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who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others

  • Note 1 to entry: As defined by the Cambridge Dictionary. [5]

Immersion Program

An informal term for a program that integrates students into the host culture to a substantial degree. Includes integrated university study programs and some varieties of field study programs.

In Loco Parentis

A doctrine positing that, in the case of residentially based higher education, a special relationship exists between the institution and the student that even exceeds that which landlords traditionally owe their tenants (in loco parentis means literally “in place of parents”), In this view, institutions have a duty to foresee, and help avoid, harm to their students. The doctrine fell out of favor in the 1960s but is making a small comeback. Courts now generally accept the idea that, at the very least, colleges and universities owe their students a safe environment.


active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity (3.10) —in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions

  • Note 1 to entry: As defined by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). [3]


intentionally engaging with diversity (3.10)

  • Note 1 to entry: See also: inclusion (3.22).

Inclusive Excellence

The recognition that a community or institution's success is dependent on how well it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni constituents. Making excellence inclusive is the Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U's) guiding principle for access, student success, and high-quality learning. It is designed to help colleges and universities integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations.

Independent Study Abroad

1) A research project or other individualized project that a student pursues overseas. This may be offered as part of the curriculum on an overseas program, or the student may be doing the project independent of a program. 2) Study abroad programs undertaken by students that are not part of their home university’s officially approved study abroad offerings. (This phenomenon goes by various other names, such as “study on an outside program” or “study on a non-affiliated program.” Institutions have different policies about this and different terminology).


entity that provides education as its main purpose, including, but not limited to, a school, college, university, or training center

  • Note 1 to entry: Such institutions are often accredited or sanctioned by the relevant national, regional, or discipline-specific education authorities or equivalent authorities. Educational institutions may also be operated by private organizations, including, but not limited to, religious bodies, special interest groups, or private educational and training enterprises, both for-profit and non-profit.
  • Note 2 to entry: Adapted from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. [6]
  • Note 3 to entry: An institution may be referred to as an organization (3.28), but not all organizations are institutions.

Institutional Aid

Financial aid funded by a college or university.

Institutionally Administered Program

A program for which the full scope of operation is the responsibility of a U.S. college or university. This includes managing the U.S.–based operations of the program (such as advising, marketing, student selection), overseeing the on-site operation of the program (such as instruction, housing, student support, grade report production), and cultivating and maintaining all of the relationships involved in managing the program. In some cases, other partners may be involved in providing some of the services (for example, an independent provider might provide housing or instruction). The term Sponsored Program, though a synonym, is used differently by some institutions.

Integrated University Study

A study abroad program type in which the predominant study format is participation in regular courses alongside degree-seeking students from the host university. May be either via Direct Enrollment or enrollment facilitated by a study abroad provider organization.


In the most general sense, the degree and frequency with which education abroad students are immersed in the host culture and society. See Cultural Immersion below). With regard to Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), integration refers to the Ethnorelative stage in which learners internalize bicultural or multicultural frames of reference, maintaining a definition of identity that is “marginal” to any particular culture, and where they see themselves as “in process.”


The dynamics involved when people with different lived experiences (cultures) interact. The meaning of this term is derived directly from its components: “culture” and “inter.” Culture is considered to reflect the lived experiences of an individual based on associations with a language, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc. “Inter” refers to between. Although in everyday use “intercultural” is often treated as a synonym for Cross-Cultural, this is not entirely accurate.

Intercultural Communication

1) How people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate with each other. 2) The field of study that attempts to understand how people from different cultures communicate with each other, and which emphasizes the development of Intercultural Communication Competence. Sometimes used synonymously with Cross-Cultural Communication.

Intercultural Competence

(or Intercultural Communication Competence) – The ability to relate and communicate effectively when individuals involved in the interaction do not share the same culture, ethnicity, language, or other common experiences.

International Education

1) A field involved in facilitating and supporting the migration of students and scholars across geopolitical borders. Professionals involved in this field may be employees of educational institutions, government agencies, or independent program and service providers. This may include, but is not limited to (on U.S. campuses), support for matriculating and exchange students from countries outside the United States, instruction in English as a second language, international student recruitment, assessment of non-U.S. higher education credentials, student services for postgraduate research students and fellows, facilitation of education abroad for U.S. students, and (outside the U.S.) support and services for visiting U.S. students. 2) The knowledge and skills resulting from conducting a portion of one’s education in another country. As a more general term, this definition applies to international activity that occurs at any level of education (K-12, undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate).

International Educational Exchange

The migration of students (secondary, undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate) and scholars between educational institutions in different countries. A narrower usage of the term “exchange” refers to reciprocal agreements that allow students, faculty, or staff to spend a specified period of time at institutional partners of their home institutions

International Experience

Any opportunity, credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing, undertaken by a student outside his or her home country.

International Health Insurance

An insurance policy that covers medical conditions when one is abroad If the student does have health insurance (either through their parents or home institution), the policy may or may not provide coverage in other countries, and it may or may not cover certain types of expenses, such as evacuation or repatriation. Special health insurance for students pursuing education abroad, as well as for non-students, is available from numerous companies. It may be purchased by individuals, or by an institution as a group policy in which individual students from that institution may enroll. Such policies are meant to provide coverage outside of the home country where a traveler’s regular health insurance may not be applicable and to provide coverage in the event that medical evacuation or repatriation of remains becomes necessary. Most policies specifically for health insurance abroad have a home-country exclusion, as well as many other exclusions (for example, for preexisting conditions).

International Program

1) Any university/college activity, credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing, with an international dimension (for example, non-credit-bearing study tour, credit-bearing study abroad program). 2) An education abroad program. 3) An administrative and/or academic unit responsible for global efforts (for example, Office of International Programs).

International Relations

(or International Studies or Global Studies) - An interdisciplinary field of study (historically, often considered an extension of political science but more often embracing many disciplines) that studies foreign affairs, relations among state and non-state actors, and other transnational social phenomena (globalization, terrorism, environmental policy, etc.).

Internationalization at Home

Efforts to internationalize a university’s home campus so that its students are exposed to international learning without leaving the home campus.

Internationalizing the Curriculum

A movement to incorporate international content throughout an educational institution’s curriculum.


A form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and competency development in a professional setting (NACE 2018). Attributes of an internship include: 

  • practical experience 
  • training opportunity 
  • extension of academic studies 
  • exposure to a professional setting 
  • dedicated workplace supervisor 
  • mentor or resources during program 
  • ongoing feedback from supervisor and mentor 
  • assessment and certification at conclusion 
Note 1 to entry: Variations on the term internship and extensions of the methodology include cooperative education (co-op), work integrated learning (WIL), work-based learning, practicum, field work, traineeship, convention de stage, placements, apprenticeship, and training programs.  Note 2 to entry: Internships are considered high-impact practices. 

Internship Abroad

An experience in a professional setting that takes place outside of the country in which a student’s home university is located. This professional, practical experience is viewed as an extension of coursework and an opportunity for training or professional exploration related to a student’s future career path.

Internship Coordinator

An individual, usually a resident in the host country and often employed by the [glossary]coordinating organization[/glossary] or institution, who assists education abroad students with locating internship placement opportunities. The coordinator usually determines whether the internships offer meaningful responsibilities, include appropriate supervision and direction, and encourage significant international and intercultural learning.

Internship Site

Workplace where the student completes their internship; also called Internship Placement or Host Organization.

Internship Supervisor

Professional employed by the [glossary]internship site[/glossary] who is responsible for overseeing the work and training of an intern in their workplace and for reporting back to the [glossary]coordinating organization[/glossary] or institution regarding the student's progress. Also called workplace mentor or host organization supervisor.  


(or Institutional Review Board) – A committee, common within many U.S. higher education institutions,dedicated to the approval, oversight and review of research conducted by students, faculty or staff who are in any way affiliated with the university. These boards are concerned primarily with the protection of human and animal research subjects and the assurance that all research is conducted in an ethical and legally compliant manner. Researchers commonly submit a proposal to IRB for approval before beginning their work.

Island Program

An informal term for a program whose pedagogy formally includes little cultural immersion, such as a program in which home-campus students live together and home-campus faculty instruct them in facilities owned by the home campus. Usage of this term is declining because of pejorative connotations.