The Decaturian

Global Citizenship Week

The CIE Misses Diversity Abroad

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As part of Global Citizenship week, the Center for International Education typically invites a representative from Diversity Abroad to give a presentation. This year, the presentation scheduled for Thursday, September 26 at 3 P.M. got cancelled.

They scheduled this presentation to take place an hour after the study abroad fair because it is a critical second-half to their mission. Many students already want to go abroad, but if you are a first-generation student, from a family with a low income, or a minority, you may not know how to go about doing it.  

Diversity Abroad is a great organization that provides a range of services. They want to educate students from diverse backgrounds about how they cannot only go abroad but how they can achieve a successful study abroad experience.

In the past, the presentations have taken place in the Center for International Education and have been helpful on various levels. The presenters spent a lot of time talking about how to receive grants, scholarships, manage finances, and things of that sort. They also discussed social adjustments. It may be difficult for students from diverse backgrounds to study abroad because, in many cases, the rest of the world perceives “Americans” to be caucasians.After all, the leading demographic of American students studying abroad is upper middle-class white women with humanities majors.

If you are a student from a diverse background, if you don’t have a humanities major, or if you come from a low-income background, you might not think that you are the “studying-abroad” type. This simply is not the case.

The CIE knows that this is completely false. Anyone under the sun can benefit from experiencing another culture. The Diversity Abroad organization provides the tools that help the CIE improve your chances of having a great study abroad experience.

Though the meeting was cancelled, Diversity Abroad is an organization that everyone should know. So, here’s a tip: much of the important information a presenter would give you is on their website at www.diversityabroad.com.

The website has stories from students with diverse backgrounds, talking about what they learned, how they grew, how they used their study abroad experience in their resume, and much more. The website also offers tools to help you upload your resume to “exclusive career resources and events,” connect with the Diversity Abroad community, and even match with scholarships.

Something they might tell you, for instance, is that earning scholarships to go abroad is not as difficult or selective as you might think. Hundreds of students each year don’t even apply to scholarships even though they are qualified.

          The presenters would emphasize this as much as they could because they know that funding is the number-one barrier for students from diverse backgrounds. They would also take time to discuss other concerns like encountering prejudices, staying in-touch with family, and even simple things like where to find haircare products for natural hair in other countries.

The CIE is currently searching for another time to hold the presentation, but the Diversity Abroad website is always available, and the CIE can still answer several of your questions.

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Global Citizenship Week