For Native American Students Abroad:
According to NAFSA data from the 2012-2013 academic year, Native American students represent only 0.9% of post-secondary enrollment, and only 0.5% of American students abroad. Native American students face unique barriers to pursuing a college education, and study abroad can seem out of reach for many. Geneseo's study abroad office 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 Native 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. TransitionsAbroad makes a great case for the importance of study abroad in this article produced by its Study Abroad Advisor Program.
Reasons to Study Abroad lists some compelling reasons for Native American students to consider study abroad, and includes some examples of famous Native Americans who have learned and benefitted from international experience.
Native American students studying in countries with indigenous populations may have an opportunity to meet people who share a similar experience to their own. Students not only benefit from learning about the customs of people around the world, but they may discover common ground among people living in vastly different circumstances.
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. In some cases, people will view you simply as an American, rather than a Native American. In countries with indigenous populations, attitudes may vary. 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 may not be the product of deliberate racism.
Attitudes towards Native Americans in other countries is likely to have been influenced by their portrayal in the U.S. media. People may have a stereotypical view of "Native American" culture, but students living abroad have the opportunity to dispel these notions.
AllAbroad's page "What About Discrimination" addresses the kind of discrimination Native American students may face 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 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.
This list of scholarships contains resources beyond the ones described here that may be useful for students.