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Short-Term & Faculty-Led Programs Abroad

The Global Business Center currently offers a variety of short-term study abroad options for MBA students. Use the tabs below to explore your options.

The 2022/23 application is now closed. Please send any questions to [email protected].

MBA Short-Term Study Abroad Info Sessions

Watch the Study Tour Info Session recording
Review the Study Tour Info Session PPT

MBA Short-Term Study Abroad programs

Study Tours

Global Business Study Tours are fast-paced, faculty-led, academic trips that give students the chance to experience business and culture first-hand through personal meetings with executives and local business leaders, company visits, and cultural excursions. Tours last 8 to 14 days and typically take place in mid to late March.

Curious about the kinds of things you’ll take away from a study tour? Check out these blog posts from previous MBA students who participated in a Study Tour.

Questions? Send an email to Angela at [email protected].

MBA Study Tour to Israel and the West Bank

Come to Israel with Dr. Tracey Seslen to better understand the Israeli model for business innovation and strategies for responsible, sustainable, and inclusionary business activities. Israel leads the world in terms of startups per capita and R&D investment as a fraction of GDP and has become one of the most sought-after locations for technology companies going global – amazing statistics for a water-starved, immigrant-heavy country of 8.5 million people that has existed for a mere 70 years. The tour plans to include company and cultural visits in and around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, the West Bank, the Dead Sea, and, tentatively, a daytrip to the archaeological site in Petra, Jordan.

Location: Based in Tel Aviv, Israel (overnights in Jerusalem and Eliat)
Travel Dates: March 12-23, 2023
Credits: 2 credits of IBUS 570 during Winter Quarter (optional)
Program Cost: $3,300, not including airfare
Application Period: Application closed

MBA Study Tour to South Africa

Come to South Africa with Dr. Shaosong Ou. You’ll explore the country’s unique business opportunities, challenges, and rich cultural heritage while spending time in Cape Town and Johannesburg. You’ll meet with a wide variety of companies, from small start-ups led by driven entrepreneurs to multinational organizations with familiar names. A unique feature of this program is that it includes a weekend safari in Kruger National Park.

Location: Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
Travel Dates: March 12-23, 2023
Credits: 2 credits of IBUS 570 during Winter Quarter (optional)
Program Cost: $3,300, not including airfare
Application Period: Application closed

MBA Study Tour to Portugal

Come to Portugal with Dr. Andy Hafenbrack to meditate on what it means to live the good life. Portugal has become a leading lifestyle destination for vacations and digital nomads. The quality of life in Portugal is extremely high in terms of the food, wine, weather, sightseeing/topography, colorful architecture, general aesthetics, and the slow pace. We’ll consider what it means to create a life that is worth being mindful of, as well as how to savor the life we have. We will learn from organizations in the hospitality, food and beverage, fashion, sports, and art industries to learn how they make daily life pleasurable, meaningful, and beautiful.

Location: Lisbon and Porto, Portugal
Travel Dates: March 12-23, 2023
Credits: 2 credits of IBUS 570 during Winter Quarter (optional)
Program Cost: $3,300, not including airfare
Application Period: Application closed

Global Consulting Projects

Global Consulting Projects allow Foster MBA students to gain hands-on experience solving real-world business problems in a global setting. It is an opportunity to work on a small team with other Foster students, provide valuable solutions to clients from around the world, and develop cross-cultural competencies through a unique lens. All consulting projects are led by Foster faculty and include a required course, IBUS 579, which typically takes place during Spring Quarter. If there is an international travel element to the course, it can occur in either March or June, depending on the project and clients’ needs.

Global Consulting Project: India

This course allows students to apply high-level MBA strategy skills in a unique cultural context – among grassroots entrepreneurs in the state of Gujarat in India through virtual global consulting projects with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). With 1.9 million members, SEWA is a global NGO that organizes collective representation for poor female laborers from the informal economy. SEWA’s goals for its members are full employment and self-reliance. Students will have the opportunity to see how MBA business analysis and leadership skills translate to a vastly different context.

Due to the risks associated with traveling to a location with limited medical resources, to both Foster students and our hosts, the GBC will not travel to India for the 2023 Global Consulting Project to India. We will, however, conduct the program virtually from Seattle.

Location: various locations in India (virtually)
Credits: 2 credits of IBUS 579 during Spring Quarter 2023
Application Period: Application closed
Interested but want to learn more? Email Dr. Jennifer Koski at [email protected]

Degree requirements met

For full-time MBAs, Global Consulting Projects count as a Practical Experience and fulfill one of the International Perspective requirements. For students pursuing the Global Business Certificate, it can meet either the experiential requirement or the global business course elective requirement, but not both.

The projects

Example team projects from the Global Consulting Project in India:

  1. 360-Degree Review: Alternative Sources of Capital Approaching its 50th anniversary, SEWA conducted a comprehensive 360-Degree Review and Strategic Planning process. This process identified four areas of focus: membership, people, operations/technology, and financial sustainability. Goals in the area of financial sustainability include increasing SEWA’s income and reducing costs. SEWA also needs more capital to scale its social enterprises. What are other (creative) ways SEWA can leverage its assets to raise additional capital? These options must be viable within the objectives and constraints SEWA faces, including a combination of profit and non-profit activities, legal and organizational constraints, and optimal use of existing resources. In this project, the UW team will explore alternative options for SEWA to raise capital.
  2. Rachaita New Projects Rachaita organizes construction workers. It is part of the Urban Union co-operative. In the past, members have worked on very large projects requiring more than 150 construction workers. Recent changes (demonetization and a GST) have significantly negatively impacted demand for Rachaita construction workers. Business has declined to only 25% of what it was before. As a result, they have shifted some of their operations to focus more on training. Students will work with Rachaita managers to develop a business plan to expand Rachaita’s business. Efforts may include marketing to attract new business, a cost analysis to benchmark competitor’s pricing, and an analysis of potential new products or markets.
  3. SEWA App SEWA’s IT team has been developing and implementing technologies that meet organization and member needs. How can SEWA use technology to set up direct, two-way, digital communication between SEWA and its members? Membership is increasing, and a key goal is to provide two-way communication in which SEWA can provide information to members and ask questions, and members can send back information about their needs so members will feel more engaged with the organization. In addition to this, the app may also include links for providing other information about government schemes, trade related information like commodity prices, future prices for the agriculture members, etc.
    SEWA has settled on the medium- mobile phones, which are affordable and accessible for many of its members. So far, they have developed three mobile apps: membership, savings, and agribusiness. These apps were developed individually and are not currently integrated. What else should be included in the app to serve members? To address this question, students will conduct market research, surveying both membership and senior management to design the framework (a site map) for the app. The goal is a proposal for the SEWA app that includes a prioritization of functionality to add in order to best serve members and a phase-in/implementation plan. This is a design project rather than a coding project.
  4. SEWA Ecotourism Growth Strategy SEWA has a ten acre farm which, through environmental regeneration and SEWA’s initiative, has turned from barren wasteland into an eco-friendly destination. The farm is made available on a rental basis to corporate and student groups. Marketing is now primarily word-of-mouth. Students will prepare a marketing plan to grow and expand their revenue sources. How can they expand demand for use of their facility, especially during the quieter mid-week and summer seasons? Should they expand into other agricultural products such as medicinal plants, or into other activities?


Testimonial photo
2019 Student Testimonials

This trip/project is hands down the most valuable experience I’ve had in the MBA program so far.

The India Consulting project was an enriching experience. It was well organized and nicely integrated cultural experiences and work focus groups. In the two weeks we accomplished so much! we got a true feel of modern and rural India, worked with an organization, participated in an Indian festival ‘Holi’ and saw some great sites in India. Thank you GBC for helping sponsor and put this program together for Foster students to benefit from.

Working in India was completely different than working in the U.S. – I practiced patience and listening in order to understand the differences, and these are critical skills to being a successful leader. …They were scrappy and passionate, and seeing this passion shine through the SEWA managers and members we met was inspiring. Overall it was a great reminder that our way is not the only way and that bringing groups with different backgrounds together can lead to some great results and surprising commonalities.

It helped me be aware of a different culture with a huge market and business opportunity. India is currently growing and thriving. A lot of future international business is going to be around India and in my future career, having this little bit of understanding of India is going to be very valuable.

“Doing Business In” Short-Term Programs

Doing Business In (DBI) short-term programs allow a small group of Foster MBAs to study a specific subject for one to two weeks at a partner university. DBIs combine class time, taught by a foreign professor, with cultural immersions and company visits. It is an opportunity to network with Foster peers outside of your cohort, experience business-related course work at a foreign university, and take an academic deep dive into the local business culture.


Short-Term Study Abroad programs are extra-curricular, and the program fees are not included in UW tuition. However, they can be covered by financial aid. The flat rate program fee includes all accommodations (double-occupancy), group in-country transportation, some meals and cultural excursions. It also includes a $100 UW Health and Safety Fee charged by UW Study Abroad. Some programs may include more in-country incidentals than others.

Short-Term Study Abroad participants travel independently on international flights from/to Seattle so the program price does not include airfare.

The cost of entrance visas, any required immunizations, personal expenses, optional cultural events, tuition for any credits received for the program, and some meals are not covered in the price.


Participants engage in a Short-Term Study Abroad program for their own personal benefit, and with any travel program participants may encounter unexpected risks. These risks include, but are not limited to sickness, exposure to disease, political upheaval, accidents, the forces of nature, travel dangers on the air or ground, and property loss and damage. All students participating in UW study abroad programs will be required to purchase the UW Student Abroad Insurance or demonstrate equivalent coverage. The insurance plan is specific to the needs of study abroad students and affordable: the cost is approximately $2 per day and the policy includes major medical coverage as well as emergency evacuation for medical, political or natural disasters. Students can enroll and pay online. More detailed information about this policy and the link to purchase is available online. Waiver requests should be directed to [email protected].


Short-Term Study Abroad programs are sponsored by the Global Business Center with support from the Foster School. Angela Shelley, Assistant Director for MBA Global Programs, oversees the program application process, develops program itineraries through third-party services, coordinates pre-departure orientation sessions, assists staff and faculty representatives with program logistics, manages program finances, and acts as a liaison to the MBA Program Office and other UW graduate departments for program related issues. Questions regarding Short-Term Study Abroad programs should be directed to Angela Shelley at [email protected] or 206.543.4109.

For Study Tours and Global Consulting Projects, a UW faculty representative accompanies and helps to plan each program. The faculty person oversees the business visits and theme development of each program as well as the academic content for IBUS 570 (Study Tours) or IBUS 579 (Global Consulting Projects), assigning relevant coursework to the students who take the study tour for credit. The faculty member also takes the lead on developing content for and teaching any pre-departure sessions. They are the official representative of the Foster School of Business and act as a program resource for the business and/or cultural climate of the country(s) visited during the program.

A Foster staff representative also accompanies each Short-Term Study Abroad program. The staff representative is an official Foster School representative during the program and is responsible for the general well-being and safety of student participants. The staff representative helps shape the overall program experience by assisting with pre-departure sessions, arranging social activities before program departure, providing in-country leadership during the program, and serving as the liaison between the in-country guide and students during the program.

Pre-departure sessions

Pre-departure sessions are scheduled during the quarter prior to any Short-Term Study Abroad program. All program participants must attend each scheduled pre-departure session. These sessions are intended to provide industry, business, cultural, historic, and political background information prior to program departure. The sessions are facilitated by the program leadership and include guest speakers from the Seattle business community and the University of Washington. Participation is important during pre-departure sessions. All program participants may be asked to prepare business or cultural presentations or provide a list of possible questions for a specific company visit. The amount of out-of-classroom time required to prepare for these presentations will be minimal. Interactive and participatory pre-departure sessions are valuable learning experiences for everyone. The sessions are informal and are a great opportunity to meet fellow program participants before departure and may include opportunities to sample foreign cuisine, or practice useful foreign language phrases before leaving Seattle.

IBUS 570 (Study Tours only)

Study Tour participants have the option of receiving two academic credits in the quarter prior to the trip by enrolling in IBUS 570: Global Study Tour. To receive academic credit the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Attendance at the 2 mandatory pre-departure orientations.
  • Complete project/paper under advisement from faculty representative.

Students who have already taken a prior Study Tour for credit are not eligible to take another Study Tour for credit.

Regulations and Expectations

Arrangements for group travel require special considerations. We appreciate your understanding in abiding by the following important program expectations.

Reservations are made with hotels located in business districts and are hotels that meet the overall program budget. Attempts are made to stay in hotels with a variety of amenities including internet access, workout facilities, and even breakfast, but depending on the country and/or hotel, these items may not be available. All rooms are double occupancy unless specified by the program leader(s). Requests for single rooms will be considered and will require an extra fee (called a “single supplement”).

Participants in all Short-Term Study Abroad programs will purchase airfare independently. Each program will provide a required arrival and departure time to ensure that you will be present for all program activities (i.e. arrive no later than 6am on Sunday and depart no earlier than 5pm on Wednesday). Each program may provide a suggested flight itinerary if you would prefer to travel with leaders and/or classmates.

Attendance for company visits (if applicable)
The foundation of Study Tours is company and organization visits. Participants are required to attend all planned visits. Companies expect a certain number of participants to attend and any number less than an expected amount reflects poorly on the Foster School and disrespects the efforts made to arrange the company visit. Future Study Tours, employment, and internships can depend on the impression left by tour participants on company executives and even on fellow tour participants. Therefore, we require all participants to treat these events in the same professional manner you would a job interview.

Attire & Grooming
A professional appearance sets an example and distinguishes UW Short-Term Study Abroad programs from other travel groups. Business attire is required for all company visits or evening networking events. Jeans (blue or any other color) or shorts are not permitted for company visits. Country specific expectations for attire and footwear will be discussed in pre-departure sessions.

Children are not permitted on any international GBC-sponsored program.

Company Presentations (if applicable)
Every attempt is made to identify interesting and dynamic presenters for company visits. However, the quality of presentations is beyond the control of the Global Business Center and the faculty. Interesting corporate presentations are directly related to the involvement and attentiveness of program participants. Please be prepared with questions to engage the presenters.

Participants must complete all coursework and final exams prior to program departure. Participants are also required to notify their professors of an early departure for a Short-Term Study Abroad program. The MBA Program Office will provide a list of program participants to Foster School faculty.

Free time
Free time is scheduled during each program. Group activities may be organized during this time, but participation is optional.

Luggage is limited to one carry-on and one checked suitcase. Keep in mind that you are your own porter for the duration of the program. Not all countries have elevators, escalators, or even ramps. Packing suggestions will be covered during the pre-departure sessions.

Non-UW people joining a program
The program is organized and scheduled for UW graduate students only. Friends, family, or work colleagues residing in the program country cannot participate on organized program activities, including cultural excursions or company visits. Use free time to visit acquaintances living in-country.

Spouses & Significant others
Spouses and significant others can join a Short-Term Study Abroad program if they are a matriculated (registered) graduate student at the University of Washington. They must apply for a program and be selected through the program lottery. No special consideration of any kind is given to participants who wish to participate on the same program.

The effectiveness of group travel is directly related to timeliness. Participants are expected to be on time for all group events and meeting times. Students who do not meet up with the program as directed will be left behind and will
risk forfeiting their academic credit.

Tourist/Entry Visas
Depending on nationality and country requirements, participants may be required to obtain entry visas prior to departure. The cost of any tourist/entry visas and traveling to obtain a visa (if required) is not covered by the program budget. Non-American citizens will need to check with their embassies to determine visa requirements for their destination.

General FAQ

Q: Why is there a lottery?
The lottery selection system is used when there are more applicants than spots available. The lottery system is a fair way to assign spots on programs.

Q: How does the lottery work?
The priority and lottery tiers are as follows:
First: Graduating MBA students who need a Short-Term Study Abroad program to fulfill the Global Business Program Certificate requirements. Certificate eligibility will be assessed during the application process.
Second: Other graduating Foster MBA students who have not yet been on a program and non-graduating Foster MBAs who have applied to the Global Business Program Certificate.
Third: All non-graduating Foster MBA applicants who have not participated on a Global Business Short-Term Study Abroad program.
Fourth: Other Foster MBAs who have participated previously.
Fifth: All UW graduate student (non-Foster School) applicants who have not participated previously.
Sixth: All UW graduate student (non-Foster School) applicants who have participated previously.

Q: Can my spouse or significant other join a Short-Term Study Abroad program?
Spouses and significant others may join a program only if s/he is a UW matriculated graduate student, turns in the necessary application materials by the deadline, and is selected for a program through the lottery system. No guarantees or special consideration can be given.

Q: Can my spouse or significant “shadow” a program?

Q: What is the role of the Global Business Center staff member on the program?
The University of Washington requires all UW-sponsored group study abroad programs to include two university representatives for risk management purposes. As employees of the UW, the faculty and staff have the authority to act on behalf of the university. The staff representative is responsible for the general well-being and safety of students in-country. The staff representative helps shape the overall Short-Term Study Abroad experience by assisting with pre-departure sessions, arranging social activities before departure, providing in-country leadership during the program, and serving as the liaison between the in-country guide/logistics provider and students during the program.

Q: What happens to my Short-Term Study Abroad payment after I pay?
Short-Term Study Abroad program fees are used to cover approved in-country expenses of all students. Once students pay their program fee, the funds are deposited into the Global Business Center Short-Term Study Abroad account. The funds are subject to the rules and regulations of the University of Washington which includes prohibiting their use for alcohol, gambling, charitable donations and other non-education-related activities. Those funds are used to pay third-party providers for their services including accommodation, in-country transport, meals, tour guides, and meeting arrangements. The Global Business Center staff representative will ensure that study abroad funds are used appropriately in-country.

Q: What is the withdrawal policy?
Each Short-Term Study Abroad program has their own withdrawal and cancellation policies. Email [email protected] with any questions.

Q: When is it too late to add individuals to a Short-Term Study Abroad program from the waitlists?
Final payments to vendors, airline tickets and visa arrangements are finalized approximately 3 months prior to departure. At that time, it is too late to add a new participant to the program based on group travel regulations and time needed to obtain a travel visa. If the necessary arrangements can be made, the Global Business Center will make every attempt to accommodate individuals from the waitlist on a space-available basis.

Q: Can I go ahead of the group for personal travel? May I stay late?
Missing classes or exams for travel outside of the official program dates is not sanctioned by the MBA program office or the GBC. In addition, it may put future study abroad programs at risk. Participants must coordinate with their faculty directly if program dates conflict with end of quarter course deliverables/exams. Students are allowed to travel after the program but must be back in Seattle in time for the following quarter’s classes. If a student does choose to travel outside of program time, they are responsible for knowing any travel related restrictions that may impact their trip and acknowledge that they will have little to no support available should they run into health or logistical challenges.

Q: Why are the pre-departure sessions mandatory?
The Global Business Center has found that program participants who do not attend the pre-departure sessions are ill-prepared for the rigors and uneducated about the purpose of the trip.

Q: Will I need to obtain immunizations?
Maybe. You might be required to obtain certain immunizations based on the program destinations. Most travel immunizations can be obtained from UW Hall Health or through King County Health. It is important to be current on general immunizations (Measles, Tetanus, and Hepatitis) regardless of your travel destination. Connect with Hall Health to determine which immunizations you need for travel. UPDATE: Vaccination against Covid-19 is required to participate in any UW study abroad program. See the Covid-19 FAQ section below for more information.

Q: Why should my passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the program date?
A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of travel is required for entry by most foreign countries. Check the expiration date and available pages of your passport, or apply for one immediately if you don’t already have one. Recent changes in travel regulations have significantly extended passport processing times. In addition, all passports and related travel documents must be in acceptable condition for regulations imposed by both the destination country as well as the roundtrip airline carrier. Students have been refused the right to board flights due to an insufficient number of blank passport pages and poor passport quality. It is the sole responsibility of the traveler to be knowledgeable of the criteria (visas, passport condition, documents, etc.) necessary for international travel.

COVID-19 Related FAQ

Q: Should I purchase extra insurance (in addition to the required UW Student Abroad Insurance)?

A: UW Student Abroad Insurance, of which you are required to purchase prior to departure, includes a trip delay benefit of up to $2,000. A student could use this to partially cover any delay in returning to the US due to a positive COVID-19 test. However, this is not Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) insurance. The UW Study Abroad Office suggests this website for more information on CFAR coverage available through CISI (the UW Student Abroad Insurance provider). For more information about UW Student Abroad Insurance visit this site. For FAQs on COVID-19 medical coverage visit this resource.

You should wait to purchase airfare until you are directed to do so by your program director.

Q: Do I have to be vaccinated to participate?
As you know, COVID vaccinations are required at the UW starting Autumn quarter 2021. Similarly, you will need to be vaccinated to participate in any study abroad program. Many countries are not admitting unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. or are imposing significant restrictions on unvaccinated travelers within the country (e.g. access to museums, restaurants, bars, and events).

You must also comply with the vaccination and testing requirements of the destination country AND with any vaccination or testing requirements of any transit airports (if you have any layovers on the way to your destination). Refer to the State Department and the U.S. Embassy and/or the embassy of your home country to monitor any entry requirements.

Q: Will I need to get a Covid test before leaving the US or before reentering the US?
Maybe. Covid testing requirements differ from country to country. We will comply with all testing requirements. The cost of the tests is at the individual student’s expense.

To reduce the risk of testing positive prior to departure, we encourage all participants to minimize their potential for Covid exposure in the 14-days prior to their departure.

Q: What if I get Covid while on the Short-Term Study Abroad program?
If a student tests positive or feels ill with symptoms of COVID-19, the GBC will facilitate movement of the student to a location where they can safely be separated from others. We would also consult with the UW Student Abroad Insurance Provider, the UW Global Travel Security Office, and in-country partners to determine next steps.

Q: I am a non-US Citizen. Can I participate in these programs?
Immigration restrictions in many countries are changing frequently. Each country manages their own requirements for visiting students, and whether you need to acquire a visa will be determined by many factors including (but not limited to) your duration of stay and your citizenship. It is your responsibility to find out about visa requirements, which are different for citizens of different countries. Some countries are currently accepting visa applications and appointments (if necessary) and some are not, so you should continue to monitor the situation and pay attention to any communication from your study abroad program or host university (if applicable). To determine if you need a visa, consult the consulate or embassy website of your study abroad host country.

Rules regarding reentry into the US for non-US citizens are also changing frequently and may be subject to restrictions. It is your responsibility to know what restrictions may be in place for your individual circumstance and to determine if participation in the program is possible. The UW is not responsible for any costs associated with reentry restrictions.