Student in white shirt holding laptop in front of shrubbery
Features & Articles

Global Experiences Office reinvents study abroad

  • Global

In a world fueled by ideas flowing across borders and among people, a global mindset is essential for every student. That’s why Pitt’s Global Experiences Office (GEO) has reinvented its approach to study abroad and made it more personalized and accessible than ever before.

Relying on lessons learned from the pandemic, the University Center for International Studies team is leveraging Pitt’s successful move to remote learning to expand international offerings and build new experiences to fit a broad range of needs. The goal is to break down all barriers to cultural competence for every Pitt student.

“Immersive global experiences help Panthers gain new perspectives, see how ideas flow across borders and among people and prepare for the global workplace,” said Ariel C. Armony, vice provost for global affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies. “Now, students can broaden their perspective and develop career-ready skills anywhere — internationally, within the United States and its territories, even virtually. We’re lowering every barrier to a truly global education.”

The new set of programs offer real-world, cross-cultural experiences alongside options that range from international seminars to weeklong projects to virtual internships. Students can conduct onsite research, complete an international course virtually or supplement an on-campus class with a weeklong program in another city.

The Global Experiences Office also has resources to help students translate their global experiences into sections on a resume or standout answers in job interviews. At the end of a program, students can contextualize what they’ve learned and engage in additional global experiences, internships or projects that build on their first experience.

“From the minute students connect with the Global Experiences Office, they’ll have an extra advisor in their corner. We’ll make sure they’re prepared for a global experience before it starts,” said Jeff Whitehead, Global Experiences Office director. “Funding opportunities to help support virtual engagement, international and domestic travel, tuition and other fees also help make programming accessible to all students across Pitt’s four campuses.”

Some parts of study abroad have stayed the same: A summer spent in Peru or Paris is still an option. The Global Experience Office have already resumed select in-person programs, and it will continue to expand this list as the pandemic subsides.

And for the students in other countries who are still unable to travel to Pitt, the Pitt on Location program continues to bring the curriculum to them.

Most international programs and all of those offered across the U.S. are designed and led by Pitt faculty and expert practitioners and are designed to meet the high academic standards expected from an on-campus course.

“Flexibility and customization are at the core of everything offered. What’s more, students can stack courses and high-impact practices to earn a Global Distinction and have that credential reflected on their transcript,” Whitehead said. The Global Experiences Office team is extremely excited about the changes it has made during the pandemic and is ready to usher in a new beginning, global education for all.