LEAD | Lead, Engage, Advance and Discover

The Lead, Engage, Advance and Discover program is designed to develop students’ global leadership, instill the confidence and skills to become culturally competent, and become more marketable internationally. Our excellent faculty provide courses that are globally relevant and will increase students’ leadership skills, English fluency and intercultural acuity. Coursework will be enhanced by community involvement, American peers and diverse hands-on activities, allowing students to live in English while they are here.

LEAD is designed with students’ futures in mind. We will provide the tools to succeed; all that is needed is for students to engage in the program with an open-minded attitude to become more global.

Students will take part in one of the following tracks to engage more fully with the community and help them build professional networking skills:

  1. Civic engagement focus: Students in this track will explore the building blocks of a strong community through specially-designed coursework and will participate in a variety of volunteer opportunities, highlighting the tenets of civic engagement.
  2. Internship/professional focus: Students in this track will participate in professional development courses and experience American workplace culture by becoming a volunteer team member at a local business.



Fall semester (late August through mid-December) or spring semester (mid-January through early May)


Both tracks

Academic courses
  • Strategic Communications Skills for Global Success (45 hours): This course will improve students’ English skills and confidence in a variety of settings. By introducing students to multiple situations, they will be able to discern the appropriate tone and demeanor to use in any given interaction.
  • NextGen Leadership Essentials (45 hours): In this course, students will learn about leadership skills that have aided leaders across the world stage. They will spend time developing their own leadership skills through introspective activities and by identifying and working with a mentor. By learning about effective leaders and working with peers who have different skills, students will better understand the strengths and challenges of their own unique leadership style.
  • Trends and Culture in America (45 hours + cultural site visits and activities): This course will increase students’ cross-cultural understanding through peer relationships, an ongoing and in-depth cultural interview project, and cultural events and field trips outside of the classroom. It will include seminars as well as interactive cultural outings, allowing students to understand American culture more deeply. Throughout the semester, students will examine topics of American culture, develop well-thought-out questions for a cultural interview project, and present their findings in a formal presentation. University of Missouri students will help the program participants gather data from a variety of cross-sections in American culture, provide conversational opportunities and share their culture.
Cross-cultural and professional immersion
  • Cultural and professional site visits: During the program, students will go on local cultural excursions and will visit other cities in Missouri, taking part in cultural activities, sporting events and festivals.
  • American ambassadors: The program opens doors for students to make meaningful relationships with American college students during their time at MU, with the intent that they will see many perspectives of American culture and return home with a more significant global view. These American college students come from a variety of backgrounds and are integrated into the program in many ways. They will not only participate in some of the classes to enrich students’ language development but will also join in-person activities and cultural site visits. Ambassadors serve as students’ go-to persons when they have questions about American daily life, culture and everyday spoken English. They provide a cross-cultural peer relationship and network that can continue to grow into the future.

Civic engagement focus (track-specific courses)

  • Civic Engagement for Strong Communities (45 hours): Civic engagement involves community and national service, paid and unpaid forms of political activism and environmentalism. Students will learn about each of these areas as they pertain to the promotion of a healthy community. Additionally, they will participate in several civic site visits and volunteer at a number of different organizations as a way of experiencing these ideas first-hand.
  • Civic Engagement Practicum (100–120 hours): In addition to the coursework, students will participate in several civic site visits and volunteer at several different organizations as a way of learning about and experiencing community engagement firsthand.

Professional/internship focus (track-specific courses)

  • Business Ecosystems in Practice (45 hours): In this course, students will examine the various parts of a business ecosystem, using our local community as a case study. They will put their knowledge into practice by introducing a new business concept into this ecosystem and then develop a business plan for the new company. Students will be able to clearly identify the characteristics of a healthy business ecosystem: sustainability, self-governance and innovation. They will then create a business proposal and present it to local professionals, applying newly acquired knowledge and techniques. Students will better understand how the different aspects of business affect the others, making them stronger leaders in the future careers.
  • Immersive Professional Practicum (120 hours): For this hands-on component, students will be placed in an American workplace where they will experience being a team member in a professional environment. These placements will not always be in the student’s major, but they will be quality placements with mentors who want to coach international students and help them succeed professionally. The practicum is designed to foster a sense of pride and confidence in the student while introducing them to American workplace culture, ultimately building marketability for their future job search.


  • Must be a current international university student or recent graduate.
  • Should have a desire to improve English and develop strong leadership skills.
  • Civic engagement track English requirement: TOEFL iBT 55/TOEIC 550/Duolingo 20
  • Professional track English requirement: TOEFL iBT 61/TOEIC 800/Duolingo 26

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