This study seeks to provide a best-practice approach for educators of emergency management (E.M.) programs within higher education to implement a short study abroad program in existing master’s-level curricula. The study utilized a faculty-led short-term study abroad approach that complements institutional E.M. curricula while providing students with intercultural experiences and learning within select regions of Spain. Carefully crafted critical reflective assignments and well-planned field experiences drawn from a robust curriculum can build students’ learning capacity through applied learning. This paper provides insight for administrators, curriculum developers, and instructors in preparing master’s students to develop a better understanding of international E.M. that reflects the cultural needs of the different vulnerable populations impacted by global disasters. 


Thomas J. Carey III,

Thomas Carey is a Specialist Professor of Homeland Security at Monmouth University. He is a retired New York City Police Department Detective Sergeant and New York Army National Guard Sergeant Major and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Thomas’ professional experience includes criminal investigations, organized crime, intelligence, and training. His research focuses on experiential learning, security, and disaster response. Thomas earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice, an M.S. in Criminal Justice and Security Administration from Long Island University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from St. John Fisher College. He is a Certified Protection Professional and Certified Emergency Manager.

George W. Contreras

George W. Contreras is an Assistant Director of the Center for Disaster Medicine and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Health at New York Medical College, and an Adjunct Professor at Metropolitan College of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the University of Malaga, and the Universidad CES.

George has over twenty-nine years of experience in emergency medical services, disaster management, public health, higher education, and international response. He earned a DrPH from New York Medical College.

Ali M. Gheith

Ali Gheith is the Director of the Emergency and Disaster Management Master’s Program at Metropolitan College of New York, an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Malaga, and the Lead Auditor for the International Consortium for Organizational Resilience.

Ali is the recipient of the New York City Distinguished Service Award for his exemplary service in providing training for emergency responders in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He is a Certified Emergency Manager, Certified Master Exercise Practitioner, and Certified Mental Health First Aid Professional.

Read This Article

Short Study-Abroad Programs for Emergency and Disaster Management Curricula: Strategies for Implementation