Education Abroad has been making great strides in better preparing students of diverse backgrounds for an international experience.
However, there are still gaps to be addressed; one of which is pre-acceptance engagement for diverse students. Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE) has taken up this challenge and embraced innovative programming through our TODOS (The Outcomes-Based Diversity Outreach Strategy) initiative to focus on areas in diversity and inclusion work that are commonly overlooked. At Barcelona SAE, we created several different initiatives to highlight the importance of Black history in the US and in Spain.
First, we created an educational quiz that asked students to answer 4 out of 5 questions about black history correctly (connected to both the US and Spain) in order to unlock a $101 discount for their application deposit, in honor of the 101 accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in the US. In addition, we released numerous black history facts dealing with Spain and the African Diaspora on our social media pages throughout the month of February.
Second, we launched our Black Barcelona Art Contest, as we wanted to give students an outlet for connecting the city of Barcelona to African history in order to have a better understanding of the African Diaspora in Spain. We had students submit any type of artistic expression that answered one of the prompts: “The celebration of Black history is/The celebration of African Diaspora in Barcelona, Spain is…” and the winner of the contest won an art pass around the city as well as a mosaic class. We were able to offer this to onsite students as well as students that had put down a deposit to come the next semester.
Finally, students of African descent were invited to write blog posts detailing how it is to travel as a person of color in Spain. This campaign was in an effort to show other students that travel is possible for them also, and throughout the month, we had several staff members travel or participate virtually in various events from partners including “Being Black Abroad” and organized a series of scholarship presentations to Minority Serving Institutions (MSI’s) across the country.