HANNAH KESTLY | NEWS CORRESPONDENT
The Study Abroad Office at St. Norbert College has started a new initiative this year called “More.” More what? More students studying abroad.
Study Abroad Director Jeremy Doughty and Study Abroad Advisor Alaina Morales came up with this new initiative, which has two main parts: the first being to get more males to study abroad and the second to get more multicultural students to consider going abroad. This is a common problem throughout study-abroad culture as a whole, not just at SNC.
“Throughout the field of study abroad there is a huge gap between the number of males and females that choose to study abroad,” said Morales. “Only about 25 percent of the males at SNC study abroad, compared to 75 percent of SNC females.”
“This is pretty drastic if you think about it,” continued Morales. “We send about 30 percent of each graduating class abroad a year, but only a fraction of these students are males.”
Studies have shown that students who study abroad tend to fare better in career placement and career success after college, so studying abroad has many benefits besides just the opportunity to travel and live in another place for an extended period of time.
In order to target the population of male SNC students, one thing the Study Abroad Office has done this semester is create a March Madness bracket with different countries from different regions of the world. Students could vote via a polling system and choose which country they thought was the best to study abroad in.
“We’ve been able to get some attention from the March Madness poll,” said Paige Navis ’16, an intern at the Study Abroad Office. “Although a number of the votes we’ve gotten have been from females, so we’re still thinking of other ways to get attention from male students.”
The Study Abroad Office also hopes to work more with athletics and partner with male students, faculty and staff on campus who have studied abroad or have international experience. A panel is in the works to happen later in April that will highlight the experiences of male students, faculty and staff to share with other male students who are considering studying abroad.
“Research has also shown that many males think they could have the same adventure that they could have studying abroad later in life, so they don’t prioritize traveling for their college years,” said Morales. “We really want to stress to male students that this is an adventure: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go abroad and engage with other cultures for a long-term commitment now.”
The second part of the initiative is to look more specifically at partnering with Multicultural Student Services and the Office of Financial Aid to see how the Study Abroad Office can highlight the affordability of studying abroad, as well as get students of color to see themselves abroad.
Currently only 0.06 percent of students who studied abroad at SNC identified as non-white, and the Study Abroad Office wants to change this.
“A big issue for some of these students is that they may have more family obligations or are unsure if they would feel comfortable going to school at an institution in another country,” said Morales. “We want to show the benefits that there are to gain from studying abroad.”