Showcasing the Best in Originality, Creativity, and Exceptional Ideas for International Education

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As the leading resource for meaningful travel, GoAbroad is pleased to present annual awards for innovation in international education. The winners are selected by a prestigious and selective group of international educators known as the GoAbroad Innovations Academy. Award recipients are announced each year during GoAbroad’s reception at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference.

The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge institutions, organizations, and individuals who are creating initiatives to move the field of international education forward, and to commend leaders in the community for their efforts to go beyond the conventional.


The GoAbroad Innovation Awards are divided into the following categories:

  • Innovation in Diversity : Established leader in the area of diversity
  • Innovation in Marketing & Digital Media : Creative and groundbreaking marketing
  • Innovative New Program (Internship, Study Abroad, Volunteer) : Inventive global programs
  • Innovative Technology : Technological advancement towards education
  • Innovation in Sustainability : Commitment to environmental conservation and/or sustainable community development projects
  • Student Video : Captures the true essence of international education
  • People’s Choice : Nominated by advisers, chosen by students
  • The STA Travel Start the Adventure Award : Recognizes an individual making travel more accessible to student and youth travelers, sponsored by STA Travel
  • Innovation in Philanthropy (sponsored by the GoAbroad Foundation) : Exceptional corporate responsibility and philanthropy
  • NEW! Innovation in Alumni Engagement : Acknowledges pioneers in offering productive re-entry programming for past participants

Nominations are evaluated on their originality, creativity, and contribution of exceptional ideas. An institution or organization may nominate themselves. We encourage your organization and participants to apply for these prestigious awards.


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Award Details

1. Innovation in Diversity

This award recognizes strategic efforts to expand global educational opportunities to traditionally underrepresented groups. We encourage submissions from entities focusing on a wide variety of diverse communities including LGBTQ, mobility, ethnic minority, and other non-traditional populations. Nominations are evaluated on their creativity and scope to promote, provide equal access, and give specialized support to these groups.

2. Innovation in Marketing & Digital Media

This award recognizes a creative and groundbreaking marketing, advertising, or digital media campaign. Special attention will be paid to visionary approaches and original ideas within the field of international programming. Your submission must detail a specific outreach campaign, social media campaign (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogging, etc.), change in your website, new print materials, videos, or other strategy. Nominees are evaluated based on originality of campaigns, creativity, and overall success.

3. Innovative New Program (Internship, Study Abroad, Volunteer)

This award honors an inventive program in global study, internships, and volunteering that provides a unique opportunity for student learning and cultural engagement. Evaluation will focus on successful program development and execution as well as overall creativity. A winner will be chosen for each type of program (study, intern, and volunteer abroad). In order to be eligible for this award, the program must have been initially launched and successfully executed between January 1, 2015 and the present. Programs that were established before January 1, 2015, or that have not yet been completed, will not be considered.

4. Innovative Technology

This award recognizes the creation and/or use of a technological tool geared towards international education. This tool may be a technical advancement, resource, or device that facilitates innovative approaches to international programs. Nominees are evaluated based on the success of implementing the technology, how it stands out from other resources in the field, and overall impact.

5. Innovation in Sustainability

This award honors commitment to environmental conservation and/or sustainable community development projects, and education through its programs and day-to-day operations. Nominees are assessed on overall impact, groundbreaking strategies, and integration of the message.

6. Student Video

This award recognizes a student-created video that captures the true essence of an international education program. Videos should demonstrate highlights of the program, an understanding of global awareness, and active student participation. Unlike the other Innovation Awards, the student video is selected based on the number of votes it receives through an online poll. Nominees will also be evaluated on the quality of video content, creativity, and artistic merit. Video submissions MUST be no longer than three minutes. Videos that exceed this time limit are subject to disqualification.

7. People’s Choice

This award honors the top international education organization as selected by study abroad professionals and students. The top five finalists in this category are chosen by study abroad advisers from colleges and universities. Once these finalists have been announced, students will have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite organization. The winner will be determined by popular vote.

8. The STA Travel Start the Adventure Award

In keeping with the core values of STA Travel, this award recognizes an individual who has made meaningful travel more accessible to students and young travelers. Award nominees can either be a student, alumni, or professional. Nominees are evaluated based on the creativity used to promote travel through a specific campaign/event, successful implementation of the campaign, and a demonstrated impact of providing equal access and support to youth travelers. Two STA Travel vouchers (valued at $1000 each) will be distributed alongside the award. One STA Travel voucher will be given to the individual winner and the second voucher is awarded to the winner’s organization/institution.

9. Innovation in Philanthropy (Sponsored by the GoAbroad Foundation)

This award recognizes philanthropic efforts that have impacted an individual or group, the global community, or a local community. Sponsored by the GoAbroad Foundation, the award seeks to honor organizations that demonstrate innovative corporate responsibility and philanthropy. We encourage submissions that profile significant charitable donations, corporate volunteer programs, unique philanthropic campaigns, or any event or program that demonstrates an organization’s philanthropic commitment(s). Nominations will be evaluated based on originality and the estimated impact on an individual or group, the global community, or a local community.

10. *NEW!* Innovation in Alumni Engagement

It is oftentimes too easy to focus our energy on recruiting the next group of participants or putting out day-to-day fires for current ones. This award acknowledges those that prioritize having creative and effective programs that tap into the fervor of returned participants. What strategies are in place for re-entry programming? How committed are you to encouraging opportunities like Lessons from Abroad attendance to your students? Does your organization have a student ambassador program? How engaged are your alumni in their post-program personal development or your organization’s marketing initiatives (like online reviews and interviews)? Nominations will be evaluated based on the variety of successful programming and the balance of focus in student development / business enterprises.