For African American Students Abroad:
According to NAFSA data from the 2012-2013 academic year, the percentage of African American students who study abroad is not proportional to the number who are pursuing an undergraduate education. While African American students represent 14.9% of post-secondary enrollment in the United States, only 5.3% of American students abroad are African American. Geneseo is dedicated to increasing diversity abroad and providing opportunities for all students to pursue an international education. This page is a compilation of information and resources for African American students interested in studying abroad.
Why Study Abroad?
Study abroad is a great opportunity for students to gain new perspectives and unique experiences. An international education allows students to develop a deeper understanding of other cultures, increase their foreign language skills, and build maturity and self-confidence. Students can satisfy major requirements or earn elective credit while abroad.
Experience abroad not only enriches a student's undergraduate education, it can also make them more competitive for jobs after graduation. The benefits of international education are numerous, and are just as important for members of groups that are typically underrepresented in study abroad programs.
Top 10 Reasons for African American Students to Go Abroad is an article by Starlett Craig, who lists some compelling reasons for African American students to consider study abroad, as well as describing her own experience with travel and international education.
One common concern for students considering study abroad is the reaction of their parents. Often times parents or guardians are apprehensive about the costs and the practical aspects of study abroad. With the appropriate amount of planning, however, a semester abroad can be comparable to a semester at Geneseo. Courses taken while abroad can often be counted for credit, and may even be used to satisfy graduation requirements, allowing students to earn their degrees on time.
Parents can also refer to the Parent Page for information specific to Geneseo's programs.
Discrimination and Race Abroad
For students going abroad, it is important to research the history of the country where you will be living. Ideas of race vary from one country to the next, and are often affected by historical processes or events. It is likely that most people will view you as an American, rather than an African American. In countries where most people are of the same skin color, people may be curious about your appearance. Questions and even staring are annoying, but are not likely to be the product of negative racial stereotypes.
All Abroad's page "What About Discrimination" addresses the kind of discrimination African American students may face while abroad.
Diversity Abroad lists questions that a student should consider when researching discrimination in a potential study abroad location. This page also offers tips on dealing with possible negative situations.
Transitions Abroad is another helpful site, featuring various articles.
This guide, created by students at the University of Pittsburgh, chronicles the varied experiences of African American students who have studied abroad. Their testimonials speak to the wide range of attitudes and reactions experienced by students of color while abroad.
Scholarships and Financial Resources
Students of all backgrounds and ethnicities cite money as an impediment to studying abroad. Geneseo works to help make travelling abroad an affordable and accessible opportunity for all students through numerous scholarships as well as financial advisement.
Once you have been accepted to a program you should research the program costs and schedule an appointment to discuss aid options. You should also peruse the list of scholarships offered by Geneseo, as well as this page of resources designed to help in your scholarship search. Specifically, Pell eligible students should consider the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which is intended to increase socioeconomic diversity in students who go abroad.
The Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are intended to support students studying in places that are traditionally underrepresented and learning languages that are less commonly taught.
CollegeBoard has a useful search engine that allows students to select various groups that they identify with, as well as their interests in order to find scholarships. Study Abroad is an option in the "Type of Award" portion of the search criteria.
Diversity Abroad also offers scholarships for a variety of program types and countries.
This list of scholarships and other financial resources is long and may be intimidating, but it contains resources beyond the ones described here that may be useful for students.
The Plato Proposal also offers a long list of scholarships for study abroad.