Antiracist Practice in Study Abroad HE Programs (Bonus Post)

Recently, Dean DePauw announced a call for applications for the “Future Professoriate: Global Perspectives” study abroad program.” From the first time I heard Dean DePauw describing the Future Professoriate Graduate Certificate and mentioning the study abroad opportunity, my ears perked up and I was all in. Besides my love for travel, I always wanted to engage in study abroad since high school but finances, GPA, or courseload provided many missed opportunities. I knew that a study abroad trip would allow me to engage in experiences I would not otherwise experience while in the United States of America. The “Global Perspectives” program is another chance to fulfill my study abroad dreams, and this time, none of the factors that held me back in the past are factors today. Unfortunately for other minorities financial, GPA, and other concerns are still a reality of debilitating factors when hoping to engage in study abroad.

In “Can study abroad advance antiracism in international HE?,” Motun Bolumole and Nicole Barone (2020) are concerned argue that although study abroad programs are said to extend students’ world view they in fact perpetuate racism. A couple of these concerns are that (1) minority students face discrimination by their peers while on study abroad trips, and (2) 70% of study abroad participants are white students. Bolumole and Barone propose universities provide funding for minority students who would not otherwise be able to participate in study abroad and reconsider GPA requirements. Also, universities should develop an antiracist curriculum for study abroad that provides antiracist learning objectives.

I noticed that the Global Perspectives program has prerequisites that help students develop a cultural lens/worldview of higher education prior to attending the trip. Students are required to take a future professoriate and contemporary pedagogy course, and both courses have discussions about diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias as well as learning about international higher education. These courses are the first step towards an antiracist curriculum. Next, students accepted into the program must attend a series of sessions as further preparation.

This article helps elucidate the underlying racism in study abroad programs that we may otherwise overlook as oppressive to a community when we’re in a position of privilege.

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Reference:

“Can study abroad advance antiracism in international HE?” by Motun Bolumole and Nicole Barone (2020)

https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20201104095902644

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