GoAbroad Innovation Awards

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


As the leading resource for meaningful travel, GoAbroad is pleased to present annual awards recognizing 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 evening reception at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference.

These awards acknowledge institutions, organizations, and individuals moving the field forward, and commend leaders in the community for their efforts to go beyond the conventional.

Read more each award category below.


The GoAbroad Innovation Awards are divided into the following categories:

  1. Innovation in Diversity
  2. Innovation in Marketing & Digital Media
  3. Innovative New Intern Abroad Program
  4. Innovative New Study Abroad Program
  5. Innovative New Volunteer Abroad Program
  6. Innovative Technology
  7. Innovation in Sustainability
  8. Innovation in Philanthropy
  9. Innovation in Alumni Engagement
  10. Innovative Student Video
  11. People’s Choice

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.


Nominations are Closed until 2019

Award Details

1. Innovation in Diversity
This award recognizes strategic efforts to expand international educational opportunities to traditionally underrepresented groups. We encourage submissions from organizations focusing on providing equal access and services to a wide variety of communities including LGBTQIA, diverse abilities, minorities, and other non-traditional groups. 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. The academy will pay special attention to visionary approaches and original ideas. Your submission must detail a specific outreach campaign, social media campaign (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogging, etc.), change in website design or user experience, new print materials, videos, or other strategy. Nominees are evaluated based on originality of campaigns, creativity, and overall success.

3. Innovative New Program (Intern Abroad, Study Abroad, Volunteer Abroad)
This award honors an inventive program in study, internships, and volunteering abroad 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 of the year prior and now. Programs that were established before January 1 of the year prior or that have not yet been completed, will not be considered.

4. Innovative Technology
This award recognizes the creation and/or use of an innovative technology or tool specific to international education. This tool may be a technical advancement, a resource, or a device that demonstrates an innovative approach. Nominees are evaluated based on the success of implementing the technology, how it stands out from other resources in the field, and its overall impact to the staff or student experience.

5. Innovation in Sustainability
This award honors commitment to environmental conservation and/or sustainable community development projects through an organization’s programs and day-to-day operations. Nominees are assessed on overall impact, groundbreaking strategies, and integration of the message.

6. Innovation in Philanthropy (Sponsored by the GoAbroad Foundation)
This award recognizes philanthropic efforts that have impacted an individual, group, or local or global 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 commitments. Nominations will be evaluated based on originality and the estimated impact on an individual, group or community.

7. Innovation in Alumni Engagement
This award acknowledges those that prioritize offering creative and effective programs that tap into the enthusiasm of returned participants. What strategies are in place for re-entry programming? How committed is the organization to encouraging student attendance to alumni opportunities like Lessons from Abroad attendance? Does the organization have a student ambassador program? How engaged are alumni in their post-program personal development or the organization’s marketing initiatives (online reviews, interviews, etc)? Nominations will be evaluated based on successful implementation and a balanced focus on student development and overall impact on business growth.

8. Innovative 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.

9. 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 from the An admirationmunity at large.