Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Increasing diversity in U.S. students studying abroad

Study abroad for U.S. students has been characterized by classicism for decades. As a first-generation student in the late 1960s I fantasized about studying abroad but never took even the first step toward trying to make it happen. Today's figures about who studies abroad and where they go reflect a continuation of this classicism with numbers dominated by white students going to European countries.

An exception to past patterns is an increase among students who attend Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). The numbers are growing at HBCUs and the places students want to go are very different than the historic patterns of white students. Quoting from the link above, "One of the patterns amongst students at HBCUs or minority institutions is that we see that students are much more interested in what one might consider heritage-related programming, which is why we see a lot of students from HBCUs going to Latin America and the Caribbean as well as to sub-Saharan Africa."

The fact that students studying abroad from HBCUs is increasing is helpful for many reasons. First and foremost, study abroad should not be limited to only a certain sub-population of U.S. students. An equally valuable outcome is that HBCU students are leading all U.S. students to places that are part of the new world order - outside traditional Westernized countries of Europe and North America.

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