The Forum on Education Abroad: Bringing Meaningful Education Abroad Opportunities to All Students

Hispanic Community February 2024 PREMIUM

Guided by the Standards of Good Practice, The Forum on Education Abroad focuses on equity, diversity, and inclusion by promoting the development of culturally relevant study abroad programming through publications, courses, and events involving the expertise and perspectives of international educators across the sector. The Forum also encourages partnerships with in-country colleagues, aiming for mutually beneficial and culturally respectful education abroad experiences.


The Forum on Education Abroad is a non-profit, membership association. Our institutional members include U.S. colleges and universities, overseas institutions, consortia, agencies, organizations, and foundations committed to quality and continuous improvement in education abroad. We help our community achieve that by providing professional development, practical resources, thought leadership, and networking opportunities to all colleagues who contribute to education abroad, including faculty, college and university administrators, and staff at NGOs and private companies who operate education abroad programs or provide services that support and facilitate such programming. 

The Standards as a Roadmap for Quality Education

The Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad (2020) are our guide and foundation for this work. These standards are a comprehensive guide to implementing safe, academically rigorous, transformational education abroad programming; a translation in Spanish is also available. 

We are recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. Through these Standards and the activities conducted to disseminate them, The Forum makes a concerted effort to provide resources and creates spaces for professional growth and learning in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion and ethical and collaborative relationships with partner institutions and communities. In pursuit of this purpose, we help educators in our field actively support the inclusion, learning and development of students from minoritized and historically underserved communities in study abroad, including Hispanic/Latinx students, first-generation college students, and students who are immigrants or belong to immigrant families. We also strive to build partnerships with colleagues in-country to build and operate study abroad programs by valuing their expertise, respecting their culture(s), and connecting our students to people, places, and experiences that help them understand and respect the depth and diversity of their communities. 

Below, we share some resources and initiatives to advance our work and the work of international educators across our community in these key areas.

Education Abroad for Hispanic/Latinx Students

Under the Guiding Principle of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad encourage education abroad practitioners to do the following:

4.4.3. Each organization should develop structures to examine, identify, and address systemic biases and deficiencies in its policies, practices, and programs.”

4.4.6. Each organization should design its programs to provide opportunities for students to interact with broadly diverse peers, personnel, and members of local communities.”

For Hispanic and Latinx students, increasing access to education abroad can include strategies such as making more culturally relevant programs available in Latin America, where heritage-seeking students might prefer to study. Striving for an equitably beneficial education abroad experience for minoritized students also means a careful examination of the existing practices and programs to identify gaps and remedy shortcomings regarding student learning as well as whole-student health, safety, and well-being. 

Recent resources available to our community to support continuous improvement towards a more inclusive and equitable education abroad for Hispanic students include the following.

Translating Research to Practice for Latinx Students’ Study Abroad Experiences (Bingham, Smith, & Brunsting, 2023) in our academic journal Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad summarizes the extant research on the experiences of Hispanic and Latinx students studying abroad and translates that into practical ways practitioners can better engage and serve students belonging to this group in future programming.

Our professional development opportunities (both online and in-person) cover topics including supporting first generation students, asset-based pedagogy, and the intersection of mental health and equity, diversity, and inclusion. A forthcoming asynchronous course called Making Equity, Diversity and Inclusion the Standard will make modules on these topics and more available to colleagues interested in deepening their knowledge and putting it into action.

Study Abroad in Latin America

The Standards also remind us that for high quality education abroad programming, we should be guided by the following criteria:

4.2.1. Collaboration shall be based on mutual respect and be mutually beneficial.”

“4.3.6. Each organization shall promote respect for the cultures and values of all involved, including the communities from which the participants come and the communities in which they operate.”

Partnering with colleagues in-country is the best way to ensure the program is designed and executed to be culturally and contextually relevant and in ways that are beneficial to students and to local staff and communities. We apply this approach worldwide but find it especially important for programs in Latin America and the Global South. As less common destinations for U.S. education abroad, Latin American countries are sometimes susceptible to stereotypes or misunderstandings among students, their families, and other members of the campus community that may detract from interest in studying abroad in these locales. Program development and student recruitment that combat those stereotypes are essential for growing regional student mobility. It is invaluable to give students who study abroad in Latin America positive experiences that connect them with the diverse spectrum of people, communities, languages, cultures, environments, and economies that are present in the region while also affirming their own cultural and racial identities. Not only does it improve their learning trajectories, but it also contributes to a more enthusiastic and informed word of mouth that can help to attract more students towards the possibility of studying abroad in Latin America.

To learn more:

Voices from the South: Decolonial Perspectives in International Education (2023), edited by Andrea Rizzotti and Héctor M. Cruz-Feliciano, shares innovative strategies and best practice examples from authors working across Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico and beyond.

The Global Learning Launchpad is a community of practice that helps faculty teaching short-term education abroad to design culturally relevant courses and integrate critical reflection while building their network and improving the quality of teaching and learning in their programs. 

A recent Special Issue on Listening to and Learning from Partners and Host Communities: Amplifying Marginalized Voices in Global Learning, published by Frontiers, explores “processes for learning from and amplifying historically marginalized voices in global learning…[to contribute] to a more just, peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world. 

We’d Love to Learn Juntos

​The Forum and the international educators in our community accomplish these goals best when we engage the diverse perspectives and collective expertise of colleagues across our sector. Much of our work is accomplished through the support of committees, working groups, facilitators, peer reviewers, and volunteers. We welcome colleagues who are reading this profile to reach out to us to learn more about how to get involved!

About the authors

Dr. Amelia J. Dietrich is the Senior Director for Research and Publications at The Forum on Education Abroad, leading research initiatives and supporting publication of scholarship on maximizing the positive impact of education abroad for students, institutions, and communities. Previously, Amelia taught Spanish and linguistics at Penn State University.

Dr. Elizabeth Frohlich serves as Director for Resources and is involved in a wide range of resource development initiatives in support of the mission of The Forum. She manages the Forum Consulting program, works with the Annual and Europe, Africa, and Middle East (EMEA) Conference Committees to develop conference content, and leads The Forum’s sustainability efforts.

Annette Mares-Duran serves as the Membership Services Manager at The Forum. She is the primary liaison to current and prospective members and systematizes opportunities for members to engage with Forum resources and services. ​Previously, Annette was the Faculty-Led International Program Coordinator at the University of New Mexico. As a program leader, she facilitated group programs to Ecuador and Peru.


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