Study Abroad Office lauded for webinar on working internationally

Joanna Hasenauer, a 2018 graduate of the University of Miami, photographed in Barcelona during her semester abroad.
By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

Joanna Hasenauer, a 2018 graduate of the University of Miami, photographed in Barcelona during her semester abroad.

Study Abroad Office lauded for webinar on working internationally

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
The University’s unit, in collaboration with one of its providers, offered a two-day leadership summit that is a finalist for an Innovation in Diversity award.

While the University of Miami’s Study Abroad Office may not have sent students across the globe this past year, it did offer some Hurricanes the chance to learn about working in another country.

During a two-day Virtual Global Leadership Development Summit, 30 University students had a chance to learn about intercultural communication, networking across cultures, and conducting business in a completely new culture from faculty members based in Spain at Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE), one of the University’s study abroad partner organizations.

Offered in January, the program turned out so well that it is now a 2021 finalist for a GoAbroad Innovation in Diversity award. GoAbroad is a leading search engine for international travel programs and offers information about scholarships and reviews of programs from around the world. The winners will be announced June 3.

“It is exciting and rewarding to be considered for an award this year, during a time when study abroad programs have been on hold due to the pandemic,” said Devika Milner, assistant dean and director of the University’s Study Abroad Office. “We thought we could offer something that would meet a need and give students some global engagement opportunities. Now that we are in consideration for this award, it is something we might explore again.”

Hosted by Barcelona SAE director Rich Kurtzman, the virtual workshop was the first of its kind offered through the office, with help from the Toppel Career Center and the University’s Office of Academic Enhancement (OAE). While Barcelona SAE focused on the summit’s content, Milner worked closely with the OAE to find underrepresented or first-generation college student participants who often want to but, because of financial reasons or curriculum requirements, cannot attend study abroad experiences. The Study Abroad Office also sponsored the attendance cost for students, so it was not a burden.

Sophomore Lindsey Faucher said participating in the summit was engaging and useful to her as an international studies major. “We were able to engage with people who are in the global space already,” she said.  “And it was valuable to learn from [Kurtzman] because he has been in a lot of different countries and communicated with people in a lot of different cultures.”

In addition, Milner said the program worked out well because they were able to include a diverse group of students who are often underrepresented in study abroad programs. This is a goal her team shares with Barcelona SAE. The University’s Study Abroad Office has been working with Barcelona SAE for six years, offering University students the opportunity to learn and live in Spain.

“Study abroad offices everywhere need to step up academic initiatives for traditionally underrepresented students,” Milner said. “International programs should be accessible to students of all backgrounds and abilities. And my team is exploring initiatives to ensure more diversity, equity, and inclusion on our programs abroad.”

 To learn more about the Virtual Global Leadership Summit, watch a video about it here.