization (NGO), public agency, or community organization that meets a need in the community.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 20 hours with the same organization.
  • Community engagement courses must have a university course designation and be credit-bearing.
  • Research must be directly linked to a non-profit/non-government organization (NGO), public agency, or community organization that meets a need in the community.
  • Learning abroad experiences (hours, credits, internships, and research) must be verifiable by the organization or by the Learning Abroad Center.

Fulfilling Academic Requirements

In addition to completing CESP program requirement, students can also fulfill both liberal education requirements and major/minor requirements abroad.

  • In addition to meeting with your CESP adviser, plan on meeting with your major/minor or college advisers to ensure that your program aligns with your degree plan. As you plan your learning abroad experience, be sure to refer to the Major Advising Page associated with your academic major.
  • Search the U Credit Abroad Search to select from more than 2,000 study abroad courses that have already been pre-approved for liberal education requirements. You may also submit any course not yet evaluated for approval online.
  • Use the Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form to structure your academic planning. All instructions you will need are on the form. 

Program Types

Internships Abroad

Several Learning Abroad Center programs offer internship placements with local non-profit/non-government organizations (NGOs), public agencies, and community organizations that can be used to fulfill CESP requirements.

Comprehensive University Study

Many students look at comprehensive university study abroad programs to have access to coursework in English or a foreign language on a university campus. CESP students on these programs can participate in community engagement courses at their host university or pursue independent volunteering while abroad.

Research Abroad

The Learning Abroad Center supports meaningful research for undergraduate students as part of a comprehensive study abroad program in order to deepen student learning and develop solid investigative skills. The Learning Abroad Center offers a number of programs that include research opportunities and is eligible for the Learning Abroad Center’s research scholarship. For more information about what it means to conduct research abroad, visit LAC Undergraduate Research Abroad.

If you would like to count your research experience towards CESP requirements, your project must be approved by a CESP advisor before departure or once you’ve arrived at the research site. Not all research opportunities listed will count.

Additional Program Options

The Learning Abroad Center (LAC) also works with a variety of affiliate programs. If the program or university is not listed in this resource, consider using the LAC subject search for additional options.

Selecting a Program

We recommend that students always go through the Learning Abroad Center before turning to an outside organization. The Learning Abroad Center has a variety of programs with community engagement options, internships, and volunteer experiences that fit great with CESP.

While there are many programs and organizations that are focused on volunteering abroad, they can sometimes do more harm than good. Organizations that don’t have established relationships with the community can sometimes complete unneeded projects, introduce students to hostile environments, or pressure students into doing things they aren’t qualified to do.


Africa and the Middle East


University Study in Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Study in the Rothberg International School in the heart of Jerusalem. Strengths include Jewish studies, Religious studies, Biblical history and archeology, Fine arts, Political Science, Hebrew, and Arabic.
  • Some internships available. Other volunteer and community engagement opportunities available through student life programs
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses at Hebrew University.


Study Abroad in Jordan

  • Students live alongside Jordanian families and students while taking center based courses in Arabic language and Middle Eastern Studies.
  • Internship track available for students looking to engage with the local culture. Opportunities available at local nonprofits and human rights organizations.
  • No language required for the Internship track; students with two or more semesters of college-level Arabic may pursue the intensive Arabic track.


MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • Study international development in Senegal. All MSID programs require students to complete an internship or research project with a local nonprofit in your host country.
  • Students are able to count all 16-course credits toward CESP requirements. Students typically submit 150-200 hours from these programs. Sample tracks include Public Health, Social Service, and Sustainability & the Environment among others.
  • Instruction is in French; 4 semesters of college-level French required. Wolof and advanced French language offered.



Study & Intern in Buenos Aires

  • Study language and culture in Buenos Aires, the political and economic heart of Argentina. Students can take a breadth of courses in economics and Argentine history as well as a community engagement course.
  • Fulfill your on-site community engagement through nongovernmental organizations and other community organizations devoted to helping children and adults who do not have access to basic rights such as education, health, or a home.
  • No language prerequisite for semester or summer term. Two semesters of college-level Spanish required for winter break.

Costa Rica

School for Field Studies Costa Rica

  • Learn professional level research skills while studying tropical ecology, economics, and develop a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges related to natural resource management.
  • Work with local Costa Rican park rangers, farmers, and top environmental officials to understand the challenges of maintaining the biodiversity of the country.
  • No language prerequisite. Semester and summer options available.


MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Study international development in Senegal. All MSID programs require students to complete an internship or research project with a local nonprofit in your host country.
  • Students are able to count all 16 course credits toward CESP requirements. Students typically submit 150-200 hours from these programs. Sample tracks include Public Health, Social Service, and Sustainability & the Environment among others.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters of college-level Spanish is required.

Asia and Oceania


Study & Intern in Sydney

  • 3-credit summer or 6-credit semester internships are available combined with the Learning through Internships course. Coursework available in the humanities, social sciences, and business.
  • Examples of past internships of interest to CESP students include Cancer Council NSW and OzHarvest (a meal delivery service), in addition to many other local nonprofits and community organizations.

University Study in Australia: University of Sydney

  • The University of Sydney is Australia's oldest and most prestigious university. It is ranked 38th in the world in the 2013 QS World Rankings and is consistently among the top three universities in Australia.
  • Students can choose from a full range of university course offerings. CESP students can take advantage of internship and research opportunities in addition to independent volunteering through campus life groups.


School for Field Studies Bhutan

  • Conduct research while trekking through the eastern Himalayas while learning about Bhutanese culture, Buddhism, and the diverse Himalayan ecosystem.
  • Take a hands-on approach to forest biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable development.
  • No language prerequisite; Semester and summer options available.


School for Field Studies Cambodia

  • Study the environmental dynamics of the Mekong River through professional level research skills. Examine the interaction between human life and the ecology of the river and region.
  • Work with local conservation organizations and government officials to understanding environmental ethics and natural resource management in protected forests.
  • No language prerequisite; Semester and summer options available.

South Korea

University Study in South Korea: Korea University

  • Korea University, located in Seoul, teaches many courses in English as a strategy to position Koreans for the global workforce; study abroad students take courses alongside Korean students.
  • An extremely broad range of courses offered, many focused specifically on Korea or Asia.
  • No prior Korean is required. Some additional courses available in Korean for students proficient in the language.


MSID—International Development in Thailand

  • Study international development in Thailand. All MSID programs require students to complete an internship or research project with a local nonprofit in your host country.
  • Students are able to count all 16 course credits toward CESP requirements. Students typically submit 150-200 hours from these programs. Sample tracks include Public Health, Social Service, and Sustainability & the Environment among others.
  • No language prerequisite.



Study Abroad in Denmark and Summer in Denmark & Sweden

  • Live and study in Copenhagen while taking a wide-breadth of classes in English. Classes available in a variety of disciplines from communication to public health.
  • Classes that are practicum or research-based and may fulfill CESP requirements. Many courses include excursions in order to allow students to see the industry at work.
  • Summer in Denmark & Sweden offers you the opportunity to explore one or both countries and build your summer experience abroad.
  • No language prerequisite.


Language & Culture in Southern France

  • Take courses alongside both French and international students in Montpellier, France. Students have access to coursework in the humanities and sciences as well as varying levels of French.
  • CESP students can choose to participate in a community engagement course and work with the various French charities and schools. Students with sufficient French language skills can enroll in the internship instead and have a wider selection of placements.
  • 2 semesters of college-level French required for semester/year. No language prerequisite for summer.

Teaching Practicum in France

  • Students earn credit towards their Minnesota Teaching Certification in Elementary Education while studying in this vibrant city with a centuries-old history of intellectual advances and social tolerance.
  • Examine French education practices and complete required teaching practicum hours through teaching English in a French school.


Study Abroad in Ireland, Dublin

  • Study Irish culture and participate in internships in Ireland’s urban capital. A wide variety of disciplines available at Dublin City University to supplement your internship or study center courses.
  • Several internships available at many small local organizations with a focus on education. Research opportunities are also available.

University Study in Ireland: University of Limerick

  • Live and study at the University of Limerick—one of Ireland’s most beautiful campus. Limerick offers a vibrant campus life and innovative academics.
  • Make connections with the local community through the UL Practicum course. With a team of students and staff, CESP students can design and implement a community engagement project. Research opportunities are also available.


Study & Intern in Florence

  • Experience Italian life and culture by taking courses and interning in the lively city of Florence. Courses have a strong focus on humanities and design coursework along with a local internship placement.
  • Past internships have spanned a variety of disciplines ranging from art to education to journalism. Inquire at the Learning Abroad Center to find a placement that works for your CESP requirement.
  • No language prerequisite.


Psychology & Research in Madrid

  • Study psychology and engage in research in Madrid—the charming capital of Spain. This program is geared toward Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Psychology majors and minors. Courses fulfill requirements in this major.
  • CESP students pursuing their Psychology degree can use their research to fulfill their requirements if the research has a direct link to a community organization.
  • No language prerequisite, but preference is given to students with two or more semesters of college-level Spanish. Completion of PSY 1001, BIOL 1009, or NSCI 1001 required.

Study & Intern in Madrid

  • Take courses and participate in an internship in Madrid—the charming capital of Spain. Courses available in a wide variety of disciplines as well as intermediate and advanced levels of Spanish language.
  • Students can pursue either English or Spanish language placements with local nonprofits in Madrid ranging from Accem (an NGO focused on social service) to the Association for Human Rights in Spain.
  • Two or more semesters of college-level Spanish required.

Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Study and improve your Spanish language skills in Toledo, Spain—a charming Medieval walled city. Students can take courses in several disciplines and participate in a local internship or community engagement.
  • In addition to several internship placements, CESP students have the opportunity to participate in a community engagement class focused on the immigrant experience in Spain. Students will work directly with several Toledo institutions that work with immigrant populations.
  • Four or more semesters of college-level Spanish required.


Study Abroad in Sweden and Summer in Denmark & Sweden

  • Study in Stockholm while taking English language classes in a variety of disciplines from Literature to Medical Practices and Policy.
  • CESP students may be able to complete research in partnership with a non-profit/ non-government organization (NGO), public agency, or community organization with the intent to address a social issue such as justice or human rights.
  • Summer in Denmark & Sweden offers you the opportunity to explore one or both countries and build your summer experience abroad.
  • No language prerequisite.

United Kingdom

Study & Intern in London

  • Call London your home as you take courses and participate in an internship facilitated by accomplished British faculty. Students can take courses in a variety of subjects from humanities to marketing.
  • Students can choose to focus on an internship with a local NGO or a community engagement opportunity. Unlike the internship, the community engagement experience will focus on serving local communities while reflecting on project goals in an academic setting.
  • Sample internships include community outreach opportunities like Naz Project London (an HIV/AIDS support charity) and nonprofits like Westminster Befriend a Family.

University Study in the United Kingdom: University of Glasgow

  • Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow consistently ranks as one of the UK's most highly-rated schools.
  • Students can take a wide variety of classes in a variety of disciplines available through the university. Strengths include history, sociology, and biology.
  • Students can pursue volunteer opportunities either through campus life or independently. CESP students may choose to fulfill requirements through independent research.

Additional Options to Consider

LAC Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over winter break or May session.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic, Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

LAC Freshman Seminars

  • Combine on-campus instruction during the spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break, on a 3 credits, 1xxx level Seminar.
  • Freshman Seminars Abroad are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad, an opportunity to explore an exciting location and topic, and likely fulfill a liberal education requirement.

Additional LAC Seminars

  • Check out additional LAC Instructor-led Seminars that might run over winter break, spring break, May, and summer sessions. They vary in length, dates, and content so students can find one that best fits their academic and professional goals.

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester-long program.