Key to Promoting Your Faculty-Led Program: Part 1

Here are some concrete ideas for how to promote a study abroad program, specifically a faculty-led study abroad program on your campus. This is Part 1 of a two part series. So stay tuned!

Market the program effectively - and often
Even if your program is a free, month-long trip to the Caribbean where students earn credit for sitting on the beach, they still won’t sign up unless they hear about it.

So, that is step one: getting the message out there.

Here are some great ways our partner institutions reach out to their students:
  • Email to majors,
  • email to all students,
  • email to a class,
  • email to all freshman,
  • student newspaper advertisement,
  • story with student newspaper,
  • table in high traffic area,
  • information sessions,
  • information table at lunch in high traffic area,
  • advertisements/posters throughout the university,
  • short presentation to your classes and other program-related classes,
  • advertisements in bathrooms,
  • hosting a table with dessert at lunch.

Whether you pick all or just a few of these strategies, it is a good idea to do them more than once. Students are receiving thousands of messages a day from different sources, so we can’t assume they will see or hear just one message.
Know what works at your institution
When considering the list above, think about what you have seen work at your institution. What do students talk about? Where do they go to find information? A quick way to find out the answers to these questions is to ask the students themselves. You can also stop by the Student Life office – it’s their job to know these answers, and they’ll probably have some new creative ideas.
At Willamette University in Salem, Oregon they have a Summer Opportunities Fair each fall that promotes study abroad, service and other programs that will take place the following summer. 

Promote yourself!
In all likelihood, you are going to be the face of the program. Don’t shy away from that – promote it! In our experience, students really respond well to a professor’s energy and interest in the programs. (Remember: they often trust people more than organizations.)

Don’t hesitate to share your own experiences in Ecuador or on a study abroad program in order to generate interest and excitement in this program. Our faculty directors tell us that one-on-one conversations tend to be the best ways to connect with students. They’re worth the time.

Engage former students
Students LOVE hearing from other students. They trust them. Even if you do not have students from your program, bring students who have already studied abroad elsewhere to talk about the benefits of their experiences. We find that you must make these students sit down together, preferably in an information session or other formal event. Just sharing contact information hasn’t worked well.

More ideas coming in Part 2!

We would love to hear what has worked for you! Please use the comments section below or email Stacy at