Director’s Letter

September 15, 2017

Colleagues:

The Study Abroad Office is uniquely situated to build curriculum capacity through the creation of new knowledge and interdisciplinary space for students to study a range of critical global issues through program opportunities on six continents.

To remove one of the first barriers for some students to even consider studying abroad, I’m very pleased to announce that we have received a generous $13,500 grant from one of our academic consortium partners to cover the cost of 100 US passports for UIC undergraduates who are applying for the first time as adults. There is no obligation to study abroad. Two US Passport agents and staff will come to campus during International Education Week in November to certify the applications. Details on the Passport Caravan initiative can be found on our website at: https://studyabroad.uic.edu/passport-caravan/

SAO focuses on access, diversity, and inclusion in its advising and administrative protocols yielding participating students who reflect the wide socio-economic diversity of UIC undergraduates.  Counter-intuitive to national international education data trends, key SAO data points include:

  • 75% of UIC study abroad students were financial aid recipients.
  • 44% were Pell eligible.
  • Over half of students [55%] identified as an under-represented minority, and 45% were first generation in their family to attend college.
  • 57% of those who studied abroad spoke a primary language other than English.
  • There was a 30% increase over the previous year in the amount of scholarship and grant funding to support students: $457,000, including over $83,500 in the nationally competitive Gilman International Scholarships. Adding institutional grants and scholarships, the final total was $639,000.

Academic and cultural diversity was reflected in the portfolio of programs and curricula in the 29 countries on 6 continents where students studied abroad last year. All credit earned abroad was toward graduation requirements.

  • 57% of credit was approved by faculty, and/or advisors toward 51 majors in 9 colleges continuing an upward trend of previous years reflecting SAO curriculum integration efforts.
  • 43% of credit was approved for General Education, Elective, or Basic Language.

There is no limit on our capacity to engage with students. As of this Fall term, the Study Abroad Office administers student mobility in the Exchange Program portfolio. This program model has particular financial advantages for students who have tuition waivers and/or who receive Veteran's benefits.

I encourage you to also think about creating a program where you can take a group of UIC undergraduates abroad. This is a huge area for capacity building to enhance the internationalization efforts on campus. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to explore this great opportunity to work with students in an international setting.

Thank you in advance for helping students understand the personal, academic, and career benefits of an international experience as part of their four-year plan.

Chris Deegan
Executive Director
Study Abroad
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