IIE Networker - Fall 2005 - (Page 36)

Knowledge Network Study Abroad Building Study Abroad Acceptance among Hispanic Students The Value of Talking to the Hispanic Family By Pat LeMay Burr How does a university with 4,800 primarily minority students with significant financial need build a successful study abroad program? ners, and did so under specific details agreed upon in advance. The formal agreements were, and still are, designed to allow UIW students to register on the home campus while studying at the exchange university for a semester or year, a period during which the students remain technically enrolled at UIW for purposes of maintaining eligibility for institutional financial assistance. When the author was appointed Vice President for International Programs, the responsibility for building a program, then yet to be identified, that would be much more inclusive for UIW’s minority student body was assumed. As a part of the planning, an interview process was initiated with students, particularly Hispanic students, who had not expressed interest in study abroad, and who, the author believed, had never traveled outside the United States. The students who were interviewed described study abroad programs as “something for other students, but not for me.” They did not see themselves as socially empowered or financially prepared for any kind of international travel. They saw study abroad as something elitist and available only for high-income students. They were not negative in this view; they simply described a study-abroad-world to which they did not see themselves belonging. They also were certain that their parents would not allow them to participate in any kind of study abroad program. This was equally true for seniors, as well as for firstyear students. Perceiving the parents’ endorsement to be a key to students’ participation in study abroad, the author simultaneously interviewed a sample of parents of Hispanic students, asking the parents, “Under what circumstances would you allow your student to study out of the country?” The parents, most of whom had never completed high school and many of whom did not speak English fluently, described their terms: the students should travel with a class, not alone; they should travel with a faculty member who would be with the group at all times; and they had to find financial assistance above and beyond what they were already receiving on campus or earning in their part-time jobs. The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is the fifth-largest private university and the largest Catholic university in Texas, and its student population reflects the ethnic diversity of the South Texas community it serves. Sixty-one percent of its students belong to minority groups; about half of its total enrollment is Hispanic. Seventy percent of students are the first family member to attend college. Sixty-six percent come from households at or below the poverty level, and 76 percent of all students rely on institutional financial aid to attend college. One hundred percent of first-year students who show need receive some form of financial aid, and 97 percent of all financial aid awarded at UIW is need-based. Until about three years ago, UIW had sent very few students to study abroad. Those few who had studied abroad had participated via international exchange agreements with specific university part- Dr. Pat LeMay Burr (left); Ambassador James Creagan, president of John Cabot University; and University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) study abroad students in Ambassador Creagan’s university office in Rome, Italy. John Cabot University is one of the sister schools with whom UIW has signed a formal agreement for exchange of students and faculty.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2005

IIE Networker - Fall 2005
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
Study Abroad for Students of Color
Programmatic Diversity Versus Unplanned Information Flows
Nurturing Leadership and Social Change: The Mission of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program
Study Abroad
Study Abroad
Science and Engineering
Students with Disability
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Fall 2005