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U Receives U.S. State Department IDEAS Grant for study abroad

The award helps institutions create, expand and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.

The University of Utah is one of only 26 U.S. colleges and universities, out of 132 applicants, selected to receive a 2021 IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. The award helps institutions create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.

Through the IDEAS Grant award, the U’s Office for Global Engagement (OGE) will work directly with the TRIO Programs Office to facilitate a training session for TRIO advisors at the University of Utah Asia Campus in South Korea, and will fully support three students served by TRIO to study at the U Asia Campus.

During their experiential training, TRIO advisors will learn how to empower and advise underrepresented students regarding international academic experiences. The TRIO students will participate in the Global LEAP program, which provides a first-year international experience for U students.

Traveling abroad early in a student’s academic career sets them up for integrating global education into their entire university experience. “Given what we know about international experiences leading to higher graduation rates, this presents a powerful mechanism for helping these students reach graduation,” said Dr. Sabine Klahr, Associate Chief Global Officer and Executive Director for Learning Abroad. “By connecting advisors with students who are actively participating in their first international experience, we can help advisors understand what daily life is like for these students. In turn, the advisors can better prepare the students who will follow.”

Advisors and students will interact directly, allowing students to articulate the benefits and challenges of their experience directly to the advisors. Upon their return to campus, TRIO advisors will build a strategic advising program and staff outreach plan to increase the participation of underrepresented students in Global LEAP, at the U Asia Campus, and learning abroad in general.

“Our U Asia Campus is ideal for a first-year international experience—and especially for students who may not have traveled abroad before coming to the U,” said Klahr, noting the safety of the South Korea location, the on-site staff, classes taught in English, and the fact that the same general education courses are available as on the SLC campus. The U Asia Campus is also a very affordable option since students pay resident tuition and lower costs for housing.

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to expanding study abroad opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds studying at colleges and universities across the United States. Americans studying abroad serve as citizen ambassadors by building relationships within their host communities, demonstrating American values, and countering stereotypes. They also gain critical job skills abroad that in turn benefit their home communities. We are committed to continuing our strong support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future,” said Heidi Manley, USA Study Abroad Chief, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This U.S. Government program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by World Learning. In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff, and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity-building activities.

For more information, including a full list of 2021 IDEAS grant recipients, visit the Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad website at Funded projects are supporting such activities as developing new international partnerships and programs, training faculty and staff, internationalizing the curriculum, creating resources to engage diverse student groups in study abroad and creating virtual exchanges. Once international travel resumes in full, these IDEAS grant recipients will be better equipped to deliver impactful and inclusive study abroad programs around the globe.