2019 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows Developing Increased Intercultural Competence through Summer Study Abroad Program in London

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Third cohort of Global Fellows walk in the steps of Frederick Douglass, who lived and lectured in London in 1845

The 10 meritorious freshmen and sophomores from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) who were selected to be part of the third cohort of the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program are wrapping up their intensive study abroad program at CIEE’s Global Institute in London. They have spent the last four weeks participating in an experiential program designed to foster a global perspective and strengthen each student’s leadership and intercultural communication skills through intentional programming, bolstered by targeted intercultural support and guided reflections.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, named in honor of the African-American author, orator, abolitionist, and international statesman Frederick Douglass, is a collaborative initiative created by CIEE and the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) to increase access to study abroad for MSI students. The fellowship, which is underwritten through sponsorship and exhibitor fees from CIEE’s annual conference, covers all program fees and travel costs for 10 outstanding students chosen for their high academic achievement, communication skills, and service to others.

“Taking advantage of London’s multicultural identity, its history, and its current moment in time with Brexit looming, we’ve designed a curriculum that encourages not just academic growth, but personal growth as well,” said the program’s director, Dr. Keshia Abraham.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows explored a new country and culture, touring the Brixton area of London with a local guide, going on a study tour to Belfast, and participating in a community engagement day in Hackney. They met with artists, activists, and academics, diving into Brexit proceedings, and participating in a workshop with world-renowned poet Dorothea Smart. Throughout all of the activities, there was a focus on helping students develop skills necessary to effectively share their intercultural experiences within their respective communities when they return to their home campuses.

“A recent report, analyzing study abroad participation by MSI students revealed that only 10.9% of all U.S. study abroad students in the 2016-2017 academic year came from MSIs even though MSIs enroll over 25% of all college students,” said Daniel Blake, a research associate at CMSI and one of the lead authors of the report. “By helping students from MSIs across the country overcome the challenges that may dissuade them from studying abroad, the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship shows that study abroad is possible for all students.”

“We’ve seen that the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows return home as proud ambassadors for the life-changing impact of study abroad – normalizing study abroad on their campus and encouraging other MSI students to pursue international experiences,” said Paola “Lola” Esmieu, Director for Programs and Strategy at CMSI.

 “The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship changes student lives, just as Frederick Douglass’ life was changed during his time abroad in the mid-19th century,” said James P. Pellow, President and CEO of CIEE. “When the Global Fellows return home, they share their transformative experience with their peers, acting as ‘pebbles on the pond’ to create cultural change in their campus community.”

Students selected for the 2020 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship will study in Cape Town, South Africa. Applications are now open and will close on February 14, 2020. These applications can be accessed at ciee.org/fdgf.

Read more about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program here.

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