Increasing the diversity of perspectives on campus is an important part of internationalizing the university. Through exemplary sponsored and customized programs, the International Office draws participants from parts of the world that would not otherwise be represented on the 40 acres. Equally important is ensuring that all students at UT Austin have access to international experiences. One of our goals of inclusion and access is to increase study abroad participation by reducing the financial and academic barriers that disproportionately affect underrepresented groups.
While the geographic range of the international student population is vast, it is clear that the university lacks strategic partners throughout the world to provide a stream of applicants to UT Austin’s graduate programs. As part of our Strategic Region Initiative, the International Office is partnering with the Graduate School to recruit students from top level universities in Mexico.
Study abroad is a transformative experience that provides educational experiences beyond the traditional classroom. GPA 2.0+ programs are study abroad opportunities open to students who are traditionally excluded based on GPA. Research indicates that study abroad participation improves retention and graduation rates.
Through a bi-annual symposium, the International Office educates participants from across the country on strategies to improve access to international programs. Themes have included the impact of study abroad on retention and four-year graduation rates, strategies to promote participation among under-represented groups in international programs, and supporting undocumented students in higher education.