Diversifying participation in study abroad programs involves even the first phases of program development: the creation of courses and tracks of study, the hiring and training of staff, designing all-student meetings to create spaces for group reflection on the immersion process across gender, race, and class lines, designing excursions that explore themes of diversity in the host country, and more.
Making study abroad more inclusive also means that we have to continue to adjust the way we talk about the impact of study abroad on job placement, grad school entry, and the securing of scholarships/grants. We have to continue to show students that—during the programs—there are on-site activities that support job placement, scholarship program access, and grad school admissions.
Blue Sage Global Education builds, enhances, and expands study abroad programs for universities and providers that fully support an inclusive student body and the experience of diverse groups while abroad.
The point of this brief article is to share how Blue Sage is building partnerships with employment agencies and Boston, New York City, and Providence-based hiring companies that value study abroad, intercultural development, and language skills so that you--universities and providers--can assure all groups of students that your study program offers concrete career enhancement and simple yet bold steps towards translating the investment abroad into professional action.
How does Blue Sage do this? For programs built from the ground up and for contracts that involve enhancing or expanding existing overseas centers, resident staff are hired and trained to run workshops based on the profile creation and search criteria of these “study abroad-friendly” employment agencies and organizations. It’s not like a dentist office where you fill out forms in silence: it is fun and opens self-reflective terrain with regards to understanding phases of the study abroad immersion process. Resident staff members are trained on how to turn the agency/organization’s application and profile questions into discussion points where indicators of language proficiency standards turn into dialogue on intercultural learning.
There is an initial goal-setting workshop for students in their first month of a semester-long program. And for re-entry, there are two workshops that lead to a unique point of entry into select employment agencies and hiring organizations with an application completed and reflected upon. These activities can be connected to optional Blue Sage pre-departure and re-entry courses: projects-based courses that get students anchored in a research theme before they even arrive.
How does this relate to making participation more inclusive? Universities and providers that use Blue Sage services can market the programs as living forums for intercultural and language learning that also open the door to job placement and career enhancement. Tangible partnerships and access to employment agencies and hiring organizations mean a great deal to students who are looking for ways to see the return of a huge investment.
Interested in learning more about this? Sign-up for notification of the e-book’s release (I will not annoy you with email marketing, I promise). And see how these ideas are translated into action by liking the Blue Sage facebook page!