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Innovations in transport and information communication technology have led to an ever expanding global perspective and playing field, for both business and citizens. Educational institutes play an important role in preparing students for this new reality. One way of doing this is for students to engage in educational travel experiences. Indeed, over the past two decades increasing numbers of students participated in study abroad programs, study tours, international internships and relatively new short-term programs such as international research projects. Yet, at the same time, globalization seems to have reduced some of the traditional benefits of educational travel, as the challenge of adapting to a different cultural environment has become easier than it has been in the past. Equally, there is a need to reconsider the competencies that educational travel should develop, as there is a noticeable shift towards pointing out the professional relevance of these experiences. The aim of this research is to work towards a competence framework and investigate how the learning of competencies is related to overcoming cultural distance. Based on these findings, implications for learning programs are formulated.