This article focuses on the degree to which students in further education (FE) colleges in England personally engage with global learning during specific initiatives to incorporate global learning in the curriculum, drawing on findings from the 'Global Learning for Global Colleges' (2009–12) research and development project, funded by the UK ministry for overseas aid, the Department for International Development (DfID). The findings illustrate various levels of engagement, with much learning about, and enthusiasm for, global issues. There is some evidence of some critical thinking around issues by a few students, and also some confirmation that first-hand experience of overseas settings has the potential to contribute to transformation. In terms of action, there is evidence of activities, particularly more charitable ones, informed by feelings of gratitude and wanting to help others, linked to opportunities provided by colleges. But there is little indication of questioning of such responses to global issues. The findings also highlight various emotional responses and forms of resistance by students to the more transformative aspects of global learning.