First Abroad Initiative

Make study abroad possible for first generation college students

Study abroad and first generation college students

First generation college students face a number of unique challenges during their college career. As they enter college, they have to adjust to new social climates, academic demands, and financial strain. As a result, they are typically the least likely to be able to study abroad.

They often work several jobs and have obligations to their families and other financial obstacles. Studying abroad is typically not even on their radar as a possibility. And yet they are the students who need a global experience and international network the most to help them succeed in an increasingly demanding workforce.

How the First Abroad Initiative works

The First Abroad Scholarship provides first-generation college students with the opportunity to study abroad by reducing the financial barrier that may prevent some students from considering study abroad during their undergraduate career.

Rather than having to find and apply for the scholarship, we proactively get in front of students at the start of their college career. We pre-select 25 students and notify them of their access to recipients a one-time scholarship of $3,000 to help cover the cost of the UT-approved study abroad program of their choice. They have up to two academic years to select a program and participate, ensuring sufficient time to plan their study abroad experience.

Proven results, proven impact

Since the First Abroad Initiative launched in 2010, more than 300 first-generation college students have received awards allowing them to have transformative experiences in countries like China, Spain, Brazil, Costa Rica and others.

We are nationally recognized as a leader in its efforts to make it possible for first generational college students to gain experience abroad through the First Abroad Initiative. In 2014, UT Austin received the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization Spotlight Award for innovation in increasing access and diversity in study abroad.

But with only 25 students receiving a scholarship to study abroad each year, there are many more who could benefit. You can make a difference in the lives of first generation college students at UT Austin by partnering with the International Office on this important initiative.

Contact Darcy McGillicuddy, Director of External Relations, for more information about getting involved with the First Abroad Initiative.