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Students of Color in Study Abroad Programs

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Jessica Haywood

on 18 March 2014

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Transcript of Students of Color in Study Abroad Programs

Students of Color in Study Abroad Programs
Study Abroad
An international education program that can include a variety of experiences, from a one-week faculty-led adventure excursion to an immersive year of independent study or research at an international institution

Studying abroad benefits students by:
Study Abroad Demographics
The students who elect this experience continue to be homogeneously White.

Despite recent attempts to diversify study abroad, the percentage of students of Color participating in international education has remained disproportionately low compared to overall racial minority enrollment in institutions of higher education
Ordinariness of Racism
Institutional Factors

Historical roots often subconsciously affect attitudes of faculty and staff when considering which students to educate about study abroad experiences

Well-intended faculty and advisors often internalize stereotypes and may assume that students of Color are either not interested in or not academically qualified for international education, which dictates who they chose to educate about study abroad opportunities

Not only does this trend affect students not being told about study abroad opportunities, but contributes to psychological factors that lend to students of Color believing study abroad is not for people like them.
helping them become marketable to future employers
helping them be more competitive in an increasingly diverse and global job market
developing foreign language skills and cultural competence
developing a broader worldview and increased tolerance when approaching issues
increasing personal development and self-confidence
allowing the rejection of stereotypes and examination of American cultural values
serves as a way to ensure our nation’s future economic prosperity, leadership, and security
Oregon State University
At OSU during the 2012-2013 school year, 17.9% of students studying abroad identified as non-Caucasian (African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Latino/a, or Native American/Alaska Native) or multiracial while these racial groups comprise 22.2% of currently enrolled OSU students.
Factors Affecting Participation by Students of Color
Financial constraints and socioeconomic status related to race
Increased attrition rates
Lower language ability
Lack of encouragement and support from faculty
Family and community support
Inadequate education about opportunities
Anxiety about the unfamiliar, racism, or lack of previous travel experience
Marketing messages
Correlations between international competence and career objectives
Marketing Messages & Available Destinations
Marketed to students as an opportunity for cross-cultural communication and language development, and experience in and understanding of a
White students are more likely to be interested in examining other cultures as a way to identify their own American culture
It may actually be a desire of students of Color to travel to a place in search of
, rather than difference- Heritage Seekers
Heritage Seekers & Available Destinations
Popular destinations include Europe and English-speaking countries like England and Australia

Although many heritage seekers are interested in visiting their countries of ethnic origin, there are not many study abroad programs in countries such as Korea, India, and the African continent.
Socioeconomic Status and Financial Factors
Socioeconomic status often intersects with race and family finances
Some students view study abroad as a frivolous luxury or as an unjustifiable financial burden, a notion that is particularly common amongst students of Color
Financial aid is not often available over the summer when many short-term options are offered
Financial Aid
Federal Grant
Institutional Grant
Asian Am.
Salisbury, Paulsen, & Pascarella, 2011
Faculty and Staff Support
The lack of outreach and support to students of Color by campus faculty and advisors is an overwhelming trend in the literature

It can unintentionally become the tendency to assume that students of Color are not qualified for nor interested in international education

The lack of faculty and staff of Color on college and university campuses contributes to a system that does not recruit students of Color at the same rate as White students
Lack of Awareness
In a university survey conducted with students of Color:
almost half of respondents hadn’t heard about study abroad on campus
85% claimed that they were never personally encouraged to consider studying abroad by faculty or advisors
Brux & Fry, 2010
Critical Race Theory Analysis
The discussion of students of Color in study abroad has been molded by a system that tends towards normalizing racism and essentializing or simplifying identities and contexts into what may appear to many professionals as a straighforward issue.

Ordinariness of Racism
Intersectionality and anti-essentialism
Ordinariness of Racism
Historical Roots

The practice of study abroad is rooted in the tradition of sending young White women abroad for finishing school.

This practice has shaped who fits the profile of a typical study abroad participant and has created a societal message that studying abroad is not for everyone
Intersectionality & Anti-Essentialism
Factors involve more than just race- Race intersects with:
cultural, familial, historical, economic, social, and individual factors
The cultural value of community and family has been one that has often been overlooked as a factor that influences study abroad participation by students of Color
Intersections with cultural values, family finances
Citizenship status
Intersections with accessibility to financial resources, language, documentation status, & familial values
Overarching systems such as race, socioeconomic class, gender, native language, historical context, immigration status, and access to the system of education.
Institutions offer an increased array of financial support, including a mixture of federal grants and loans and non-federal grants and loans that are open to all students, including non-citizens

Offer financial aid over the Summer

Creation or support of scholarships, such as the Gilman Scholarship Program which labors to increase minority participation in study abroad
Financial Aid
Education and Training
Educate faculty, staff, and advisors about the issue, how they currently play a role in maintaining the discrepancy, and strategies to combat systematic racism and stereotyping

Resources such as literature, trainings, and international experiences should be offered to staff that work directly with students with a goal of preparing professionals to be better advocates for students of Color in education abroad.

Increase Representation Among Faculty/Staff
An increase of faculty and staff of Color on college and university campuses, especially people who have had international experiences, can serve as a huge resource in encouraging students to travel abroad and act as mentors for minoritized groups

Outreach to Families
Provide parent/family information sessions about study abroad to address specific concerns such as discrimination abroad, familial separation, and heritage learning

Provide students with financial support information early on in order to to help them realize that study abroad can be financially feasible.

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