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The Passport Tour (TPT) Annual Report at a Glance

Posted By Trixie Cordova, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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 EducationTo view the full infographic on data collected during the 2016-17 Passport Tour click here.

Tags:  Student Engagement  The Passport Tour  tpt  Underrepresented Students 

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Reflecting on The Passport Tour

Posted By Daneen Johnson, Monday, April 10, 2017

 

Diversity Abroad recently completed its ninth consecutive year of campus visits through its national outreach, The Passport Tour (TPT). This initiative continued to reach hundreds of college students throughout the country prioritizing students who are traditionally underrepresented in pursuing global education opportunities. As we began to plan our spring 2017 tour, the team considered our nation's current political and diversity climate and urgently committed to expanding our efforts to areas that we had not visited in previous years. We traveled to nineteen institutions throughout Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee with an emphasis on rural communities. With fewer study abroad fairs being offered during the spring, we have the unique opportunity to further personalize each campus visit. We work with Education Abroad, Career Services and Multicultural Affairs offices to create a series of targeted student outreach events and workshops on campuses and connect students back to Diversity Abroad resources. I’ll share a few of my experiences as I led most of the Tour’s visits throughout the country.


Highlights from The Passport Tour


As the Tour stopped in Michigan, I spoke to a group of peer advisers who worked in the study abroad office at their university. I facilitated a session where we discussed identity and how to navigate conversations with peers who have intersecting identities and the challenges they may incur abroad. We also discussed personal bias, how to avoid assumptions, and how to be aware of our dialogue especially when advising. The session comprised of candid conversations that led to enlightening discussions and it was one of my most memorable moments of the Tour.  


In Tennessee, I collaborated with a couple of departments at a university to facilitate a Study Abroad and Your Career session — a workshop model that can easily be replicated at your institution. Students listened to my twenty minute presentation on the transferable global skills that can be developed abroad and how to professionally articulate their experience to employers. Students also received the coinciding Diversity Abroad booklet. The university’s Career Services department invited a professional from their local Chamber of Commerce to speak about the impact of study abroad from an employer perspective. The session ended with a brief presentation from a study abroad alumna who continued to network upon return to campus, which led her to be selected for an internship with a prestigious faculty member.


The Tour later stopped in Oklahoma where I spoke with students from rural communities, a demographic of students who are also underrepresented in education abroad, and discussed how studying abroad can have a positive impact on them and their local communities. In Colorado, my visit consisted of several opportunities to speak with non-traditional students with the conversations leaning heavy on how to balance family and a global learning experience. As The Tour headed south, my time in Texas was filled with curious students asking probing questions as they began to see education abroad as not just a phrase, but a reality they wanted to pursue.


Student Interviews


Throughout The Tour, eighteen students (study abroad alumni) were video interviewed and openly shared their positive experiences and challenges while abroad. Student interviewees represent a diverse range of cultures, perspectives, and study abroad destinations. These interviews can be used as a resource to empower your students to learn abroad. Additionally, many of The Passport Tour visits were captured on our social media pages — Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.


Bringing Diversity Abroad to Your Campus


We frequently facilitate unique opportunities to engage in challenging conversations about awareness and access to global programs as it pertains to one’s identity. If you are interested in bringing us to your campus to facilitate these discussions and to share resources with your students, please contact me at djohnson@diversityabroad.org


Tags:  outreach  students  TPT 

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#UnlockYourPassport: Highlights of The Passport Tour

Posted By Daneen Johnson, Monday, November 7, 2016

The Passport Tour (TPT) has traveled to more than 20 institutions across 6 states; impacting more than 1,000 students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. TPT is one of Diversity Abroad's (DA) initiatives to engage students, staff, and faculty with the ultimate goal of "preparing the next generation of global leaders.” This national outreach effort is eminently rewarding and enables us to spark an interest among students who have not considered studying abroad before, and to connect students to Diversity Abroad’s resources.

 

Each campus visit is unique and tailored to reach as many students as possible. This year our student events have included:

  • Study Abroad Fairs

  • Study Abroad 101 Information Sessions

  • Resource tabling in Student Unions

  • Classroom Presentations

  • Open advising sessions in Multicultural Student Centers  

  • Recording student interviews

  • Leading diversity and inclusion discussions for staff and graduate students

  • Moderating a panel consisting of students who have studied abroad

 

Upholding our Commitment

 

We meet students where they are-- on campus, in classrooms, and within inclusive academic spaces. TPT has visited a diverse array of locations and institutional types such as colleges and universities in rural and urban areas, ivy leagues, and institutions with limited access to global opportunities. The diversity of campuses may vary considerably, but the commonality is all institutions have underrepresented students who are not studying abroad. Students are seeking diverse perspectives on the personal (career) significance and overall community impact of this educational endeavor. That’s what makes Diversity Abroad’s impact on campus so unique.

 

Additionally, we are upholding our commitment to increase visits to Minority Serving Institutions, and during this semester alone, almost half of all TPT visits have been at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

 
 

Memorable Moments:

 

Open group discussions with students about their excitement, and conversely their barriers to studying abroad create our top memorable moments of the tour. These conversations that we facilitate on campus not only allow students to hear from each other and help their peers critically think through topics of concern, but they also allow faculty to understand their students' needs. This is why we encourage faculty members to also review study abroad resources to prepare students who seek their advice.

 

Likewise, one-on-one conversations with students are just as valuable as the group discussions. In conversing with students, many have told us that they see a reflection of themselves in the DA team. May it be that we share the same race/ethnicity, religious identity, passion for travel and food, immigration story or ambition to thrive in life, students quickly open up and share their thoughts. For example, I recently shared a meal with a student who promptly connected with me based off of physical identity. With much excitement, she recommended we eat at the best new restaurant near campus where she anecdotally walked me through her recent semester abroad in South America. Giving students undivided, unadulterated attention, be it in a group or individualized settings, helps them to reaffirm and improve self-efficacy, which is the desire of all educators.

 

Also, while visiting campuses we are able to meet a few of our Diversity Abroad scholarship recipients. Seeing them glow with joy as they share their memories of the “best experience of their lives” is always a lasting memory for the team.


Shift Perspective

 

Build authentic connections with students and don't assume that a student knows how study abroad is defined or it’s permanent impact on their personal and professional lives. Therefore an attentive ear is essential. If a student says “I can’t study abroad”, perception can lead a professional to believe the student isn’t interested, when in reality they may be concerned about the multitude of valid reasons that, unbeknownst to the student, can be overcome. Just this week while on a campus in Florida, a student walked past our resource table and mentioned that she would love to study abroad but has a child and can not be gone for a long duration of time. I countered by explaining to her that her school’s study abroad office offers short-term, week long programs. In that moment, her perception of study abroad shifted from completely unrealistic to possible and her perspective on the opportunity was more optimistic.

 

Our challenge to you: listen with intentionality, connect with integrity, educate with care, engage in critical conversations, and challenge students to pursue a global opportunity. It’s a straightforward and healthy reminder for all of us to better refocus our students perceptions to help them have a clearer view of reality.

 

The Passport Tour will be on back on the road visiting campuses across the country in spring 2017! If you are interested in hosting Diversity Abroad on your campus, please contact Daneen Johnson, Community Engagement Coordinator at djohnson@diversityabroad.org.

 

Also, celebrate International Education Week with Diversity Abroad and IES as we host Embark to Excel: A Virtual Student Conference on Study Abroad and The Socially Conscious Global Citizen! Reserve your virtual seat here: http://bit.ly/e2econference2016

 

Tags:  diversity  iew  international education  TPT 

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