Unmet Challenges of Diversifying Participation in Education Abroad

A new report by the nonprofit, Diversity Abroad, www.diversityabroad.com, “Collaborative Leadership: Advancing Diversity, Equity and Comprehensive Internationalization in [U.S.] Higher Education,” outlines the critical connection between an institution’s overall effort to provide equal access to its educational resources as well as equal acccess to international experience.  It states:

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are key components of strategic planning in higher
education and provide an opportunity to combine the inclusion initiatives that are
rooted in the civil rights era with campus internationalization efforts of the more recent

It goes on to say that, Access for all students to international education remains unmet. Diverse and underrepresented groups in higher education such as students of color, students with disabilities, and those of lower socioeconomic status remain stagnant in education abroad programming. 

The report substantiates what we know has been true for many decades with regard to the vast gap between white students and all others on our campuses when we look at the facts pertaining to participation in study abroad.  The report, however, stresses that there is now greater visibility to this gap due to the hiring of staff to manage diversity in both hiring practices and with respect to recruitment of, and marketing to, diverse student audiences.

I think the importance of continuing to shine a bright light on this gap in access to all international education experiences will only grow in significance in coming decades. The best way to diversify participation in education abroad is to have a deep pool of diverse students to enage with and market the linkage of international experience to employability. 

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