History of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad began as AustraLearn, which was started in 1990 by Cynthia Banks who still serves as the Executive Director and who has raised the organization from a one-person office to a staff of over 50 persons. Cynthia holds a Masters degree and a Bachelors degree from Colorado universities and has years of experience serving NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the field of study abroad through her training and partnerships.


Cynthia began the organization while she was living and working in Australia at the University of Queensland in 1989 as a Resident Director to one of the first study abroad groups in the country. After this amazing program between Colorado State University, its leading professor Dr. Robert Allerheiligen, and the host university concluded, a small group of faculty and administrators formed to develop further study abroad opportunities for U.S. students. AustraLearn began as a non-profit organization in early 1990 as a pilot research project to establish whether Australia could be a suitable study abroad destination for U.S. students. It proved successful, and the first two AustraLearn students were sent to study abroad at the University of Queensland and Central Queensland University in early 1991.

Interest in studying abroad in Australia increased, and more university opportunities were added between 1991 and 1996 with over 24 university direct enrollment study abroad programs developed by 1997. AustraLearn added New Zealand university programs in 2001 and has continued to refine and improve its existing list of university partnerships in Australia. Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degree programs became more popular in 2001 and today represents one of the fastest growing areas of interest by students in North America for studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand. Internships were fully developed in 1994 and are fully operational in both Australia and New Zealand. Short-term programs and custom-designed, faculty-led programs are served well by the extension organization in Australia called the South Pacific Educational Support Centre which is fully owned and supported by AustraLearn in the USA.


In 2008, AustraLearn expanded its study abroad programs to new regions of the world. AsiaLearn and EuroLearn were formed in direct response to increasing demand from study abroad advisors, students, and parents seeking structured, well supported, and affordable study abroad programs in these regions.


Today, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad encompasses the AustraLearn, AsiaLearn, and EuroLearn programs under one name. Its key mission is the development of quality educational study abroad programs for diverse student needs and the facilitation of students into the programs with utmost care and concern for student services including health and safety, adequate housing and on-site support and cultural experiences to complement the academic core of the program.


GlobaLinks Learning Abroad provides study abroad scholarshipsfor students studying abroad with the program through its own funding, partnerships with major airlines, and its partner universities overseas. GlobaLinks Learning Abroad also encourages students to apply for scholarships through other international education scholarship organizations like the Foundation for Global Scholars, which is a 501c3 organization that evolved from the work of AustraLearn over the past seventeen years. 

In 2010, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad enjoyed its 20-year anniversary, celebrating 20 years of vision and impact in international education.