Latino/a Students in Study Abroad: Reasons For and Against Participation

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This presentation was presented at SIT Graduate Institute as the final piece of a Master\'s degree in International Education.

This presentation was presented at SIT Graduate Institute as the final piece of a Master\'s degree in International Education.

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  • Graduate Intern, Office of International Education
  • McNair Scholars aims to increase the number of low-income first-generation undergraduates pursuing doctoral programs.
  • More low-income, students of color and undocumented students each year.72% Caucasian10% International7.2% Hispanic3% African-American1.6% Asian American4.1% Bi/Multiracial
  • Follows national trends with regards to study abroad participation rates of minority students:6% Latino, 81% White in 2008-2009 academic year nationally (Open Doors)Beloit College: 82% Caucasian, 2% Asian-American, 2% African-American, 5% Hispanic, 1% Other Minority, 2% International, 6% Unknown
  • Issue:Few articles on Latino students in study abroad, rather many on minority students in generalWay to answer my research question:Barriers to higher education (understand backgrounds of students for better support)Social identity issues not presented in literature review (backgrounds for better support)Minority students in study abroad – getting at the question of why they either choose or do not choose to study abroad
  • In 2007, only 13% of Latinos earned bachelor’s degreesBy 2017, number expected to increase by 39%
  • Desire to please one’s parents connected to sacrifice made to send children to schoolReasons to attend community college: can live at home, lower tuition, accommodate work schedules44% of Latinos attend community colleges
  • Financial situation: students still felt positive regard for study abroadDestination: majority of participants were heritage seekersGraduation: students created own deadlines
  • Efforts by the government administered through the Institute for International EducationGilman for pell-grant recipients, Fulbright for faculty and professionals, National Security Education Program Boren for critical language studyOther scholarships based on ethnic diversity offered by SIT, CIEE, and other program providers.
  • Talk about significance of Turtle
  • Importance of faculty-student interaction is apparent at Beloit College.Off-campus means both domestic and study abroad programs.Activity of Latino students in Voces Latinas – social change is important to these students.
  • Survey participants had varying levels of participationHandout survey and interview questions and discuss briefly
  • Became important to discuss rationale behind research studyClarified intention as not “selling” study abroad rather gathering reasons for and against participation in study abroadDo not discuss all limitations
  • Majority sophomores & juniors, femalesHow do you self-identify?Latino meaning Latin or “Latin American”Hispanic relating to Spain
  • Importance of having study abroad program fit one’s academic planFocus on study abroad among all professors
  • Importance of recruitment materials and First-Year Initiatives course75% of students had not already studied abroad however 10 of them had plans to study abroad
  • This question was intended to see whether the students who had no plans to study abroad found the opportunity valuable.
  • Trying to understand origin to see whether students chose locations based on heritage.Mexico (11 students)Other countries had 1 student each
  • Six of the nine interviewees commented that their families were supportive of their choice to study abroad.
  • Program choices not based on heritage seeking, rather on academic plans5 students or 28% had no plans to study abroad
  • This question is for students who had plans to study abroad or already did.18. Results contradict the literature by McClure et al. (2010) in which the majority of the students chose Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Importance related to cost of study abroad and financial affordabilityMajority at less than $50,000 a year (11 students)Financial aid and its importance to these students
  • Global perspective = understanding your situation in the world and how it may impact others
  • Global perspective: other students, language courses, courses, going abroad
  • In awe of the Latino/a students at Beloit College…
  • Factors impacting choice to study abroad: choice of country (contradicts the literature), program fit with academic plan, future career ambitionFactors preventing students from studying abroad: lack of finances, connection to family
  • Recruitment materials in different languages, send to parents with contact information of bilingual staffDiversity conferences help with becoming more well-versed in appropriate language and discourse on issues of raceReturned students of color serve as ambassadorsDiversify study abroad office staff including through language abilitiesStudy challenges of students of color related to study abroad and educate faculty and staff about themBe sure to return to research question
  • Just say two or three of these depending on how tired people are.
  • Student A = Latina who will be studying in China next year. Concerned about racism she might experience while abroad. How do you advise?Student B = concerned about leaving for a semester to study abroad in case something were to happen to a family member. What do you say to them?Student C = has a four-year scholarship and is worried about completing his degree, therefore he does not think he can study abroad. What can you say to him?


  • 1. Reasons for and against participation
    Amy Dooley Bello (pim 68)
    PIM Capstone seminar
    Thursday, june 2, 2011
  • 2. Agenda
    Literature Review
    Research Design
    Data Presentation & Analysis
    Conclusions & Discussion
    Q & A
  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. Staff Quotation
    The goal is for minority students going abroad
    to no longer be the exception, rather
    “just part of what we do here.”
    (Cecil Youngblood, Director of Intercultural Affairs)
  • 5. Staff Quotation
    “The majority of them are interested and the majority of them are also fearful that they will not have the funding, waste time and money in terms of being away, and have a certain discomfort with going overseas or abroad.”
    (Aurora Chang, Director of McNair Scholars Program)
  • 6. Staff Quotation
    “There is nothing that is more of a challenge than making this kind of education affordable to all who want it.”
    (Bill Flanagan, Dean of Students)
  • 7. Beloit College Enrollment
    72% Caucasian, 10% International, 7.2% Hispanic, 3% African-American, 1.6% Asian-American, 4.1% Bi/Multiracial, 2% Unknown
    (Beloit College Student Profile 2010-2011, Admissions)
  • 8. Study Abroad Participants
    82% Caucasian, 2% International, 5% Hispanic, 2% African-American, 2% Asian-American, 1% Other Minority, 6% Unknown
    (Annual Report 2009-2010, Office of International Education)
  • 9. Research Question
    Why do Latino/a students either choose or not choose to study abroad and how can we better support these students throughout this process?
  • 10. Subtopics
    Barriers to higher education
    Social identity issues
    Minority students in study abroad
  • 11. Literature Review
  • 12. Teachers
    Perceptions of Latino students’ abilities
    Incorrectly assigning students to remedial programs
    4% of teachers in K-12 and higher education are Latino/a
    (Martinez et al., 2006)
  • 13. Family
    Traditionally, females live at home until marriage
    Desire to please one’s parents
    Many Latinos attend community colleges
    (Fry, 2002)
  • 14. Minority Student Participation
    (Salisbury et al., 2009)
  • 15. Study Abroad Concerns
    Financial constraints
    Lack of awareness
    Perception of study abroad as not important
    Familial and social constraints
    Fear of racism abroad
    (Salisbury et al., 2009)
  • 16. Concerns for Latinos
    Importance of family
    Family’s financial situation
    Importance of destination
    Graduation dates
    (McClure et al., 2010)
  • 17. Efforts to increase participation
    (Scholarships not based on ethnic diversity)
  • 18. Research Design
  • 19. Case Study: Beloit College
    1,337 men and women
    123 full-time faculty
    11 students per faculty
    50% of students study off-campus
    (Beloit College Student Profile 2010-2011, Admissions)
  • 20. Research Participation
    Survey via email
    • 20 participants (21% of pop.)
    • 9 interviewees (5 female, 4 male)
    Survey and interview topics:
    • social identity
    • 21. education/family background
    • 22. study abroad interest
  • Limitations
    No student email addresses
    No undocumented participants
    White female researcher
    No specific ethnicities
  • 23. Data Presentation & Analysis
  • 24. Survey Demographics
  • 25. Major
  • 26. Study Abroad Interest
  • 27. Interview Question #13
    What value do you see in study abroad?
    “I think definitely if you have the chance to get out of the country, you should do it however I am not doing it because I am so connected to the campus, the big financial aspect, and because of my family.”
  • 28. Origin
  • 29. Interview Question #19
    How do your family and/or friends feel about your choice to study abroad?
    “My mom was really happy. My dad however, the day before I left, he yelled at me for going so far away from home. He said that’s not what we are supposed to do.”
  • 30. Destination
  • 31. Interview Question #18
    How did you choose the location
    for your study abroad?
    “I was looking at programs in Brazil and Costa Rica and my dad asked why the hell I would want to go to Costa Rica since I had already been there.”
  • 32. Reasons to study abroad
  • 33. Reasons not to study abroad
  • 34. Interview Question #16
    Are you satisfied with your choice to study abroad or not study abroad?
    “Sometimes you have to do things that don’t make you happy, a lot of Latino students don’t because legally, financially they can’t. So I’m happy about having the option of going abroad.”
  • 35. Family Income
  • 36. Interview Question #14
    How would you support the cost of
    study abroad?
    “I have no idea. I have spoken with a few friends who have said that the amount that Beloit gives to help them go study abroad isn’t enough.”
  • 37. Global Perspective
    If students gain a global perspective, they are better able to “approach the complex problems of the world ethically and thoughtfully” (Board of Trustees, 2005).
    (Beloit College & Office of International Education Mission)
  • 38. Survey Responses
  • 39. How? (1, 2 & 3)
    “While taking language courses, there was a strong emphasis on countries outside of our own…”
    “Being in a different country and meeting people from many nationalities is different from talking with the exchange students at Beloit…”
    “In the States, it is easy to identify as Latina, but abroad I was categorized as American…”
  • 40. Discussion
  • 41. Conclusions
    Factors impacting choice to study abroad
    • Choice of country
    • 42. Program fit with academic plan
    • 43. Future career ambition
    Factors preventing students from studying abroad
    • Lack of finances
    • 44. Connection to family
  • Recommendations
    Welcoming recruitment materials
    Attend diversity conferences
    Hire returned students of color as ambassadors
    Diversify study abroad office staff
    Study challenges of students of color
  • 45. Further Research
    Specific ethnic groups or generational groups
    Participation rates at different institutions
    Biracial student participation vs. non-biracial
    Social identity impact on study abroad experience
  • 46. Scenarios
    Student A
    Student B
    Student C
  • 47. Bibliography
    • Bolton Tsantir, S. (2010). Heritage-seeking and study abroad: A case study. Retrieved September 26, 2010, from
    • 48. Brewer, E. (2010). 2009-10 Annual Report. Beloit, Wisconsin: Beloit College. Retrieved from
    • 49. Ethier, K. A., & Deaux, K. (1994). Negotiating social identity when contexts change: Maintaining identification and responding to threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 243-251.
    • 50. Fry, R. (2002). Latinos in higher education: Many enroll, too few graduate.Pew Hispanic Center Report. Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, D.C.
    • 51. Guerrero, E., Jr. (2006). The road less traveled: Latino students and the impact of studying abroad. (Doctor of Education, University of California - Los Angeles), 1-123. Retrieved from ProQuest database.
    • 52. Hembroff, L. A., & Rusz, D. L. (1993). Minorities and overseas study programs: Correlates of differential participation. Occasional Papers on International Educational Exchange, 1-90. Retrieved from
    • 53. Ibarra, R. A. (1996). Enhancing the minority presence in graduate education VII: Latino experiences in graduate education: Implications for change. A preliminary report. Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, D.C.
    • 54. Kuh, G. D., Arnold, J. C., & Vesper, N. (1991). The influence of student effort, college environments, and campus culture on undergraduate student learning and personal development (Conference Paper. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN: Center for Postsecondary Research and Planning. Retrieved from ERIC database.
  • 55. Q & A
    Amy Dooley Bello
    Master of Arts Candidate
    International Education
    SIT Graduate Institute
    PIM 68 – May 2011