Global Tracks Create Academic-Focused Opportunities Abroad

Feb. 17, 2022

Now students can plan ahead for study abroad with clear pre-approved courses for their major or minor.



The University of Arizona offers academic experiences in more than 60 countries around the world. By planning ahead and working closely with their Study Abroad Coordinator and Academic Advisor, students can ensure that the courses they take while abroad satisfy requirements toward their UArizona degree.

In many cases, students take second language and general education courses abroad. Now, with pre-approved major and minor courses students have more options to satisfy degree requirements.

logo - A globe with paw prints and the words Global Tracks

The UA Study Abroad team has collaborated with faculty and academic departments at the University of Arizona to create 15 Global Tracks that help students overcome academic barriers when deciding to study abroad.

A Global Track is a document that outlines a study abroad program and highlights specific courses that are preapproved by an academic department. The goal is to make students feel encouraged and supported by their major department and help them plan in collaboration with their academic advisor. The University of Arizona currently offers 15 Global Tracks and is developing more.

"When students know they have an affordable program with curriculum pre-approved by their major department as an option, it makes the decision to study abroad that much easier," said Mariah Nunes, manager of curriculum integration for study abroad at Arizona Global.

The goal is for colleges and departments to view this as an opportunity to encourage students to study abroad, promote the majors or minors in general, and simplify the course approval process for academic advisors each time a student starts an application.

Nunes uses the “Five F’s of Study Abroad” as a basis for addressing student concerns when deciding whether or not they will study abroad. The five primary barriers students must overcome during their decision-making process are:

  • Finances
  • Academic Fit
  • Friends and Family
  • Faculty and Advisor Support
  • Fear

Nunes was recently published in Academic Advising Today where she discusses the role of academic advisors in helping students overcome the Five F’s of Study Abroad. In the article, Nunes and co-author Allison Ewing-Cooper, director of academic advising and student success in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, note that at the same time as being a barrier, academic fit was the second most selected reason why students studied abroad, after wanting to live and travel internationally.

The new Global Tracks developed at the University of Arizona show students how study abroad classes fit into their graduation plans by providing clear examples of student schedules and how abroad classes fulfill specific degree requirements, and by building a study abroad semester into a student’s individual plan. For students concerned about graduating in a timely manner, some never consider studying abroad because they fear it will delay graduation. Global Tracks help students see how classes fit into their academic plan. In this way, a study abroad program can make a major more attractive, because students understand that they can still graduate in four years and can see how the study abroad classes will fulfill degree requirements.

Global Tracks are a streamlined way to immediately provide relief to the “academic fit” barrier students face and may even provide an additional sense of encouragement to students to help them take that next step and open an application or meet with a study abroad peer advisor.

Global Tracks are customizable to each department’s needs. Some may include a full four-year plan, whereas others simply outline study abroad courses and their UArizona equivalents.

There are currently 15 Global Tracks supporting 10 majors, and more are projected to be added before the end of the Spring 2022 semester.

Arizona Global is currently building a Global Tracks webpage that will provide information for students and academic advisors in one central location. Content surrounding each Global Track will be curated in collaboration with the academic department it represents with the goal of providing information to students from both supporting parties involved in a student's study abroad application process: their academic advisor and study abroad coordinator.

“As we continue developing Global Tracks we are attempting to reach students from areas that historically may have had low study abroad participation such as STEM majors," said Nunes. "It’s important that we work towards ensuring students even in highly structured majors that there are still options for them and that they have the support of their academic department.”

Global Tracks were introduced to students for the first time at the Spring 2022 Study Abroad Fair on the UArizona Mall.

"The Study Abroad Fair was when I realized just how important a student resource Global Tracks are," said Courtney Manker, operations coordinator in the Advising Resource Center. "Seeing students' excitement when they visited the table and found a study abroad trip that would fit with their major was truly the highlight of the fair for me. Students would hear about Global Tracks from other tables and would stop by, hoping to find a study abroad fit that could help make their dream of studying abroad a reality.”

Advisors love how streamlined and accessible Global Tracks are. They provide a perfect starting point for helping students think about how their study abroad experience could fit with their major.

Harmony DeFazio, executive director of UA Study Abroad, is excited about the opportunity Global Tracks have created for collaboration with faculty and academic departments across campus, and with colleagues and programs at locations around the world.

“Global Tracks are a fantastic tool to help students understand that studying abroad is possible, whatever their academic goals may be,” said DeFazio. “Faculty and advisors are excited to be able to offer clearly delineated pathways within majors and minors that students can understand and follow, and that help them plan and experience study abroad in the most rewarding way.”

Explore UA Study Abroad Global Track Majors.
Click for a downloadable PDF:

Global Studies Majors:

Interested in exploring Global Tracks to complement your major/minor? Email Mariah Nunes.

Want to explore all of your study abroad options? Start your journey here.

Faculty: Want to begin offering a Global Track for your UArizona students? Reach out to Mariah Nunes at Arizona Global.