EF Education First Enters into Strategic Partnership with Colorado State University to Enhance Higher Education through Future-Ready Curriculum Initiative

28th November 2023
  • Colorado State University (CSU) to serve as official transcript, quality assurance and curriculum oversight academic partner for EF Study Abroad’s international higher education programming

  • EF Study Abroad working with CSU to develop a 12-credit, semester-long, multi-country sustainability-focused program that combines language learning, intercultural fluency through immersive in-class and in-the-field coursework across Colorado, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico

Cambridge, MA, and Fort Collins, CO, November 28, 2023 -- EF Education First, a global leader in education, language learning, and cultural exchange, today announced that Colorado State University would enter into a strategic partnership with the organization’s EF Study Abroad division, which is focused on offering today’s students curated programs that intentionally combine knowledge acquisition with an emphasis on skills building for the 21st century, equipping learners with the level of intercultural fluency that the world needs and we know employers are increasingly demanding.

The partnership between CSU and EF Study Abroad recognizes the critical role played by global study experiences in preparing students to undertake lives of purpose and meaning after they graduate from their home colleges and universities. To achieve these goals, the two institutions will harness their combined strengths in teaching and learning, enviable network of global partners and vast experience with the mobility of students and faculty to develop innovative study and immersive learning opportunities that will set a standard for academic and programmatic excellence.

As the keystone of this partnership, Colorado State University will serve as EF Study Abroad’s official school-of-record, providing transcript oversight and continuous quality assurance that attest to the academic rigor and integrity of EF Study Abroad’s programs.

“With Colorado State University’s partnership and oversight, EF Study Abroad students can be assured they’ll be enrolled in highly challenging and immersive education programs abroad that uphold the highest academic standards for undergraduate study,” said Christian Meyer, Executive Vice President, EF Study Abroad. “We face a future where higher education, especially in the United States, requires innovation to ensure that we are equipping tomorrow’s leaders with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to engage more thoughtfully with the world. The need to build the kind of career-integrated intercultural fluency that will, in turn, foster resilience, stimulate creativity, and facilitate cultural understanding is greater than ever before. CSU’s partnership with EF is an example of new ways we can offer students an education that is more relevant to their lives as global citizens. We deliver on this promise by combining the best of traditional academics, with immersive, hands-on, global experiences that help bring the lessons taught in the classroom, to life in the real world.”

“CSU is committed to ensuring all students have access to a globally relevant college curriculum, which is why we’re excited to partner with EF Education First,” said Kathleen Fairfax, CSU’s vice provost for International Affairs.“The combination of CSU’s academic excellence and credibility with EF’s programmatic reach and creative approaches to global learning represents a powerful partnership that can change the lives of thousands of students.” 

New Sustainability Semester to Launch in Fall Semester 2024

To illustrate this innovation in program design, Colorado State University is working with EF Study Abroad to co-develop the Global Challenge Semester, a 12-credit semester long comparative program of study focusing on sustainability. Open to students entering their first or second year of studies at CSU, and to eligible non-CSU students, this multi-country semester, entitled “A Pan-American Exploration of Identity, Expression, and our Sustainable Future,” will give students the tools and experience to better understand their impact as global citizens, at home and abroad.

On this program, students will have the opportunity for immersive in-the-field and classroom learning moments while exploring the cultures and diverse landscapes in Colorado, Costa Rica, Panama, and Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Students will learn from experienced professors from Colorado State University and the United Nations-chartered University for Peace, as well as experts from local communities, nonprofits, and businesses. Coursework will include:

  • Study Abroad – Latin America:  Create Your Story (3 credits): This course explores personal narratives as a tool to reflect upon the origin and ongoing development of your values, goals, and identities during your Education Abroad, and their impact on your academic and personal choices. We will investigate a variety of personal narratives from various cultures, creative nonfiction, and memoirs, as well as visual and oral narratives. You will explore how your story fits within potential programs of study at the university and beyond. 

  • Thinking toward a Thriving Planet: Creative Nature (3 credit): This course acknowledges that we, as human beings, are co-creators of a holistic planetary ecosystem. Wrapped into this mindset is an intrinsic desire to join with our more-than-human neighbors (rocks, plants, animals and elements) to shape a sustainable future for all living beings. The question becomes, how do we do this? What traditions, cultural practices and forms of communication inform our understanding of what it means to be in-reciprocity with the natural world? Throughout this course we will investigate these questions through a multicultural, multi-species and multidisciplinary lens. Via direct experience in-country, we will look to the art (visual and performing), literature and language of Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States to examine how environments and cultures interact and how that interaction might serve as a guide for fundamentally reimagining our planetary future. 

  • Global Studies (3 credits): Global Studies is a field that examines how people's experiences are interconnected across different countries and cultures. It draws from a range of subjects like science, history, and economics to help us understand the major forces shaping our lives and the world's future. The ultimate goal is to figure out how we can make the world a better place. In this course, we'll focus on two core themes: discovering different countries and understanding what it means to be a global citizen. We'll delve into science, history, economics, current events, and cultural understanding. Our central theme will be sustainable development. This involves balancing two pressing concerns: people worldwide striving for better lives and the urgent environmental challenges that call for a rethinking of our energy usage. Our journey will take us to CSU’s campus in the mountains of Colorado, as well as to Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico. In these diverse settings, we'll explore various cultures, each with its unique challenges and solutions. We'll learn how these communities are creatively addressing their issues and how we can collaborate to shape a better future. 

  • Sustainable Development and the Circular Economy (3 credits): This course includes an introduction to the Circular Economy concept. It provides an array of case examples, a solid framework, and guiding principles for implementing it. Ultimately, the Circular Economy is about the optimization of entire processes and systems rather than single components. The transition towards a circular economy is one of the biggest challenges we face to create a more sustainable society. This transition requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining socio-technical, managerial, and environmental considerations.

Course work will take places across numerous locations, including Colorado State University’s Mountain Campus; EF’s international language center in Tamarindo, Costa Rica; the campus of University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica; Panama City, Panama; and CSU’s Todos Santos center in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

CSU student participants in this Global Challenge Semester who meet the honor's admission requirements will be eligible to join the CSU University Honor's Program.  Non-CSU students who successfully complete the program will receive a full semester of credit on an official CSU transcript.

"Through our partnership with CSU, the Global Challenge Semester significantly advances higher education and is a perfect example of classroom and field-based learning at their best," added Meyer. "We know that for many of today's high school graduates, there are often limited options for immersive educational opportunities that challenge them to learn about the many issues and cultures within our world and about themselves as a global citizen. EF Study Abroad is all about working to provide another meaningful avenue for personal growth and engaged scholarship, especially for students looking for more innovative and immersive programs that facilitate learning through direct hands-on global engagement, in real time."

To learn more about the program, prospective CSU students can visit the following program page on CSU’s website. Non-CSU students can visit EF Study Abroad to learn more.

About Colorado State University

Colorado State University, one of the nation’s top-performing public research institutions, has 33,000 students, and annual research funding of more than $440 million. Founded in 1870 as Colorado’s land-grant institution, CSU’s is renowned for its world-class faculty and research and academic programs in infectious disease, atmospheric science, clean energy technologies, human and animal health, environmental science, global business and more. CSU graduates on average carry less student debt and are employed at a higher rate than their peers nationwide. www.colostate.edu

Media Contact

Brian Hoyt

EF Education First

+1 202 330 3070

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