Giving Back to the World that Gives So Much


The Four Meanings of S.O.S.

Developing global citizens through education abroad experiences is a core component of Athena’s mission. In 2005, Athena developed S.O.S. to ensure that charity is incorporated at the heart of our programs, students, and organization.

S.O.S. has four important components: scholarship funds reserved for charity minded students, frequent Athena staff community service, student-selected donations various world charities, and sponsorship of charitable events and projects.

1. S.O.S. (Students Offering Support)

Athena donates a percentage of our proceeds each year to featured charities.

  • Developed as an opportunity for students to give back to the world that was so welcoming to them while they were abroad, to further instill the importance of service in relation to global citizenry.
  • Upon return from an Athena education abroad experience, Athena enables each student to actively participate in the S.O.S. program by allowing them to decide which global charity they would like to support.

Compassion Without Borders


Humane treatment

Compassion Without Borders is an all volunteer, grassroots non-profit that works to bring about reform for the animals of Mexico through spay and neuter, humane education, rescue efforts, and humane euthanasia programs.


FINCA International


Helping low-income entrepreneurs

FINCA's mission is to provide financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their lives. At the root of their poverty is lack of opportunity, not lack of desire to work.


GoAbroad Foundation


Scholarships and aid

The GoAbroad Foundation primarily supports projects related to education, nutrition, child welfare, and community development, while advocating and raising awareness about the needs of communities in the developing world.


2. S.O.S. (Service Opportunities for Students)

Students Act Out Charity

  • Supporting students who already demonstrate traits of global citizenry through service, we reward them for their efforts through our various charity and global citizen scholarships from $1,000 to $8,000 per award.
  • This population of students is a particularly important group to recognize, because the concept of giving back to the world and local communities cannot be overstated, and these students are perfect candidates for maximizing the experience of study abroad.
  • Experiential learning opportunities are available to students at our partner institutions abroad ranging from course workshops and service internships to on-campus clubs and organizations.

3. S.O.S. (Staff Offering Support)

We Support Our Local Community

Check out our staff volunteer outings:

Global Give Scholarship Winners Report Academic Successes

Athena Study Abroad launched its First Annual Athena “Global Give” Charity Fundraiser at NAFSA in Denver, Colorado, in 2016. Through generous donations from supporters throughout the field of international education as well as Athena’s dollar-for-dollar donation match, we were able to donate enough to the GoAbroad Foundation to result in the creation of a new annual GoAbroad Annual Scholarship that each year, supports a student in the Philippines to attend college for an entire academic year. Where are Athena's Global Give recipient students now? We are thrilled to share updates on our scholarship awardees! 


NAFSA 2019 Recap: Athena Study Abroad and the Global Learning Collective

The weekend prior to the NAFSA conference in D.C., the leaders of each of the Global Learning Collective partners (Athena Study Abroad, The Asia Institute, Campus b, CEPA and EDU Africa) spent the weekend together in a lovely house in Maryland to do our first year-in-review (we just celebrated our 1st birthday as a Collective!),  as well as to discuss how best to enhance the services we offer as a Collective to the int'l education field, and most importantly, for our five teams to spend quality time together.


Athena’s 4th Annual Global Give Fundraiser at NAFSA 2019

And once again it’s that time of year….NAFSA is upon us! As we at Athena are preparing for the conference, we are thrilled to officially announce our 4th Annual Global Give Fundraiser which will take place during the NAFSA conference in Washington D.C. this year!


4. S.O.S. (Sponsorship Offering Support)

Giving aid through sponsorship

  • Understanding that many charitable causes need financial assistance or free staff support, Athena added the Sponsorship Offering Support component of the S.O.S. program in February 2014.
  • We provide support to charity operations and events through both capital donations and offering our staff’s services free of charge. Athena provides event sponsorship, including support for St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research, the Chapelfield Walk-a-Thon, American Cancer Society, multiple fundraisers for Strayhaven Animal Shelter, and more.
  • Athena staff has also donated their time free of charge, and Athena funds, to create a brand new website and marketing materials for a local animal shelter.

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