Getting Students to Participate in Study Abroad


Recruiting students for a study abroad program
involves communicating the program benefits
effectively and addressing potential concerns.

 The first question students ask: “Any financial aid available?” 
The answer is YES!

  Here is a list of Financial Aid resources.

Academic Benefits

Emphasize how the study abroad program aligns with academic goals and enhances the students’ overall educational experience.

Showcase unique courses, research opportunities, or academic resources available at the destination.

Illustrate how studying abroad can enhance students’ resumes and make them more competitive in the global job market.

Provide examples of alumni who have successfully leveraged their study abroad experience in their careers.

Social Media

Leverage social media platforms and the college’s website to share engaging content about the study abroad program.

Create online forums or groups where interested students can ask questions and get support from peers who have already participated.

If possible, create a landing page so students reading about the program on social media can ascertain more information about the program.

Career Fairs

The University has at least two study abroad fairs each year.  These are priceless opportunities to meet students and sell you program.

The greatest benefit is in collecting names and email addresses of interested students so that you can contact them with updates about your program.

Use these sessions to understand student motivations. Ask students why they might be interested in studying abroad (e.g., cultural immersion, academic pursuits, personal growth, career advancement). Later, you can tailor your recruitment message accordingly.

Information Sessions

Conduct information sessions to provide detailed insights into the study abroad program, including destination details, academic structure, and logistical information.

Host workshops on preparing for the cultural aspects of studying abroad and navigating potential challenges.

Don’t forget to talk up the program in individual sessions with students.  Encourage students to discuss their study abroad aspirations during office hours or advising sessions. Offer personalized guidance and address specific concerns.


Partner with faculty from other departments or colleges who share relevant expertise or connections to the program’s location.

Leverage university resources by working with the study abroad office in the International Center to access resources and expertise.

Seek endorsements from relevant departments, such as CML, or departments interested in international studies.

Classroom Outreach

Visiting classrooms and giving a short speil about your program is an excellent way to get the word out about your program.  Be sure to take some brochures or flyers to hand out to interested students. 

For online classes, a short video on your program is a good idea.

Don’t overlook student organizations as a resource. Perhaps arrange to be a guest speaker at a meeting. 

Be on the ready for a Q&A session at any time.

Identify Target Groups

Focus on students whose academic interests align with the study abroad program’s location and curriculum. 


Consider factors like language skill requirements and existing international partnerships.

Much of who you wish to recruit depends on the course(s) involved. Be clear on whether you want grad students, undergrads, specific majors, and so on. In other words, know your audience.

Promote the Location

You chose the destination you chose for a reason. Brag about the cultural richness, the language opportunities, the possible career advancement opportunities, and the natural beauty of the environment.


Don’t forget to to assure students of the safety of the location: healthcare and other amenities. 


Emphasize the global perspective they will develop, and how the experience will broaden their understanding of the world.

Engage Alumni

Involve alumni who have participated in study abroad programs.  And don’t forget to invite last year’s participants to help you recruit for this year. They are the best recruiters. Have them share their experiences and encourage current students to take advantage of this opportunity. 


If you have contacts in the host country, leverage relationships with alumni groups overseas to help recruit international students into your program.

Marketing Materials

Clearly communicate the academic, cultural, and personal development opportunities offered by the program. Emphasize unique aspects like research projects, internships, or field trips.

Show, don’t tell: Use engaging visuals like photos, videos, and testimonials from past participants to bring the program to life. 


Include details on accommodations, excursions, and support services available during the study abroad experience.

Financial Information

Address concerns about the cost by providing information on available scholarships, grants, or financial aid for study abroad programs.


Break down the costs and compare them to the potential benefits and experiences gained.


Consider being flexible, such as  offering shorter trip durations or alternative program formats (e.g., virtual exchanges) to cater to diverse student needs and schedules

Early Planning

Start promoting the program well in advance to give students sufficient time to plan and address any logistical concerns. That means that you need to start planning this summer for a program next summer.


Establish clear communication channels for answering questions and providing ongoing support. 


Get your chair onboard early and mention the idea to your faculty colleagues.  Get everyone thinking about your program.