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Study abroad during college is a prime moment to engage in international experiences — from a practical standpoint, it’s affordable and convenient: financial aid helps with costs, and the university is set up to support students at all stages of the process. Not only do courses transfer back, but students gain quantifiable skills that translate into career competitiveness. At no other point in one’s life is studying abroad so uniquely possible and fruitful.
Studies regularly show that students with international experience have better grades, experience less attrition, and graduate from college at higher rates. Students return to their home campus with diverse skills and a broader worldview; they often become leaders and creators on campus with an investment in social and cultural issues.
The benefits extend beyond graduation: an international experience is pivotal to future employability and earnings potential. According to the Institute of International Education, “Globalization is changing the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have cross-cultural competence and cutting-edge technical skills… Study abroad is one of the best ways students can acquire global skills and open up personal and professional opportunities.”
However, many students miss out on these opportunities due to cultural or economic barriers. Averett’s specific goals for study abroad include deliberate initiatives to increase diversity in international education and constructively reengage student returnees on campus and in the community.
Financial need is currently the largest barrier to increasing participation in study abroad at Averett: campus surveys show that students are eager to have a global experience, and past participants have cited financial aid as essential to their ability to study abroad. For this reason, Averett is creating a grant program to increase international education experiences called the Diversity in Study Abroad Grant. This grant aims to support students who are traditionally underrepresented in education abroad, including (but not limited to), students with high financial need, first-generation college students, LGBTQ students, students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities. Our goal is to surpass the state and national averages by sending Averett students abroad in proportion to the diverse population on our campuses. This equally serves Averett University’s values of engagement through the belief that international education is a unique opportunity to promote global awareness, service, and leadership.
We committed to providing programs that promote cross cultural competence, innovative scholarship, and enhance foreign language acquisition. Please consider supporting our mission to prepare the next generation of Averett global leaders.
“My wife Joyce and I firmly believe the U.S. will need forward-thinking graduates who will be our future leaders. … We ask donors to think about the times they have traveled or studied abroad and the benefits that came to them from those experiences. Please consider an annual donation to the Diversity in Study Abroad Fund.”Dr. Larry Wilburn, inaugural donor, retired professor and former Director of Study Abroad at Averett University.