Engaging Students On Campus
This year, The Passport Tour (TPT) brought Diversity Abroad to college campuses across the U.S. to engage with 2,000+ students about the benefits of going abroad. By bringing our unique resources, scholarships, and expertise directly to students, we are able to address the barriers impacting students’ ability and interest to go abroad, dispel common study abroad myths, and encourage them to pursue global opportunities, regardless of how they identify. The Passport Tour has impacted more than 20,000 students since launching in 2008, and has been one of Diversity Abroad’s signature student outreach programs. To learn more about how TPT is organized, read our blog entry here.
While on tour, students are invited to tell us more about themselves to help us better understand why diverse and underrepresented students are not going abroad, and still only make up less than 30% of all study abroad participants. Students are asked how they identify, what their concerns are about going abroad, and what regions and program types they are most interested in pursuing. Across all campus types, our goal is to reach students who have had no prior experience abroad; such as those attending first year seminar classes, enrolled in TRiO or other Student Support Services programs, or at institutions without established study abroad offices.
By collecting this information, we are able to assess both how successful we are in reaching underrepresented students; we also increase our own awareness of student concerns as they pertain to one’s ethnicity, financial status, area of study and regional interest, to name a few.
The Passport Tour Stats At-a-Glance
As our 2016-17 tour came to an end, we analyzed our data and developed a number of interesting findings about the students we reached. Below are just a few metrics we found most compelling:
At least half of the students we connected with on TPT this year identified as Black, which includes but is not limited to students self-identifying as African American, Haitian American, Jamaican-American, African, or other. 20% of the students we met identified as White, an increase from previous tours. We believe this correlates to our increased focus on reaching students in rural areas across states such as Oklahoma and Michigan.
Of course, finances remained the number one barrier cited for students interested in going abroad, with 35% citing finances as at least one barrier in their decision to go abroad. The following chart further verifies that this holds true, regardless of whether or not students are Pell Grant recipients; a typical indicator of high financial need.
This graphic indicates that first generation college students typically will not know someone - such as friends or family members - with previous study abroad experience. More often than not, study abroad alumni cite an older sibling, cousin, or friend as the inspiration for their participation in a study abroad program.
Finally, what has consistently emerged in our data collection for the past three years is a trend that indicates students’ interest in ‘heritage seeking’ regions. Although Europe consistently remains the primary regional interest for students across all ethnicities, second to Europe aligns with how they identify. For Asian students, this means Asia; for Black students this means an interest in Africa and the Caribbean; for Latino students an interest in Central and South America.
Diversity Abroad at NAFSA17
For the second year in a row, Diversity Abroad was excited to present these findings at the national NAFSA conference, hosted this year in Los Angeles.
The images above were compiled into an infographic shared during the poster session, Diversity Outreach in International Education. To view the full infographic on data collected during the 2016-17 Passport Tour click here.