CIEE Study Abroad October Update

Authored by:
James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

In preparation for next month's CIEE Annual Conference in Brooklyn on the theme Opening Doors to Increase Diversity in Study Abroad, I've been reflecting on progress we've made increasing participation in study abroad by students from diverse backgrounds, and how we could do even more to democratize international education.

What became clear in analyzing our progress is that to affect real change, we need to engage bold leaders who take concrete action, and we need to find those leaders from all parts of the higher education community. At these moments, it’s important to reflect on these leaders and to thank them!

Thank you to the bold leadership of our conference sponsors and exhibitors, whose fees are donated each year to support the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, and provide ten of our nation’s top students with a fully-funded opportunity to experience a life-changing study abroad experience. The third cohort of Frederick Douglass Global Fellows participated in a transformative intercultural experience in London this summer. 

Thank you to the bold leadership of 18 college presidents, who matched for their students our $1,500 grant to all applicants for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. Their commitment to overcoming the barriers of cost and culture that can stand in the way of study abroad participation raised an additional $60,000 in grants that further supported more than 40 outstanding students from Minority Serving Institutions in their study abroad this summer. 

Thank you to the bold leadership of CIEE’s Academic Consortium Board for supporting new academic programs, international internships, and program policies that helped overcome multiple cost and curriculum barriers for students from every member school.  These changes led to increases in diverse students taking foreign language classes, internships, and STEM programs on every continent. 

Thank you to the bold leadership of CIEE’s Board of Directors for supporting over $10 million in scholarships and grants each year to help overcome the cost barrier to study abroad. All Pell grant-eligible students, the most economically challenged students, can take advantage of GAIN travel grants that cover airfare; all Gilman applicants are eligible for a CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant regardless of whether they are selected for a Gilman Scholarship; and strong academic students can receive scholarships in a number of academic disciplines.

And finally, the biggest thanks goes to all of you, the bold leaders and advisors in the field who counsel students each and every day. Your leadership, student mentoring, and tireless dedication to changing lives helps students overcome all three barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture. 

The result of this collective bold leadership is that CIEE has been able to double the number of students studying abroad each year, and more importantly, increase the number of participating diverse students in a material way. For example, in summer 2019, 42% of CIEE summer study abroad program participants were from diverse student populations, 25% were Pell students, and 12% were African-American. 

I hope you will join us at the CIEE conference, November 6-8, to share your ideas and explore steps we can take together to make the population of students studying abroad better reflect the demographics of the overall student population in America, representing greater diversity in racial, ethnic, religious, academic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as in gender, sexual orientation, disability, and age.

See you in Brooklyn!

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