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WISE 2015 Conference

Thursday and Friday, February 5-6, 2015

Pre-conference workshops: Wednesday February 4, 2015

Winston-Salem, North Carolina


WISE is the premier conference focused on the development of intercultural skills and awareness during study abroad and international travel. WISE is a practitioner’s conference focused on helping faculty leaders, program coordinators, and resident staff develop the knowledge and skills they need in order to help study abroad students develop intercultural skills and awareness.

WISE is designed for faculty who lead or teach short- or long-term programs abroad, and for study abroad professionals who assist students in this important cross-cultural experience.  It is a place where faculty, study abroad professionals, and other international education and assessment experts can share insights, strategies and personal experiences about intercultural competency in practical, hands-on sessions.

Why focus on intercultural skills and awareness? Many international educators share a common experience: once abroad, they discover that many of their students stay in a “study abroad bubble” and have a difficult time meeting and interacting with local people. They find that many students lack fundamental intercultural skills and are ill-prepared to interact effectively with their hosts. They wish they could help their students find better ways to take advantage of the numerous cross-cultural interactions that lie at the core of the overseas experience.

This conference aims to explore students’ intercultural learning abroad from a variety of angles.

The WISE 2015 Conference Committee invites proposals from faculty, education abroad professionals, and anyone interested in student learning during study abroad and other forms of international activities (internships, service-learning, service, research, etc.). Proposals are due by September 10, 2014. Visit the Call for Proposals page for details.

More information about the schedule and logistics for WISE 2015 will be posted here over the summer, so check back later for up-to-date information.


Quotes from past participants:

“The sessions I attended at the WISE conference were outstanding.  They were offered by seasoned professionals who understood the pedagogy and the practicality of taking students abroad.  I left each session with practical ways to think about engaging students academically and through hands-on experiences that will enhance student learning.  I will be incorporating many of the things I learned at the WISE conference in the global seminar I offer in spring 2014.”

– Nanette Hanks, Assistant Dean for Curriculum, College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Program, University of Minnesota


The WISE conference  is an excellent training opportunity for faculty and on-site directors who want to infuse their study abroad programs with activities and experiences that engage students deeply with culture. Participants leave the conference with strong theory about the importance of intercultural competency and greater knowledge about how to make it happen.”

– Amanda Kelso, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Executive Director, Global Education Office for Undergraduates, Duke University


“Participating in WISE 2012 helped to solidify some ideas about the benefit and value of pre-trip planning and post-trip debriefing and reflection to students’ study abroad experiences. I had been working with colleagues here at Elon University on designing a set of pre-trip activities for students in a graduate program who would later take an international service-learning course. The international experiences in this course is short—about 10 days—and thus demands that students “hit the ground running.” Our thinking was that any advance intercultural preparation work that we could facilitate as faculty leaders would be beneficial to the students during the in-county portion of the course. After spending two days at WISE learning about the experiences of other faculty, programs, and institutions, I was even more convinced that we were on the right track with our ideas. Our work here at Elon had, at the time, been mostly focused on pre-trip activities and preparation. My experience at WISE was instrumental in also helping me see that post-trip work with students involved with international experiences can be just as important to their academic—and intercultural—growth.”

Phillip Motley, Assistant Professor of Visual Communication + Interactive Media, Elon University