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Frontiers Abroad

Frontiers Abroad is, first and foremost, an educational concept that offers U.S. study abroad students an unparalleled academic experience in New Zealand. Frontiers Abroad designs and implements field and research focused earth and environmental science programmes for undergraduates. The concept of ‘longitudinal learning’ linking a pre-semester field programme with directed semester courses is offered in very few study abroad programmes around the world. Our dedicated research component and family-like atmosphere are cornerstones of the Frontiers Abroad experience and provide a home-away-from-home feeling for the students that enables them to enjoy and appreciate New Zealand to its fullest.

Our name reflects our unique field curriculum and teaching locations in a remote part of the world: New Zealand. Our mission is to provide students with the knowledge, problem-solving skills and motivation to responsibly manage our Earth’s delicate ecosystems.

Our programmes are designed, developed and implemented by Frontiers Abroad and New Zealand academic staff who are among the best researchers and teachers in their respective fields. Frontiers Abroad collaborates with the home institutions of attending students to ensure the highest academic standards are met.

Frontiers Abroad currently provides study abroad experiences for more than 50 students per year from 30+ top liberal arts and Ivy League colleges and universities (see map below).

College Map

FA History

Dr Darren Gravley and Max Borella developed the concept for Frontiers Abroad in 2004 with the vision of defining a new style of interdisciplinary science study abroad education that empowers students to think critically and creatively. In 2006, with Dr Dan Hikuroa, we formalized Frontiers Abroad and in 2008 we kicked off our ‘Geology of New Zealand’ and ‘New Zealand Earth Systems’ programmes with our first student participants.

FA programme participation has grown from 5 students from 3 different US Colleges/Universities in 2008 to 49 students from 29 different Colleges/Universities in 2013. In total, the FA alumni network includes almost 200 students, all of which are still part of the FA family and many communicate regularly through our Facebook group. Additionally, we hold FA alumni functions at the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) and Geological Society of America (GSA) conferences, as many of our students have gone on to complete or are currently candidates to complete graduate studies. A key aspect to the evolution of Frontiers Abroad has been our U.S. and New Zealand college/university partners who have contributed to the academic integrity and development of the Frontiers Abroad concept. In 2010, Frontiers Abroad was delighted to receive the endorsement of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, who became our U.S. School of Record, providing accreditation and transcription for Frontiers Abroad programmes. In 2011, Frontiers Abroad began offering the New Zealand Earth Systems programme at the University of Canterbury (in addition to the University of Auckland) led by Dr Travis Horton.

Since 2008, Frontiers Abroad has enrolled students from 31 different colleges and universities throughout the US.  The program has continued to grow and improve since new students provide feedback and suggestions, which are implemented into modules each year. We look forward to continued growth of both our programs and alumni family!