Education Abroad has recently dedicated more resources to better prepare students of diverse backgrounds for an international experience.
However, there are still gaps to be addressed; the most significant of which is on-site intervention. Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE) has embraced diversity amongst our students, faculty, and institutions and recently launched TODOS (The Outcomes-Based Diversity Outreach Strategy) to focus on areas in diversity and inclusion work that are commonly overlooked.
TODOS is based on four pillars: Providing Financial Resources, Inclusive Academic & Cultural Programming, Targeted Outreach, and Intercultural Training. Under each pillar, we created innovative programming including: new scholarships supporting students with high financial need, adding reflective exercises around identity to our cultural mentor program, and launching the HBCU partnership initiative to support underrepresented institutions in education abroad. For consideration of this award, we would like to underscore the Intercultural Training work we have completed. To address the gap of on-site intervention, Barcelona SAE launched a diversity training series for US and on-site staff on microaggressions and advising students of color, inclusive practices for advising LGBTQ+ students, and the legacy of Minority Serving Institutions (HBCU’s/HSI’s) in the USA. Our local homestay families have been trained using the “TODOS Homestay Toolkit for Inclusion” to better prepare them for receiving students of diverse backgrounds. This training includes steps for addressing matters of inclusion in the home using common language that’s easy to understand, and families worked in groups to explore case studies such as a young female student wearing a hijab or a young African American student reporting an incident of bias on public transportation. The goal isn’t to change the target culture but to give families the context from where students come from and provide them with inclusive language and supportive techniques to listen, validate and support students in their homes.