In partnership with the Department of State, Partners of the Americas has awarded universities Capacity Building Grants to expand study abroad resources for the past two years. Shepherd University, a 2016 recipient, presented the impact of the grant at the Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship in New York City in September.
Prior to receiving its award, Shepherd did not have a full study abroad office. With more than 79 undergraduate programs, the university attracts students from a variety of academic interests and backgrounds, yet had fewer than 74 students traveling abroad each year. Those that were traveling were going through third parties not closely linked with the university.
After winning the Capacity Building Grant of nearly $50,000, Shepherd was able to accomplish the following:
- ·Establish five new student exchange agreements with universities in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research in the Republic of Mali
- ·Conduct coordinating trips to the locations of each of their new university partners
- ·Host workshops for academic advisors
- ·Facilitate study abroad fairs for third party providers to engage faculty in conversations about the value of international study
- ·Develop a website to house information on the university’s offerings and to share student stories
- ·Launch a study abroad club and photos contest on campus.
Yin Star, the Study Abroad Director who was brought on board thanks to this grant, spoke on a panel at the summit.
“I work to promote study abroad for all students,” Star said. “A lot of our students are financial strapped, first generation.”
Shepherd’s next step is to further engage with students in TRiO/Student Support Services, a program for first generation, disabled, and lower income students, since they continue to be the least involved in study abroad opportunities. By highlighting the accomplishments her university achieved with the grant, Star relayed the importance of continuing this initiative at other universities to broaden students’ opportunity to travel.
Interested in learning more? Click here for to read our Shepherd University Success Story.