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Using Study Abroad to turn Diversity into an Asset

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 12 March 17 2020

March 2020

Frontiers, the interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, last November 2019 published an article on Study Abroad of 1st generation Latinx students in Costa Rica. Although it is a qualitative case study, it is interesting – particularly when we look at it through European lenses. It shows how study abroad by underrepresented minority students to a culture that they are familiar with, have all kinds of specific beneficial effects.

Do we have many examples in Europe where we use (short-time) study abroad to cater to the specific needs of underrepresented and underprivileged parts of our student populations? Not that I know of. Do we use such programmes to engage with the tensions between dominant and underprivileged groups in our student population – which reflect such tensions in our wider communities? I know of a former programme that sent small groups of students to Israel and the Palestine territories – a life-changing event for the students, who had a mixed background of Jewish and Arab background-students as well as students who were unfamiliar with both backgrounds. I think it was discontinued because the number of students involved counted more heavily than the impact it had on each of them – more is the pity.

If any reader knows of examples: using study abroad to engage with cultural tensions on Campus, please let me know and send me any reports that may exist on them.

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