Local Roots, Global Impact

Are you looking to reach beyond campus? Do you want your Arizona Experience to have an impact far wider than the city limits? The UA Office of Global Initiatives collaborates with organizations, institutions, faculty and others to develop unique ways to broaden your reach and grow your roots. 

As the University of Arizona works toward providing engaged learning opportunities for all students, UA Study Abroad has taken a leadership role in developing a diverse set of applied learning opportunities around the world. These programs take many forms, most notably: Service Learning, Field Schools, Internships, and Research. Each of these offers students the opportunity to experience their field of study in a hands-on way while abroad.

Service Learning

Service Learning is an integral component of the Office of Global Initiatives’ education abroad programming. As the world becomes ever more connected, exposure to global issues and contexts is increasingly important. Today’s students’ success will be marked by their global competence and how they function in multicultural settings. Service Learning is differentiated from volunteering and interning in both structure and focus. It includes components such as critical reflection and an integrative approach to community service domestically and abroad.  Students can gain hands on learning experiences in contributing to community programs in various fields, while working closely with local community partners and experts. Whenever possible, UA students participate in co-convened learning environments with local students in order to enhance peer-to-peer academic and cultural exchanges. Global Initiatives is committed to partnering with local community organizations and trusted partners on ethical and sustainable projects, as well as to the challenge of continually assessing and monitoring our impact both on campus and abroad. Students’ critical reflection on their own participation is a fundamental part of this commitment. Participating students reflect on their experiences throughout their programs by journaling, discussion, and other activities. The outcome is that students not only mature in their thinking about global issues, but are also better able to navigate socio-cultural environments. Service learning is an enriching opportunity for students to earn credit while growing their knowledge on international matters.

In today’s global economy, students need to present a more dynamic background to prospective employers. Not only does Service Learning enhance a student’s personal growth, it makes them more competitive among peers entering the global workforce. While students can gain a more authentic immersion experience in countries abroad, for various reasons, not all can go abroad. Global Initiatives is working with local organizations involved in international activities to provide opportunities for UA students to engage with these issues, regardless of their ability to travel beyond Tucson. Currently, Global Initiatives is working with a network of refugee organizations to develop internship and volunteer opportunities that can provide global learning, locally. ​

The UA currently offers Service Learning programs in several locations including Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala

Accelerated Public Health in Cusco, Peru, combines core coursework with service learning to help students build a strong commitment to community service and social responsibility, and equip health professionals with community-oriented competencies necessary to practice in today’s changing world of public health. Students involved in this program learn about Peruvian healthcare while serving the local community on topics related to nutrition, respiratory health, clean water, and sustainability.


Internship programs offer students the opportunity to gain professional experience during their time abroad. This allows students to gain highly-valuable global experience that is vital in today’s global workplace. Internships are offered in business, health, STEM fields and others.

The Australian National University is one of Australia's leading national universities, and ranked amongst the top 100 in the world.  The Australian National Internships Program (ANIP) gives Australian and International undergraduate and postgraduate students an opportunity to work at the heart of Australian policy and politics.  The elite program arranges 13 week research-orientated internships at a variety of Canberra and NSW locations.  Interns develop career and research skills while building professional networks that can give them an advantage in a competitive employment market.

Field Work

Field Schools provide a chance for students to conduct  hands-on field work. The primary objective of field schools is to provide students with opportunities to apply their classroom learning in a field-based setting, particularly in the areas of archeology or environmental and cultural resource management. The UA currently offers field schools in Italy, Australia, Egypt, Namibia and Rwanda.

Desert Ecology and Conservation Biology in Namibia provides an opportunity to conduct hands-on field research while learning about different ecosystems, their conservation status and management options within the Namibian context.  Students experience Namibia’s extraordinary natural beauty by visiting field research stations, reserves, national parks and conservation organizations.

The Arizona in Italy Archeological Excavation is a unique 4-week summer opportunity that allows students to actively participate in the Campo della Fiera Field School outside of Orvieto. The excavation examines ancient Etruscan artifacts, including buildings, tombs and roads. It is an excellent introduction to archeological digs and tremendous experience for more advanced students.


Research opportunities allow UA students to take their lab-based research methods and experience and apply them in a global context. This allows students to understand the cultural, societal and historical differences of a particular region. The UA currently has 12 research programs in fields from Computer Science to Environmental Studies.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offered through the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH-Aachen) is designed to give students hands-on experience with a research team in fundamental engineering projects at one of the top universities of science and technology worldwide. The program consists of two weeks of intensive language training and eight weeks of work on the assigned project. Scholarships and local excursions are offered. Through these experiential learning program models, students develop an understanding of global issues and worldwide impact of individual and systemic actions while respecting diverse viewpoints. As part of UA Study Abroad's commitment to 100% Engagement, Global and Intercultural Comprehension will be at the heart of the curriculum and assignments throughout these programs.