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In a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, underrepresented students were less likely than their peers to participate in an international experience before graduation.

Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and other underrepresented groups also graduate college at a disadvantage, so we wanted to create a global program to help even the playing field. The pandemic challenges of the past year have created the need for innovative virtual programming and collaboration within the field, and it is critical that BIPOC and other underrepresented groups are able to participate in professional development and intercultural development opportunities before graduation.

In January 2021, Barcelona SAE collaborated with the University of Miami (UM) to bring students and professionals together for the Global Leadership Development Summit. Intentionally created with “zoom fatigue” in mind, this two-day virtual program incorporated intercultural learning and hands-on professional development workshops through interactive lectures, presentations, and discussions on cross-cultural understanding, networking across cultures and inclusive leadership. Unique to this program was how the University of Miami’s Study Abroad Office enlisted cross-departmental collaboration with the Toppel Career Center and the Office of Academic enhancement which serves the underrepresented and first-generation students. Rarely have so many different university departments worked together with a program provider to deliver such important programming for students’ personal and professional development.

The UM students who were initially targeted for this program were Hammond Scholars, First Generation Ambassadors and underrepresented groups, which accounted for approximately 40% of total enrollment. In addition, UM met their goal to cover 100% of the cost without passing along any fees to students, and the program received full support from the Provost.

Throughout the summit, students learned how to move from a fixed to a growth mindset, discovered best practices for networking across cultures, received tips on effective intercultural communication, and acquired skills on how to become an inclusive leader through case studies and interactive discussions. Presenters from both Spain and the United States engaged students across the summit on topics of global leadership development, encouraging networking and discourse.

Barcelona SAE & UM received positive evaluations from those who participated in this program, and we are already planning a repeat of this innovative program in the future, with other universities looking to replicate the model.

Barcelona SAE

Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE) is the leader in Barcelona Study and Intern Abroad. We provide superior quality study and intern abroad program options in Barcelona that incorporate a strong intercultural element for our students. All aspects of the programs incorporate experiential learning and cultural immersion in order to open the eyes of the next generation of leaders to a global world.