Defining the Field School Within Study Abroad


  • Joe Pavelka Mount Royal University
  • Carmanah Minions Mount Royal University



Field school, Study abroad, Definition


Globalization has created a need for culturally aware globally minded students across North America. Study abroad has increasingly become a normalized part of a young person’s education however financial and temporal commitments attached to longer study abroad experiences hinder participation for many. In response, the field school model, which generally involves shorter stays and less financial commitment, has increased in popularity. The field school is a particular model of study abroad that shares characteristics with short-term study abroad, fieldwork, service learning and other models but requires definition. The purpose of this paper is to define the field school model of study abroad within the contest of study to assist administrators when presented the option, faculty when determining experiential learning opportunities and students in determining their educational path. The paper provides a working definition and nine defining features of the field school that distinguish it from other study abroad models.


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Author Biographies

Joe Pavelka, Mount Royal University

Joe Pavelka is an Associate Professor of Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership in the Department of Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary Alberta Canada.  Joe has delivered field schools and outdoor expeditions Latin America and North America since 2000. Dr. Pavelka carries out scholarship and workshops on a variety of field school issues.

Carmanah Minions, Mount Royal University

Carmanah Minions is a senior undergraduate researcher at Mount Royal University and a veteran of field school experiential learning.


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How to Cite

Pavelka, J., & Minions, C. (2020). Defining the Field School Within Study Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 32(2), 145–162.