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Capacity Building

Activities intended to increase the ability of a community, organization or other entity to use resources effectively, host international students, or reach other goals.

Carbon Credit

The value associated with the output of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide, approximately one credit being equivalent to one ton of carbon or carbon dioxide output. Governments or other institutions can attempt to calculate the number of carbon credits related to an activity and “purchase” the credits that offset the carbon output.

Carbon Footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gases emitted directly or indirectly through any human activity, typically expressed in equivalent tons of either carbon or carbon dioxide.

Carbon Offset

The decrease of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in one place in order to “offset” GHG emissions occurring elsewhere, where it is less feasible technically or economically to do so.

Career-Integrated Global Learning

Education abroad programs or program components that emphasize or incorporate professional exploration related to a student’s future career path. In addition to internships and related terms, such as cooperative education (co-op) and work integrated learning (WIL), career-integrated global learning can also include industry-based projects, case studies, entrepreneurship initiatives, job shadowing, micro-internships, competency-based modules, and workplace simulations. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(or CDC) – An agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that cooperates with state health departments, health authorities in other countries, and international health agencies to provide information, combat disease, and promote health. Education abroad professionals widely use its international travelers’ health information.

Certificate of Eligibility

A document issued by a consulate stating that an applicant is eligible to be issued a visa.


relating to activities or events that complement or enhance curricular (3.9) goals (3.17)

  • Note 1 to entry: Co-curricular activities are typically non-academic in nature but relate other activities and experiences to the established curriculum or pedagogy.

Community Engagement

or Community Engaged Learning. A course, internship, program or experience that enhances academic learning through reciprocal relationships with communities that offer opportunities to advance critical thinking, develop civic skills, and address public problems.

Community Engagement Experiences

Is used as the umbrella term for all community engagement, including service-learning and volunteer programs or smaller components of an education abroad program of any type.


The cluster of skills, abilities, habits, character traits, and knowledge a person must have in order to perform effectively within a certain environment. Competencies are demonstrated through behaviors and can be developed though training and individual effort.

Consortial Agreement

(or Consortium Agreement) – A written agreement between entities that are eligible for (U.S.) Federal Student Aid (FSA).


A group of institutions and/or organizations that share one or more education abroad programs within a membership group in order to provide greater access, quality control, and/or cost efficiency in education abroad programs to students. Members of the consortium share fiduciary, liability, promotional, and/ or oversight responsibility for the program(s).

Continuing Education

education available to adult, part-time students (3.45)

Contractual Agreement

A written agreement between two entities that explains the terms and conditions surrounding the exchange of goods and services between those entities.

Conversation Partner Program

(or Conversation Exchange or Intercambio) – An arrangement through which native speakers of two languages are matched in pairs or small groups for the purpose of language practice and cultural exchange. In the study abroad context, this typically means matching a study abroad participant with a member of the host community who wants to learn the participant’s language.

Coordinating Organization

The institution or organization responsible for organizing and arranging the service/community engagement opportunities; this can be a college or university, a program provider organization, or an in-country NGO

Cost of Attendance

(or Student Budget) – A budget showing the total direct and indirect cost for student participation in a particular study abroad program. It itemizes the total into tuition and/or other instructional costs, books and supplies, room and board, transportation to and from the site, daily living expenses, visa fees, and other required expenses. The budget indicates which items are included in the program fee and estimates the costs not included in the program fee. Vacation travel or other leisure extras are not included.

Country-Specific Information

(formerly known as Consular Information Sheet) – One of three types of travel information issued by the U.S. State Department. Country-specific information is issued and periodically updated for every country in the world, and includes information on health and safety, crime, drug laws, basic visa requirements, standard of living, and the nature of the government and economy. For some countries or regions, Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings are also issued, indicating greater potential risk.


unit of instruction

  • Note 1 to entry: In this document, course does not refer to a full degree program.


unit that colleges and universities use to record the successful completion of courses (3.5)

Credit Conversion

The process of determining the number of credits an institution should award to a student for courses taken abroad or at another U.S. institution with a different credit system (for example, quarter credits can be converted to semester credits, or European credits to U.S. credits).

Credit Transfer

process by which credit (3.6) earned during education abroad (3.11) is transferred, approved, accepted, or otherwise validated by the institution (3.24) from which a student is seeking a degree

Critical Incident

any actual or alleged event or situation that creates a significant risk of substantial or serious harm to the physical or mental health, safety, or well-being of a participant (3.31) that requires a response by program personnel (3.34) or first responders, or an event that prevents a participant (3.31) from successful participation in the program (3.40)

  • Note 1 to entry: This definition is adapted from the North Dakota Department of Human Services Medical Services Division. [2]
  • Note 2 to entry: Critical incidents under this definition should not be confused with critical incidents in education, which refer more generally to experiences which cause stress and can serve as “teaching moments.”

Cultural Immersion

A sojourner’s engagement with and interaction in a host culture, with the goal of extensive involvement with host culture members.

Cultural Informant

A person who is highly self-aware of his/her own cultural values, norms, and appropriate behaviors and who understands the nuances well enough to express this knowledge to others who are less familiar with the culture.

Cultural Intelligence

(or CQ) – The ability to cope with, make sense of, and integrate oneself into unfamiliar cultures, be they national, ethnic, corporate, vocational, etc. Cultural intelligence has cognitive, behavioral, and affective dimensions. The concept comes from organizational and managerial theory.

Cultural Tourism

Tourism, or travel for pleasure, in which the traveler’s motivation is to learn about and experience the tangible and intangible cultural characteristics of the host location. (Adapted from the United Nations World Tourism Organization)


relating to expectations and requirements for a program of study


1) A set of expectations and requirements for an overall program of study. 2) A collection of course offerings for a specific program of study (such as a degree program or a study abroad program).

Curriculum Enhancement

An institution’s use of education abroad to enhance its academic range by offering courses not available on the home campus.

Curriculum Integration

Incorporating coursework taken abroad into the academic context of the home campus. It involves weaving study abroad into the fabric of the on-campus curriculum through activities such as course matching, academic advising, departmental and collegiate informational and promotional materials, and the structuring of degree requirements. It often requires the review of coursework by the home institution’s academic departments.

Custom Program

(or Customized Program) – A study abroad program administered by a program provider organization according to specifications of a college, university, consortium, or other group.