Lenka Slamova '24 with her COA Yucatán program host family. Lenka Slamova '24 with her COA Yucatán program host family.

Term-long COA programs

Yucatán program: Each winter term, COA students spend 14 weeks in Yucatán, Mexico, as part of a linguistic and cultural immersion. In the preceding term students take an intensive Spanish course.  The Yucatán program is appropriate for all students, from experienced Spanish speakers to absolute beginners. This program is run in coordination with PICY: Programas de Inmersión Cultural en Yucatán.

French program: COA runs a French program every spring that combines language learning with other academic study. The program is based at the CAVILAM institute in Vichy, France. The academic emphasis varies from year to year, depending on which faculty are leading the program.  Courses that have been taught as part of the French program include French Food Politics and European Political Institutions and Taking the Waters: The Politics & Culture of Water in France.

Additional programs

Depending on faculty interest and student demand, COA often runs additional term-long study abroad programs. These programs consist of three linked courses which are the only classes taken by the students in that term and the only classes taught by the faculty, enabling students and faculty to travel together. Past programs have included courses in Taiwan (language, food systems, intercultural education, and writing), Samsø, Denmark (renewable energy and green business), the Veneto region of Italy (Italian culture and language immersion), and Guatemala (cultural anthropology and ethnography).

Fall 2023
  • Osakikamijima, Japan: This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between the place and people of Osakikamijima island in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan. With a rich maritime heritage, local farms, traditional culture, and tight knit community this Japanese island has many parallels with Mount Desert Island. In addition, Osakikamijima’s aging population, depopulation, and isolation, also mimics the opportunities and challenges faced by much of Japan. Students will explore the modern history of Hiroshima, engage with Japanese culture and language, conduct terrestrial and aquatic microplastics research, and participate in weeklong “micro-internships” in food systems and other local enterprises.
Spring 2024
  • Israel and Questions of Difference: This is an interdisciplinary course that will draw on work in anthropology, feminist theory, performance studies, literature, psychoanalysis, postcolonial studies, environmental studies, and history; though the time in Israel will be focused in three curricular areas: Borders, Law & Justice, and the Arts. Students will be examining what is singular about Israel and address concepts of the nation-state, nationalism, and liberal democracy more broadly. The course will discuss gender, ethnic, national, religious, class, racialised, and linguistic difference in contexts of Zionism and Israeli state formation, while considering 20th century and contemporary Europe, its political institutions, and conflicts about geopolitical borders and difference. In particular, the course will pay close attention to questions of origin, language, different modes of expression and analysis, and how relations between individual and group are articulated. 

COA courses with an international travel component

We offer several courses that are based on campus and then travel off-campus for a few weeks. Examples include:

  • The course Costa Rican Natural History & Conservation includes a two-week trip to Costa Rica.

    This team-taught, intensive, field-based course examines the ecology and biotic diversity found at several sites within Costa Rica and the implications of this diversity on concepts of conservation biology.

  • Students in Marvelous Terrible Place take a two-week trip to Newfoundland, Canada, at the conclusion of spring term.


The EcoLeague is a network of six colleges across the United States (Alaska Pacific University, College of the Atlantic, Dickinson College, New College of Florida, Northland College, and Prescott College) focused on sustainable education and environmental studies. COA students can apply for up to two non-consecutive, semester-long exchanges to any other school in the EcoLeague consortium. When doing an exchange, students have access to all the courses offered by the host college, including their study abroad programs, which means that through the EcoLeague you have access to many global programs.

Across the EcoLeague participant colleges, programs are available in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and other Latin American countries; Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom; Israel; China, Japan and South Korea; Australia, New Zealand; Russia; Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.

Independent study and travel

Students often travel abroad and study abroad as part of an internship, independent study, or residency. COA’s study abroad coordinator and director of internships & career development, Jeffry Neuhouser, works closely with students in order to find the independent study abroad opportunities that match their interests and availabilities. 

Term-long programs offered by other institutions

COA students frequently take advantage of study abroad opportunities offered by other organizations such as the School for International Training, Duke Global Education for Undergraduates, and the School for Field Studies.

Looking for a study-abroad experience that fits with your curriculum? We’ll help you find one.