Empowerment and Study Abroad

Empowerment is a people-centered approach to education which increases the spiritual, social, and economic strength of individuals and communities. Nations are using it to make a difference in people’s lives, and international educators are using it to help students impact the world around them.

One way to define Empowerment within International Education is…


The Latin root for Education is “Educere” meaning “to lead out.” Empowerment is a form of Educere that moves people out with…

Enthusiasm – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Enthusiasm comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, which comes from the adjective entheos, which means “having god within” (en, “in, within,” and theos, “god”). Enthusiasm is what gets us out of bed every morning. It is the spark from which our creations flow. Without enthusiasm is without a full, meaningful life. Education moves people out with enthusiasm.

Respect – The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy put it best…“Respect has great importance in everyday life. As children we are taught (one hopes) to respect our parents, teachers, and elders, school rules and traffic laws, family and cultural traditions, other people’s feelings and rights, our country’s flag and leaders, the truth and people’s differing opinions.” Education moves people out with respect.

Motivation – Motivation is what drives us to achieve goals.While it can be both instrisic or extrinsic, good education promotes intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is driven by personal interest and enjoyment in the task itself rather than extrinsic factors (money, grades, threat of coeersion, punishment). Intrinsic motivation encourages individualized learning and fosters self purpose and confidence. Education moves people out with motivation.

Encouragement – “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you” (William Arthur Ward). To encourage means to give courage to; to inspire with hope or spirit; to raise one’s confidence in something; to animate; to help forward; to incite. It is the opposite of discouragement and a very important part of good leadership. Education moves people out with encouragement.

Networking – Networks foster connections, mutually beneficial relationships, and community. People move people through networks. Networking is better than competition because it is people-centered rather than profit-centered. People-centered products and services are ultimately more successful than those which are profit-centered because they offer real solutions to real people by engaging them in the process of designing and creating their own solutions. Education moves people out with networking.

Transformation – Knowledge is not information, it’s transformation” (Osho). In Education, facts and figures mean nothing unless they transform thinking and actions. Transformation means to change in character or condition. Self-transformation increases personal extropy…continual mental, physical, social, and spiritual improvement, through critical and creative thinking. Conflict transformation changes ethnic conflict into peaceful outcomes. Education moves people out with transformation.

Other Empowerment-related Articles in the field of Study Abroad (unrelated to this post) – Please feel free to send more

:: Empowerment: Socratic maieutic to agropolitan development by Fabrizio Guarducci

:: In Study Abroad, Simple Is Sophisticated by Wendy Williamson, The Chronicle of Higher Education

:: Reentry: Empowerment by Marcia Waller, Transitions Abroad

:: Women and the Global Generation by Sarah S. Bush and Christina Madden, Transitions Abroad

:: Cultivating Empathy and Empowerment Among Cultural Others: Values Education and Study Abroad by Karen Rodriguez, Journal of College and Character

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.