Emphasis on participation in first-generation studies abroad, by sector

By reaching underserved students with information about financial support and partnering with faculty members who can encourage first-generation students, study abroad organizations can help students become more competitive. for future jobs or higher education, the document suggests.

Participants can also receive social, academic and career benefits, including “valuable practical experience to develop professional skills, resume references and career preparation,” the report says.

“In many cases, the support students need most is the confidence of an advisor with the knowledge and understanding to walk them through the details of the task at hand step by step,” he said. note.

He found that funding is “the number one practical barrier” to first-generation student participation in study abroad. Other barriers center around a “lack of family support” and the complexities of multiple identities that first generation students may have.

“Higher education institutions and organizations that serve students are often created to support groups of students based on specific characteristics such as students with high financial need, students of color, or students of non-professional age. traditional,” the report said.

“The intersection of these different identities can pose a challenge in designing appropriate support systems for first-generation students”

“However, first-generation college students may have all of these characteristics, as well as their first-generation identity, none of these characteristics, or somewhere in between. For those working with students, the intersection of these different identities can pose a challenge in designing appropriate support systems for first-generation students.

Respondents in the research shared that first-generation students were often unaware that studying abroad was an option. Researchers have identified sharing images and stories of other first-generation students attending overseas programs as a “powerful outreach tool.”

Additionally, institutions have the ability to “leverage internal and external scholarships and help students navigate financial planning for going abroad,” the research continues.

In 2020/21, 58% of participants in the U.S. State Department’s Benjamin A Gilman International Fellowship Program were first-generation students, while IIE’s Generation Abroad Students initiative saw 63% of institutions report a focus on study abroad initiatives for first-generation students. .

Institutions have also implemented a range of supports, including scholarship funding, personalized programs, study abroad fairs and campus campaigns, according to the report.

Additionally, 70% of institutions receiving funding from IIE’s US Passport Project plan to target first-generation students as part of the initiative to help 10,000 US students obtain passports by the end of the decade.

The report also warned that some study abroad offices have limited resources, which affects their ability to provide personalized outreach. to underserved student groups.

Some institutions are already finding ways to personalize study abroad for first-generation students, such as increasingly involving parents, partnering with campus counselors advising first-generation students, and “demystifying” types study abroad programs – including internships, service learning, volunteering – available to students.

This is particularly pressing as this group continues to grow within the post-secondary student population, the report continues.

“Less than 10% of first-generation students study abroad,” wrote Angela Schaffer, executive director of the Fund for Education Abroad, in the foreword.

“This paper underscores the importance of programming, education, and scholarship practitioners working together to provide entry points and funding opportunities for global education for first-generation students.”

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