American undergraduates are increasingly engaging in educational study abroad programmes. This article examines and explains the trends in international university education from the perspective of a former faculty member at Northeastern University, a large private university in Boston. The article explains how cultural studies can be invoked as a circuit breaker to challenge the assumptions of privileged Americans who travel to the (global) South. Drawing on his experience in leading undergraduates on summer programmes to Australia, the author explores ways in which the political work of cultural studies can be positioned within the diasporic experience of cultural studies academics, suggesting that the sensibilities of diasporees offer a way of using cultural studies to challenge privileged migration for educational purposes. The article identifies current (US) national and international trends in education, suggesting that cultural studies can identify local culture as the counterpoint to imperial US-global approaches and thus advance the interests of the South.