Common Purpose
Study Abroad

Develop Cultural Intelligence with Common Purpose Study Abroad Experiences

Our Study Abroad programme is an immersive experience that takes students out of their comfort zone and into a new city to develop their Cultural Intelligence (CQ): the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures.

To solve the major problems of the world, the next generation of leaders will need to work across boundaries and lead people who are different to them. Global employers are looking for the kind of talent who can do exactly that, working fluidly across different geographies, sectors and generations. Students who can do so are the ones who will find themselves not only employed, but quickly promoted within global organizations.

Participants on a recent Common Purpose Study Abroad programme share what they have learnt

Shuvo Saha, Director, Google Digital Academy and Trustee, Common Purpose Student Experiences

"When students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities work and learn together, it provides a huge boost to their Cultural Intelligence, preparing them to become the leaders of the future."

The Learning Journey

Our study abroad programme blends an international immersion experience with online learning

Before they travel, students are invited to join an online community platform which forms an online base throughout the rest of the learning experience.

Here they will gain access to online modules which explore the idea of power dynamics within cities as well as introducing students to the idea of Cultural Intelligence (CQ). Our cutting edge online curriculum has been designed for modern leaders; it combines new methods of content delivery and interactive learning. We use visual media, articles, facilitated discussions, leadership exercises and anecdotes to facilitate structured reflection and group engagement.

Over four days, working with local students as guides, participants are immersed in the multifaceted reality of their new city, giving them an appreciation for its contradictions, challenges and opportunities. They hear from, and visit, organizations in the private, public and NGO sectors.

During this period, participants focus on a single challenge facing the city and work together to innovate practical, scalable solutions. They then present their ideas to a panel of experts and civic leaders. They receive on-the-spot feedback on their idea, presentation and how they have worked as a group. After the pitch, participants have time to reflect on the leadership skills and Cultural Intelligence they have developed and how they can use these to create change—at university, in their city and in their future career.

After the face-to-face experience, students continue to engage with each via the online community platform as they develop their Challenge solutions and collaborate with our global alumni network who offer feedback on their ideas. We also provide activities, resources and updates for students as they continue to reflect on the leadership skills and the Cultural Intelligence they have developed.


of participants are better able to engage with people who are different to them


of participants better able to spot common ground and make connections between people


of participants are better able to adjust my behaviour in culturally diverse situations

Kiara Clement, University College London

 “Going to China for this programme has broadened my outlook on my own life; when I came back I started noticing things that I would never usually pay attention to, I just have a different outlook on the world.”

Thomas Chard, University of Exeter

“This journey has been incredible. Not only have I met great people but I learnt a lot about myself and different cultures.”