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.


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


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.
  • Building Blocks for Strong Communities (45 hours): Students will learn about healthy community building through tailored coursework that will precede more personalized community involvement opportunities and professional site visits. Each student will be put into one of the following focus areas based on their major. Not every site visit will be directly relevant to a student’s major but will allow students to learn about a variety of professions and experience various types of community involvement and service.
    • Business and technology focus
    • Life sciences and environment focus
    • Culture and community focus
  • Trends and Culture in the U.S. (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

  • Community engagement field experience (45 hours): Designed to complement the Building Blocks for Strong Communities course, this field experience will include opportunities to engage with the community through group volunteering assignments and professional site visits within students’ focus areas.
  • Cultural 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.


  • Must be a current international university student or recent graduate.
  • Should have a desire to improve English and develop strong leadership skills.
  • Minimum English requirement: TOEFL iBT 55/TOEIC 550/Duolingo 80
  • Preferred English requirement: TOEFL iBT 61/TOEIC 800/Duolingo 85

Apply to LEAD