Last week, Diversity Abroad staff attended the 67th annual NAFSA conference in Boston, MA. NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, coordinates the largest conference in international education. This year, over 11,000 attendees came to Boston from around the world, representing universities and colleges, ministries of education, and businesses invested in creating unique global learning opportunities for students.
Diversity Abroad came and represented the only major organization singularly focused on increasing awareness of opportunities abroad for students of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. In addition to hosting a booth showcasing our services & resources, our staff attended sessions focused on better supporting the students we all want to see study abroad: those from racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, students of religious minorities, first-generation college students, and students with high financial need, to name a few.
Some of the sessions highlighted unique case studies from campuses around the U.S. working to increase underrepresented students’ participation in global programs. They include scholarship opportunities, mentoring/advising programs, and unique marketing campaigns. By attending these sessions, our staff was able to share with educators who we are, what our work is, and how they can become involved.
In addition to attending sessions, some staff also presented on various topics. Diversity Abroad’s President, Andrew Gordon, co-presented during a session titled, “Strategic Approaches to Securing Scholarships in Education Abroad”. Additionally, Student Services Manager, Deidre Ellis, presented in a session called, “Lift as We Climb: African-Americans in International Education”.
But the NAFSA conference isn’t all work! We had the opportunity to meet many of our partner or sponsor organizations and institutions from across the country. Receptions were held by Diversity Abroad supporters such as the Foundation of International Education (FIE), Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), DAAD (The German Academic Exchange Service), and CET Programs to name a few. Rarely do we get the chance to exchange words and appreciation with the dedicated staff at these organizations, so we were excited to do so in Boston.
Next year, NAFSA’s annual conference will be in held in Denver, CO. We’re looking forward to attending and connecting with educators and students alike. We hope to see you there!