Colorado Mountain College recently received an IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. The grant is intended to expand the college’s capacity to offer affordable and meaningful study-abroad

Colorado Mountain College students took part in Chile 2018 and 2020: Rivers of Life, a two-week study abroad course utilizing the Pucon Kayak Retreat on the Rio Trancura as a base of operations.

opportunities for students who less often take study-abroad courses – including low-income, first-generation and other underrepresented students.

CMC is one of 24 colleges and universities from across the United States, selected from 115 applicants, to create, expand and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.

The IDEAS grant amounts to $35,000 and is specifically funding the creation of the Pucon Kayak Retreat Cooperative Leadership and Management program, a new CMC study abroad educational opportunity in Chile that will be offered in the 2021-22 academic year. The course will be introduced depending on health and travel considerations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To further support students, the CMC Foundation is continually looking into scholarship opportunities for students interested in studying abroad.

CMC 2018 and 2020 study abroad location

The new program is centered on the Pucon Kayak Retreat, a world-class outdoor education and recreation business on the Rio Trancura in Chile. Owned and operated by educator and kayaker David Hughes, the retreat previously served as a base of operations for Rivers of Life, a two-week 2018 and 2020 CMC study abroad experience. Students will enroll in the new program for either a semester or a full year, focusing on sustainability, business and outdoor leadership skills to complete coursework toward their degrees.

According to Dr. Kathryn Regjo, CMC vice president of Academic Affairs, Colorado Mountain College is now formulating an articulation agreement with the University of La Frontera in Temuco, Chile, to credential faculty to teach for Colorado Mountain College while in that country. The grant is also supporting an on-site visit by Matt Jost, CMC Steamboat Springs assistant dean of instruction, and plans are in place for two to four faculty to take intensive Spanish-language training.

Colorado Mountain College is carefully monitoring the status of international travel as it relates to COVID-19. The grant has a year-long cycle, though the State Department is prepared to be flexible now and in the future in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘A strong return’

 Colorado Mountain College’s grant is possible through the Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad, a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the federal government and supported in its implementation by World Learning, an international nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

“We are committed to continuing our support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “When American students study abroad, they support critical U.S. foreign policy goals by building relationships with foreign peers, sharing American culture and values, and developing valuable career skills. With these international experiences, the next generation of Americans is being equipped with the skills necessary to compete and succeed globally.”

For a full list of 2020 IDEAS grant recipients, visit the Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad website at Go to for more information about all of Colorado Mountain College’s study abroad offerings.