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Future Leaders Summit on Culture Participants Announced

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

 

Diversity Abroad and CIEE are excited to announce the second cohort of professionals who will participate in a day-long Future Leaders Summit on Culture! We received applications from professionals around the country interested in addressing the barrier of culture to diversifying the students who participate in education abroad programming.

The 20 participants selected to participate in this Summit will travel to San Diego, CA on Sunday, March 30th prior to the Diversity Abroad Conference. They will engage in dialogue focused on identifying the barriers that culture creates to attracting diverse and underrepresented students to education abroad, developing strategies to address these barriers, and creating action plans to take back to their campuses. 

 

Future Leaders Summit - Culture Participants


Ahaji Schreffler Drexel University Study Abroad
Ann Lutterman-Aguilar Augsburg College
Carol Larson University of Pittsburgh
Christina Dinges Susquehanna University
Darielle Horsey University of Southern California
Frank Biafora University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Jay Minert University of California San Diego
Jeffery Collins Oglethorpe University
Jessica Francis Wake Forest University
Kate Regan University of Portland
Kenya Casey Emory University/CIPA
Krista Johnson Howard University
LaNitra Berger Honors College, George Mason University
Mandy Brookins Blinn DePauw University
Melody Stratton University of Kansas Office of Study Abroad
Rebecca Bergren Gettysburg College
Robert Bennett III The Ohio State University
Russell Brodie Saint Augustine University
Thandi Dinani University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Torian Lee Xavier University of Louisiana
Uttiyo Raychaudhuri Clemson Study Abroad
William Smith University of Georgia

 

This is one of three Future Leaders Summits that Diversity Abroad and CIEE have partnered to implement in order to address three institutional barriers to diversifying student participation in education abroad. In November, we hosted the first Summit focused on Curriculum and later this year we will implement the third Summit focused on Cost.

For more information about the Future Leaders Summit, please visit the Future Leaders Summit page.

Tags:  Diversity  Education Abroad Diversity  Outreach  Resources  study abroad 

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Study Abroad and Sexual Assault: What's the Connection?

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 11, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Last month Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college located in Vermont, released a study with some striking results. The study suggested that women who study abroad are more likely than their peers who remain in the U.S. to experience some kind of sexual assault while in college. There are several possible explanations as to why this may be the case: easier access to alcohol, weak social networks, and differences in cultural cues. Considering that the majority of students who study abroad are women (IIE Open Doors Report) and there is a greater push to get students to study in non-traditional (generally non-English speaking) countries, professionals working in student exchange need to take a more serious look at how to prepare young women for their experience abroad.

There are ways that institutions and study abroad providers can better prepare their female students when they go abroad, though.

Pre-Departure Training

Talking about the possibility of sexual assault abroad into the pre-departure discussion is one place to start. Discussing resources available to students while they're abroad is key, but it is also important to let students know that they have resources available in the case something does happen. Building awareness among students is imperative.

Mechanisms for Reporting Incidences

Program providers and institutions managing their own programs should also make information about the resources available to students while they're abroad more overt. If there isn't an existing protocol for handling incidences of sexual assault, there should be. The Forum on Education Abroad's publication "Standards of Good Practices in Education Abroad" offers good guiding questions for providers.

This topic is important issue because the students ultimately benefit from better preparation for their time abroad and providers and institutions benefit from students with positive accounts of their time abroad.

If you would like to share your thoughts, email us at members@diversitynetwork.org

Tags:  Resources  safety  sexual assault  Study Abroad  women 

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Apathy and Disinterest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

An acquaintance of mine recently posted photos of his travels in Europe on Facebook. Another friend commented on a photo taken in Albania, asking, “Albania? What’s that?” When the former replied that Albania was a country and provided a few geographical facts, the second friend replied, “I’ve never heard of that. The United States is so big!” Is this an extreme example of the ignorance of American students? Certainly. However, the underlying ignorance and lack of interest in the larger world, displayed all too often by students and professionals alike, should not be so easily dismissed. This apathy and disinterest is the most pressing issue for international education today, and could be a serious detriment to our increasingly linked world.

Studying or interning abroad is too often viewed as a luxury or an “extra” for those students lucky enough to have the opportunity and the funding. Students and administrators tend to attach too little importance to the benefits of international education (especially those in fields without an overtly international component), and many students simply do not view spending time abroad as a real possibility, for a wide range of reasons. However, this attitude fails to grasp the immense personal growth any individual can (and usually does) gain from being immersed in a foreign culture and life, as well as the growing importance of such experiences and understanding for our world today. An international education is less about what is learned in the classrooms or offices of study abroad programs and more about the personal knowledge and growth that individuals gain from living day-to-day in an environment that differs from their own. Students learn to have a better view of differences, and more importantly, to deal with them in a positive way and to benefit from them. The lessons learned from an international education instill in students a type of empathy that can stay with them for the rest of their lives, making them more aware of and sympathetic to what is happening in the rest of the world. As of today, this type of awareness is all too lacking.

In an era where the world is becoming more connected day by day, international education and its benefits are becoming ever more important. Yet even as we acknowledge globalization and increasing ties between nations and peoples, international education continues to be a low priority in many institutions. Further, accompanying programs such as foreign languages continue to lose funding or are even cut. A lack of international education leads to a disturbing ignorance and, potentially, fear of the larger world, undermining international ties. Further, this ignorance severely weakens those who hold it. This failure to understand the full importance of international education, as well as the attendant budget challenges and lack of support, is the main issue that the field must face. How this problem is addressed could have significant repercussions on a much larger scale.

The Diversity Network sends its sincere thanks and appreciation to Kyrstie Lane for sharing her thoughts on the most pressing issue facing international education today.  If you would like to share your thoughts, email us at members@diversitynetwork.org.

Tags:  education abroad  global education  Outreach  research  Study Abroad 

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What's the Point of Study Abroad?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016
I beg young people to travel. If you don't have a passport, get one...there are lessons that you can't get out of a book waiting for you at the end of that flight. - Henry Rollins

Study abroad is one of the most beneficial experiences a college student can have. It offers the opportunity to experience another culture and alter their perspective about the world in a way that is simply impossible in a traditional lecture hall. However, in the wake of an economic downturn and a growing student loan bubble that is beginning to mirror the 2008 housing market, many are seeing study abroad as an unnecessary expense. Study abroad, to them, is wonderful in theory but ultimately impractical.

In an era of increased global competitiveness, this notion could not be more untrue.

Many young people are raised to think of a college education as a preparation for their future career, if, of course, college is financially attainable for them. With increased competition, higher tuition and the ever-present threat of budget cuts, students are under increased pressure to optimize their education, choosing a path that helps them obtain a degree and enter the world of work in the most expeditious manner possible.

For many, study abroad is nothing more than a flight of fancy. The added expense of passport fees, visa costs and plane tickets is unfathomable. In addition, the idea of taking time away from their rigorous curriculum to spend four months in another country? Outrageous. This is especially true if your time spent abroad does not directly connect to your area of study. Why spend that money on a glorified elective course?

The fact that study abroad is cost-prohibitive to many students is an unfortunate reality. However, it is the duty of universities, colleges, advisors and organizations such as Diversity Abroad to help these students understand the tremendous value of leaving your home country and experiencing the culture of another.

Peer-reviewed studies have shown that studying abroad has a significant impact on the continued use of their language of study, their levels of academic attainment, intercultural and personal development and personal career choices. While researchers see the most profound effects in students that study abroad for a year or more, significant benefits are apparent even in students who opted for summers abroad.

In a time when the world continues to shrink, students cannot ignore the benefits of studying abroad. In the words of President Obama, speaking to the United Nations, 

"We have sought -- in word and deed -- a new era of engagement with the world.”

It is abundantly clear that studying abroad is an important experience, for any student. The most important issue, however, is convincing administrators, students and parents of the value of an international education. After that, we need to make sure these students can get there.

The Diversity Network sends its sincere thanks and appreciation to Tara Matthews for sharing her thoughts on the most pressing issue facing international education today.  If you would like to share your thoughts, email us at members(at)diversitynetwork.org. 

Tags:  funding  global education  Obama  research  Study Abroad 

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More Scholarships Is Not the Answer

Posted By Andrew Gordon, Friday, September 30, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why don’t more ethnically and racially diverse students study abroad? This is a common question asked among international educators. For too long the response has been that lack of funding is the main reason why these diverse students don’t study abroad. Unfortunately the idea that funding is the main reason why underrepresented students don’t pursue education abroad has masked other systemic issues that contribute to dismal participation in study abroad programs by diverse student groups.

First, let me be clear, I am not by any means against more scholarships for study abroad. In fact, even though Diversity Abroad is not a scholarship granting organization, we’ve had the opportunity to award thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for underserved students. We are always looking for opportunities to offer more. We applaud the many successful scholarship programs administered by providers, institutions and NGO’s that help to fund study abroad. These programs have helped send thousands of underserved students abroad. Scholarships, however, are effective tools for students who are already considering study abroad. What about the thousands of students who feel study abroad is not for them? Will more scholarships help convince these students to study abroad? If students fail to see how they fit into the activity that the scholarship is associated with, in this case study abroad, the scholarship monies will not be a motivating factor in pursuing this facet of their education. Scholarships by themselves will not drastically change the demographic of the study abroad student if they aren’t coupled with targeted outreach that demonstrates the educational, personal and professional benefits of education abroad for diverse students.

Underrepresented students need to see how study abroad applies to them. It’s essential that in addition to scholarships we evaluate how we articulate to under-served students and their families what study abroad is, as well as its present and long term benefits. We all do well to ask ourselves if the messages we send through our printed materials and online about who studies abroad and the benefits thereof are attracting or discouraging underrepresented students from pursuing these opportunities.

Scholarships are important and essential to expanding study abroad. However, scholarships will only do so much without targeted outreach to help underserved students and their families understand and appreciate the value of education abroad. We may not be able to give money to help our students study abroad, however I challenge all of us to look for opportunities at our institutions and organizations to promote study abroad and its immense benefits to a more diverse population of students. I’m confident that with a collective effort to reach out to a more diverse student population we will see wider participation in education abroad among traditionally underrepresented groups.

Andrew Gordon is the founder and president of Diversity Abroad. He is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, where he studied business, economics and Spanish. He has studied, traveled and worked throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and South America. He started Diversity Abroad in 2006 with the focus of increasing global awareness and engagement among students and young people with an emphasis on diverse and under-served populations.

Tags:  Diversity Abroad Conference  education abroad  Minority Students  Scholarships  Study Abroad 

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