Monday, March 25, 2019

"The Historical Evolution of U.S. Students Conducting Research Abroad"

Photo taken of book information found in the "NAFSA Publications: Essential Resources for International Educators" (Spring 2019) booklet

Forthcoming Book "Undergraduate Research Abroad: Approaches, Models, and Challenges" (Fall 2019) edited by Kate Patch & Louis Berends and published by Stylus and NAFSA.

My chapter "The Historical Evolution of U.S. Students Conducting Research Abroad" will hopefully be a crowd favorite...well, at least for those who are interested in the history of international education!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

International Higher Education Consulting was again sponsoring the 2019 IEI (International Educators of Illinois) conference March 14-15, 2019 in Wheaton, Illinois

This was my fourth straight year sponsoring the IEI conference.  All sponsors are listed on the conference Exhibitors & Sponsors page and I'm happy to have been a part of that group!  Unfortunately, I wasn't be able to attend this year and I hope all had a great and productive conference!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Global Business Field Projects (GBFP) - A New Global Education Platform at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business

The following is a guest post by my colleague Jessica Oldford, Director of Global Student Experience Global Initiatives, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.  A couple of weeks ago, Jessica and I were discussing her previous IHEC Blog guest post that she co-authored with Alex Markman and Debbie Carney entitled “Pre-Departure Preparation and Onsite Advising for U.S. Business Students Participating on Exchange Programs”.  After some time, our conversation turned to faculty-led programming in business schools and Jessica told me about the new Global Business Field Projects (GBFP) focusing on FinTech that launched this academic year at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.  As readers of IHEC Blog know, I previously directed the International Business Exchange Program (IBEP) at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and I really liked the idea of faculty-led programming focused on FinTech so I asked Jessica if she would be willing to write up a brief guest blog about GBFP and the FinTech focus of the course.  

During the 2018-19 academic year, Global Initiatives at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business (Ross Global Initiatives) launched a new global education platform called Global Business Field Projects.  Global Business Field Projects (GBFP) was created to highlight the importance of FinTech while also providing students with a hands-on experience all within the global scope. UM students enrolled into the course, taught by Professors Robert Dittmar and Andy Wu, and took class throughout the winter semester.  Winter Break then allowed students to travel to London for a week to participate in project work with a FinTech firm.

The 2018-19 version of GBFP has continued to grow and provides UM students with more diverse FinTech experiences.  As Professor Dittmar highlights, “This year, our Global Business Field Projects take us to the UK, which from 2008-2018 had more FinTech companies founded than any other country besides the U.S.  Exploring FinTech in a global context is especially useful due to differences in financial regulations, development of capital markets, and existing payment systems in different countries.  Different countries have different financial needs, which have given rise to different emphases of companies in these different environments. In fact, because many countries do not have the legacy financial and payment systems of developed economies, they are able to adapt their financial systems more rapidly to the changes introduced by technology.”

As the 2018-19 course progresses, Global Initiatives is capturing data on the impact on students and learning outcomes.  Anecdotally, feedback on the student experience, firm engagement, and faculty oversight and mentorship has been positive.  Global Initiatives is eager to capture this in a more formal setting and utilize take-aways for the 2019-20 course.

If you have any questions on GBFP, please contact Jessica Oldford at:

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Confronting Racial Bias in Study Abroad

The following is a guest post by Roric McCorristin.  I really like Roric's piece and  I find it to be very important read for colleagues in our field!  I'm very pleased that I get to post his work here on IHEC Blog!

The participation of students of color in study abroad is characterized by two unfortunate trends: disproportionately low participation compared to white students, and evidence of racial micro-aggressions directed at students of color by other U.S. students who are abroad with them. These trends stand out because we wish them to be anomalies. Yet they persist over time, despite efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in international education. The good news is that we can take action to reverse these trends, especially if predominantly white institutions (PWIs) choose to prioritize addressing racial bias in their study abroad services.
According to the 2018 Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education, 70.8% of U.S. study abroad participants during the 2016-17 academic year identified as white, while only 6.1% identified as Black or African American. Although the gap is closing incrementally over time (10 years prior white students accounted for 81.9% of participants and Black or African American students 3.8%), the overall snapshot provided by the Open Doors statistics still does not accurately reflect the overall diversity found in U.S. higher education.
To explain the difference in participation rates the Four Fs — fear, family, faculty, and finances — are often cited as negative factors that students of color in particular have to overcome. While the Four Fs can describe potential barriers to access, focusing too much on them invites deficit framing and devaluation of the experiences of students of color. In that sense, the Four Fs have become a way to blame access for low participation rates and deflect blame away from the services provided by study abroad professionals to students of color.

PWIs in particular should think more purposefully about how to leverage the study abroad services they offer to increase participation among students of color at their institutions. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) regularly and successfully promote study abroad and prepare students of color for the experience. However, the question of what PWIs can learn from HBCUs in terms of best practices in study abroad advising has not been extensively explored. While the successes of HBCUs cannot simply be replicated at PWIs, study abroad offices at PWIs should take the lead in pursuing this potential avenue of collaboration. By establishing meaningful relationships with their colleagues at HBCUs, PWI personnel could learn about best practices in advising strategies and pursue programming like joint pre-departure orientations.
In doing so, PWIs could address among their students the distressing and regrettable incidents of racial micro-aggressions that are committed against students of color by other U.S. students in their study abroad cohorts. Ethelene Whitmire (2019) defines micro-aggressions as “slights and condescending comments often based on racial stereotypes.” Her current book project on the history of African Americans in Copenhagen shows us that white students discriminating against their black peers while abroad is nothing new. She tells a story from 1931 about two young Fisk University graduates who, while traveling through Italy with other African American students from Hampton University, were harassed in a dining train car by a group of students from Texas.

It is not difficult to imagine the same scenario playing out today. In an interview I recently conducted with study abroad personnel at a HBCU, I learned about the prevalence of this problem. The students at this school report being less concerned about racism they will encounter in their host communities than they are about the racism they will encounter from other American students from PWIs in their study abroad cohorts. In her fascinating study of Black women who studied abroad through community colleges, Tasha Willis (2015) documents incidents of racial micro-aggressions perpetrated by U.S. peers. She also found that incidents of racial micro-aggressions from white U.S. peers were more troubling than those from the host community. In addition, Willis provides the insight that overseas programs are an expansion of campus climate, suggesting that student behavior abroad will be a reflection of typical behavior on campus. What Willis suggests, and what my discussions with study abroad personnel at an HBCU supports, is that students take their racial biases with them when they go abroad and they behave insensitively towards their peers as they might do on campus. Therefore, PWIs must take the lead in making racial and social identity more urgent priorities in pre-departure orientations. This would raise awareness of the role of social identity in the study abroad context, and address incidents of racial bias that students show towards their peers and fellow citizens while abroad.
Ironically, pre-departure orientations, which are intended to prepare students for intercultural exchange and interpersonal communication abroad, are becoming increasingly impersonal. It is common now for pre-departure orientation to take place online. We should instead be providing outbound students with more in-person contact with peers before their travel abroad begins, in order to raise their awareness about racial bias that they may encounter abroad. Collaboration between PWIs and HBCUs is one way to do this; it is in the interests of PWIs to learn from the success of HBCUs in increasing study abroad participation. Improving the quality of service at PWIs for students of color, and for all students, would be a significant first step towards closing the diversity gap in study abroad.


Institute of International Education (2018). Profile of U.S. Study Abroad Students, 2005/06-2016/17. Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from

Whitmire, E. (2019). Traveling While Black Across the Atlantic Ocean. Longreads. Retrieved from

Willis, T.Y. (2015). “And Still We Rise…”: Microaggressions and Intersectionality in the Study Abroad Experiences of Black Women. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 26, 209-230.