Beyond 2020: Innovative Practices for an Evolving Landscape
5th European Conference – Virtual
October 26-30, 2020

What is the future of education abroad in Europe? As a field, are we prepared for what’s to come? At the turn of the decade, let’s take stock of the realities of 2020—what’s working and what needs to change—and anticipate future developments.

How is the perception of U.S. education abroad in Europe evolving? How are the expectations of students, parents, partners, and other stakeholders changing with regard to education abroad, and how can we best respond to these changes? How can we adapt to challenges such as demographic shifts, varying enrollments, changing perceptions of value, resource challenges, and decreasing language study? Innovation will be key.

Timely updates, community building, hope—these are just some of the key takeaways that attendees left with from the 5th European Conference, held virtually from October 26-30, 2020.

Much like what the field of international education is currently experiencing, the 5th European Conference, which was planned to originally take place in Milan, Italy, went fully online with the spread of COVID-19. The silver lining of this change? Almost 240 conference participants were able to fully engage in high-quality programming and interact with colleagues from 16 countries without leaving their homes.

Thoughtful, Relevant Programming for a Field in Need

The theme for the virtual conference, Beyond 2020: Innovative Practices for an Evolving Landscape, was developed in Fall 2019 before the pandemic began, it couldn’t have been more timely. But once the coronavirus began directly affecting the field of education abroad, the committee wanted to do more. “We recognized the need to provide content that directly addressed COVID-19 response in the European context, and opportunities for attendees to connect and find support during difficult times,” said Forum Director for Programs and Resources Elizabeth Frohlich, Ph.D., who works with the European Conference Committee and co-presenter for the 5th European Conference.

So, the committee issued another call for session proposals in May 2020. The result? A fresh pool of strong proposals that focused on topics such as the impact of the pandemic, ongoing preparation and planning, and online global learning.

In addition to the new session proposals, the conference committee also incorporated new programmatic elements to provide opportunities for virtual connection, support, and networking, including Community Connections sessions in French, Spanish, and Italian, and European Country Updates for Spain, Ireland, France, and Czech Republic. Conference attendees also had the pleasure of creating a robust conference experience that included:

  • 3 Pre- & Post-Conference Workshops on How to Build a Responsive and Adaptive Emergency Action Plan, Student Learning & Development I: Advising & Orientations, and Mental Health Issues in Education Abroad
  • 41 concurrent sessions presented by 83 presenters that covered seven new tracks:
    • Career Development & Internships
    • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
    • The Forum on Education Abroad
    • Health, Safety & Wellness
    • Partnerships
    • Resident Directors & On-site Staff
    • Student Learning & Development

Opening Plenary by Amandine Gay

The conference began on October 26, 2020, with an introduction to the European Conference and the Opening Plenary, Traveling While Black in France: A Case Study to Improve All Students’ Stay in Europe, by award-winning French filmmaker and activist Amandine Gay.

President & CEO Melissa Torres introduced Amandine, and shared, “As education abroad professionals, we know it’s important to create a conversation and to build bridges between students’ experiences to those of their host communities. It’s especially important that we do that for Black students by connecting them to the history and the present-day realities of the people living in those communities.”

Amandine spoke openly about her personal experiences as a French Black woman studying abroad and traveling the world. “Studying abroad is a way to experience your identity in a new way,” said Amandine.

But her experiences abroad were not without some difficult, teachable moments. She stressed the importance of study abroad professionals needing to prepare their students for micro aggressions and more extreme forms of racism that they may encounter. “Warn students that they will hear things that they’re not used to hearing. They will hear things that will infuriate them and outrage them,” said Amandine.

She advised attendees to research European (and other) countries where they send students abroad to be knowledgeable of the current climate and figure out how to best prepare them for their experience abroad, then initiate conversations with students to ensure they feel comfortable and safe about their experience abroad. “Find ways to make study abroad terms moments of joy, discovery, and [where students] experience freedom and empowerment in discovering another country, culture, and themselves,” said Amandine.

Screenshot of Amandine Gay speaking as the plenary speaker for the virtual European Conference

About Amandine

Amandine is a French filmmaker, Afrofeminist activist, author, and scholar who defines herself as a political author. She regularly appears as a speaker on the topics of Afrofeminism, intersectionality, and adoption.

Amandine divides her time between research and creation as for her, reclaiming the narrative is an act of emancipation. Amandine’s first feature-length documentary, Speak Up, on European Black francophone women was released in France, Belgium, and Switzerland in 2017 and Canada in 2018. She is currently preparing a second documentary, A Story of One’s Own, is an archival film on transnational adoption from the perspective of five adult adoptees. It will be released this year.

Speak Up poster, written and directed by Amandine Gay

In 2015, she authored the preface of the first French translation of bell hooks’ seminal, Ain’t I A Woman. She is also a writer in several collective works: Black Anthology: Adult Adoptees Claim Their SpaceÉloge des mauvaises herbes: ce que nous devons à la ZAD or Décolonisons les Arts! This year, she signed with La Découverte editions, for the publication of her first book, an autobiographical essay on adoption.

Watch Amandine’s film, Speak Up:

Resources on Black Diasporas and Racial Issues Outside the US by Amandine Gay

Sessions = Opportunity for Learning & Connection

Tuesday through Friday of conference week was filled with concurrent sessions that highlighted one or multiple conference tracks. Tracks were new to the conference this year so that attendees could easily identify a selection of sessions that would deepen their knowledge around a specific aspect of education abroad.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 | 2 – 3:15 P.M.

Differences in Classroom Culture and Teaching Style as Tools for Critical Inquiry
Amanda Swain (IES Abroad); Brandi DeMont (University of Texas); Laura Colm (Bocconi University)

Leveraging Experiential Learning Opportunities in Europe and Around the World
Joyce A Steffan (The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business); Dominic DiCamillo (The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business); Carlota Navarro (We Find Group)

More Than Skin Deep: Supporting Students of African Descent Studying Abroad in Italy
Keshia N. Abraham (The Abraham Consulting Agency); Benedicta Djumpah (Temple University); Elena Dossetto (Host Family)

The Provider Perspective: Navigating Health, Safety, and Security Considerations in a COVID World
Bill Bull (CIEE); Amy Kuether (IFSA); Maureen Gordon (Arcadia University)

Resident Directors in Europe: Our Community, Our Contributions, and Our Challenges
Stephen Robinson (Champlain College Dublin); Kirk Duclaux (University of Oklahoma in Arezzo); Christine Kelly-Vereda (CASA – Granada)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 | 3:45 – 5 P.M.

Adjusting to Generation Z: A 360º View into Academic Internships Abroad
Carmeisha Huckleby (University at Albany, State University of New York); Almendra Staffa-Healey (EUSA Academic Internship Programs); Cristina Pérez Calleja (Boston University in Madrid)

Diversity & Inclusion at Your Institution: Innovative and Actionable Solutions
Rachel Mantiñán (Academic Solutions); Stephen K. Appiah-Padi (Bucknell University); Mercè Cuenca (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

EUASA and Study Abroad in Europe: Dealing with the pandemic now and tomorrow
Pia Katharina Schneider (Iowa State University of Science and Technology; EUASA, the European Association of Study Abroad); Hannah Hopkins Kilgore (Trinity College Dublin); Mónica Pérez-Bedmar (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Association of North-American University Programs in Spain [APUNE]); Alexis Phylactopoulos (College Year in Athens)

Generation Z and the Customized College Student
Jeremy R. Doughty (University Studies Abroad Consortium [USAC]); Irene Fanini (University Studies Abroad Consortium [USAC]); Simona Lai (University Studies Abroad Consortium [USAC])

New Standards and Code of Ethics for Education Abroad: Introduction and Recommendations for Use
Elizabeth Frohlich (The Forum on Education Abroad); Brian Brubaker (The Pennsylvania State University); Emily Gorlewski (Wesleyan University); David Wick (Middlebury Institute of International Studies)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 | 5 – 6:15 P.M.

An Open Forum on New Challenges in Education Abroad
Natalie A. Mello (The Forum on Education Abroad); Enda Carroll (University College Dublin); Alexandra Mitchell (CEA Paris); Stephen Robinson (Champlain College Dublin); Leo Rowland (SACI Florence); Martin Hogan, DIS Copenhagen)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28 | 2 – 3:15 P.M.

Building Bridges Within a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Context
Katie DeGuzman (Dickinson College); Francesco Burzacca (IFSA); Amer F. Ahmed (AFA Diversity Consulting); Julia Carnine (Dickinson in France)

Climate Action and International Education: Everything You Always Wanted to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask)
Elizabeth Frohlich (The Forum on Education Abroad); Adrienne Fusek (San Diego State University; Climate Action Network for International Educators [CANIE]); Noreen Lucey (HIE, Ireland); Stephen Robinson (Champlain College Dublin)

Ensuring HIPS Are Indeed HIP: How Do We Retain the “High Impact” in Virtual Global Internships?
Cynthia Engel (CEA Study Abroad); Alexandra Massini (CEA Study Abroad); Elisa Bracalente (St John’s University, Rome Campus)

Learning and Growing in Adversity: APUNE at the Helm while Navigating Uncharted Waters
Kim Griffin (PRESHCO: Programa de Estudios Hispánicos en Córdoba [Smith and Wellesley Colleges]); Amy Olson (Indiana University [Indiana-Purdue-Wisconsin Universities in Madrid]); Ibon Zamanillo (University Study Abroad Consortium USAC Bilbao); Teresa Nandín Vila (Boston College Barcelona)

Researching the Impact of COVID-19 on Staff Wellness: Initial Findings from Two Studies
Jeremy R. Doughty (University Studies Abroad Consortium [USAC]); Kerry L.B. Klima (California State University, Long Beach); 

Shifting the Discussion: Can and Should We Put the Brakes on Language Decline in Education Abroad?
Rosa Almoguera (EDUALAMO); Julie Leitman (Academic Programs International [API]); Yukiko Okazaki (Fundación Ortega-Marañón); Rosa Cuda (Middlebury School in Italy)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28 | 3:45 – 5 P.M.

Community Connection: European Universities

Country Update: France
Carol Huber

Innovations in Short-Term Faculty-Led STEM Study Abroad Courses
Weston Dulaney (Columbia State Community College); Robert Michael Darrell (Columbia State Community College); Minoo Askari (Pellissippi State Community College)

The Local Perspective: Is Study Abroad in Italy a True Success Story? Why and Where Next?
Sasha Perugini (Syracuse University); Portia Prebys (AACUPI); Fabrizio Ricciardelli (Kent State University)

More Than Just a Number: Understanding Student Mortality Abroad and How to Prepare/Respond
Amelia Dietrich (The Forum on Education Abroad); Stacey R. Bolton Tsantir (DIS-Study Abroad in Scandinavia); Dru Simmons (The Ohio State University)

Using Task-based Learning to Address the Challenges of Teaching a second Language Abroad
Claudia Cremasco (Academic Initiatives Abroad); Ilaria Borro (University of Portsmouth)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28 | 5:30 – 6:45 P.M.

Community Connection: Partnerships

Community Connection: Speakers of Spanish

Community Connection: Speakers of French

Community Connection: Speakers of Italian

Embodied Cultural Experience in Disembodied Sojourns
Milton J. Bennett (Intercultural Development Research Institute [IDRInstitute]); Ida Castiglioni (University of Milano Bicocca)

Expanding Experiential Learning and Local Community Engagement in Europe
Wesley Milner (University of Evansville); Eny Di Iorio (Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 | 2 – 3:15 P.M.

Community Connection: Resident Directors and On-Site Staff

The COVID-Tested Consortium: A Springboard into the Unknown Future of Education Abroad
Christine Kelly-Vereda (Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad [CASA]); Dorothy Kelly (University of Granada); Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco (University of Granada); Kendall Brostuen (Brown University)

Designing for Students’ Futures: Education Abroad and Global Career Readiness
Margherita Pasquini (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Carrie Prior Wojenski (University at Albany, State University of New York [SUNY]); Nannette Ripmeester (Expertise in Labour Mobility)

Instructional Design 101: A Guide to Moving In-Person Orientations to an Online Format
Lauren Stikeleather (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)

Navigating the Intersection of U.S. and International Laws for Study Abroad Programs in Europe
William Hoye (IES Abroad); Gian Franco Borio (Studio Legale Tributario Internazionale Borio); Lesley Melega (IES Abroad)

Transnational Blackness: A Conversation About Race and Racism Around the World
Keshia Abraham (The Abraham Consulting Agency); Carole Boyce Davies (Cornell University); Nicholas M. Bassey (Osgood Center for International Studies)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 | 3:45 – 5 P.M.

Country Update: Czech Republic
Richard Stock (CEA Study Abroad)

Country Update: Ireland
Janice Gaffey (EUSA Academic Internship Experts; ASAPI)

Country Update: Spain
Mónica Pérez-Bedmar (APUNE); Ignacio Messana (Florida State University)

How Do We Keep Target Language Learning and Immersion As a Core Mission in the Face of the Increasing Globalization of English-Only Programs?
Lynn Neddo (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Victoria Van Luit (CET Siena Program); Carol Huber (UNC in Montpellier)

Innovation in Short-Term Programming: Creating Faculty Collaboration Through Institutional Partnerships
Margherita Pasquini (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Jon Stauff (South Dakota State University); Carl A. Herrin (Worcester State University); Alejandra Yanez Vega (Universidad de Monterrey)

Closing Plenary by Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States

Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, served as the European Conference’s Closing Plenary, providing on overview of Ireland’s proactive approach to handling COVID-19 and highlighting how the country is keeping student health and safety top of mind now and in the future. “This pandemic has shown that this is a global problem, and it requires global solutions,” said Ambassador Mulhall. “It should encourage people to want to study in different parts of the world”.

Screenshot of Daniel Mulhall speaking during his closing plenary of the virtual European Conference

He enlightened attendees and left them with a sense of hope for what Europe, and Ireland specifically, are doing to handle COVID-19 and welcome international students back to Ireland. “Ireland ought to be a very attractive option for students because we have handled [the pandemic] very well, and we have the capacity to deal with these challenges,” said Ambassador Mulhall.

He highlighted students’ access to free medical care, single bedrooms at Irish universities, free transport from the airport to university as just some of the ways that the government prioritizes student health.

Ambassador Mulhall also shared how his eyes were opened when he studied abroad in the United States and Australia, and he hopes that students won’t stay home as a result of COVID-19. “One of the antidotes to isolationism is for students to travel around the world,” he said. “Study abroad is a positive good for anyone who has the inclination and the capacity—spending time abroad is really an important part of a student’s formation.”

Daniel Mulhall

About the Ambassador

Ireland’s 18th Ambassador to the United States since August 2017, Mulhall previously served as Ambassador to Malaysia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. During his diplomatic career, A

mbassador Mulhall also held a number of positions at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as Director-General for European Affairs and as a member of the Secretariat of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. He was part of the Irish Government’s delegation at the time of the Good Friday Agreement 1998. 

Ambassador Mulhall provides daily updates on all things Irish on his Twitter account @DanMulhall and posts regular blogs, including on James Joyce’s Ulysses, on the Embassy’s website. 

Learn more about Ambassador Mulhall.

Thank You!

The Forum thanks all the colleagues who virtually attended the 5th European Conference. “I hope that attendees appreciated the opportunity to come together at a moment of great challenge to find support and community,” Elizabeth said. “I also hope that we were successful in adapting the hallmarks of Forum conferences—deep discussion around substantive issues and practical takeaways—to address the unique challenges we’re facing at this time.”

The Forum is also grateful to those who dedicated their time to making the conference a success, including session presenters and our 18 European Conference Committee members.

Special thanks to our sponsors IES Abroad and CAPA for their support of the European Conference.

5th European Conference Committee:

Léa Dominque Senn, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, chair
Thea Favaloro, NYU Prague, AAUP CZ, past chair
Mark Barneche, Pepperdine University in Switzerland, AUCS
Carolyn Becker, Texas Woman’s University
Kim Cahill, Villanova University
Chris Carroll, Florida State University, Forum Council
Kurt Gamerschlag, CC CollegeCouncil gGmbH, AASAP e.V.
Heather Krog, Cultural Mentor & Inclusion Facilitator based in Denmark
Megan Leff, IES Abroad
Lisa McAdam Donegan, Johnson & Wales University
Stephen Murray, Georgia State University
Amalia Pérez-Juez, Boston University in Spain, APUNE
Sasha Perugini, Syracuse University in Florence, AACUPI
Loren Ringer, Parsons Paris, EUASA, APUAF
Stephen Robinson, Champlain College Dublin, ASAPI
Emily Schiavone, CEA Study Abroad Florence
Bruce Sillner, SUNY New Paltz, Forum Board of Directors
Ian Welsh, Harlaxton College, AASAP UK