America’s Black colleges want to internationalize their campuses and send their students abroad, but inadequate access to resources keeps many of these institutions restricted to U.S. shores, said a 2005 study by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO).
Though the numbers are improving, minority students, in general, comprise less than 10 percent of all American students studying abroad, according to the Institute for International Education, which crunches the numbers annually in their “Open Doors” report.
Historically Black college and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) face the same problems students encounter: a general lack of information.
At their “National Dialogue” conference in Washington, D.C., NAFEO organizers dedicated a day of events to strengthening ties between international education sectors and their member schools. Seeking improved collaboration and enhanced experiences for students of color, panelists presented opportunities for institutions to ramp up their campus globalization efforts.
Offering grants and opportunities to graduate students, Richard Everitt of the British Council said that, with additional financial support from the prime minister, the United Kingdom is looking to attract more Black students to its 80 member institutions.
At the Institute for International Public Policy (IIPP)—an offshoot of the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Unit—students begin a fellowship program that carries them through their study abroad experience into post-graduate work in the field of international relations.
IIPP Director Nicholas Bassey said, as sophomores, students begin their training and are required to learn a foreign language proficiently by graduation. A few of their graduates are now active in the Foreign Service, he said.
On the domestic front, both the Department of State and International Student Exchange Program have renewed their commitment to recruiting more students and encouraged HBCU leaders to dedicate at least one staff member to coordinating study abroad experiences.
David Levin, of the State Department, said its most renowned fellowships have various incarnations that will appeal to faculty as well as students. The Fulbright program has eight different units and teacher programs that will give African-American, Hispanic and American Indian students global skills.
Here is a list of programs that HBCUS, PBIs (Predominantly Black Institutions) and other institutions can promote to their students:
Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship Program: www.iie.org/gilman
Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes: www.clscholarships.org
Fulbright U.S. Student Program: http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html
Diversity Abroad: www.diversityabroad.com
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: http://exchanges.state.gov/
NAFEO and American Institute for Foreign Study: http://www.aifsabroad.com/