The Project for Learning Abroad, Training and Outreach (PLATO) is an integrated study abroad training, certification, and diversity outreach program which provides comprehensive support resources for study abroad to all U.S. college and university students Ė with special support for underrepresented students, PLATO:

  • Is the first national online curriculum to orient, train, and support students before, during, and after they study abroad, highlighting the health and safety concerns of institutions and students;

  • Supports a national recruitment program for underrepresented students for education abroad, as well as a clearinghouse of resources and information that promote greater diversity among study abroad participants and mentors, including efforts such as K-12 and Community College outreach;

  • Recognizes returning study abroad students who have completed the online curriculum and outreach through an International Honors Certificate Program.  

*PLATO at A Glance - See a visual representation of all components of the PLATO Project.


This innovative and challenging project, built on the Center for Global Educationís previous efforts through the SAFETI Clearinghouse Project, provides support to hundreds of institutions and thousands of students across the U.S. through the PLATO Project.

PLATO responds to the U.S. higher educationís challenge to have no student left behind through the inclusion of a greater number of underrepresented students in study abroad.  Most students participate in shorter-term programs (less than 10% study abroad for more than one semester), and many students from underrepresented backgrounds may come from institutions with only a limited infrastructure to support study abroad students.  To enhance the study abroad experience for all participants, PLATO provides Online Curriculum to help any student at any U.S. college or university choose an appropriate study abroad program and then prepare for study abroad, with resources for practical support (emphasizing health and safety) and intellectual support (emphasizing a greater understanding of the U.S. and the country where they will study). Through PLATO, the Center has developed new Online Mentorship resources to help respond to the special challenges of underrepresented students during study abroad.

Following completion of their study abroad program, PLATO guides students through post-study abroad reentry and reintegration to their home campus and the US.  Furthermore, PLATO provides a mechanism for them to reflect on their experience, consider avenues for incorporating an international component into their curriculum, and train for the K-12 and Community College Home Campus Outreach portion of PLATO.  Earning the PLATO International Honors Certificate recognizes achievement and knowledge gained through study abroad and completion of all PLATO components.  

PLATO, a national project located at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is supported through a grant from the US Department of Educationís Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Comprehensive program.  The Department of Education promotes excellence in education for all Americans through educational support programs.  The Comprehensive Program is the central grant competition of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The competition is designed to support innovative reform projects that hold promise as models for the resolution of important issues and problems in postsecondary education.