First-Generation Abroad is WSU’s study abroad program designed exclusively for students who are first in their family to attend college. Although first-generation students can benefit most from the professional and personal development opportunities awarded through study abroad programs, they have some of the lowest participation rates among U.S. college students. 1st Gen Abroad is here to change that!
We know that the confidence and assurance first-generation college students gain while abroad helps them adapt to and succeed in most any situation. Research shows that students who study abroad earn higher grade point averages and have stronger degree completion rates compared to their peers. Study abroad can increase cultural understanding and open-mindedness; it is also a great way to learn another language and gain experience with diverse populations. These opportunities not only produce high-achieving undergraduate students at Washington State University, but also help first-generation college graduates stand out in today’s competitive job market!
Students selected to participate in 1st Gen Abroad gain access to a campus network of other first-generation students with similar backgrounds, interests, and goals. Students will also receive personalized support from First-Generation staff advisors throughout the entire process. Pre-departure, on-site, and re-entry programming is designed to ensure that Washington State University’s 1st Gen Abroad provides opportunities for students to examine and expand on strategies leading to academic, personal, and professional success.
Travelers with 1st Gen Abroad will benefit from:
- Regular seminar meetings to help students process their experiences and set goals for the program.
- Pre-Departure cohort meetings scheduled on a regular basis to ensure that participants have the opportunity to meet each other and build relationships prior to program departure.
- On-Site cohort meetings to help connect students with meaningful cultural opportunities.
- On-Site volunteer projects that help students learn more about local issues impacting their new host community.
Travelers also receive individualized support throughout their entire study abroad experience! In addition to pre-departure support, first-generation staff advisors travel with the students to ensure a smooth transition into the host country and remain on-site for the duration of the program. 1st Gen Abroad Advisors will help students:
- Apply to Study Abroad and simplify the process
- Find scholarships and understand available financial aid options
- Organize fundraiser opportunities
- Order a passport and important travel documents
- Arrange group flight reservations at a discounted rate
- Host socials and workshops so that students feel prepared for all the advantages study abroad has to offer
Advisors will also facilitate leadership and professional development activities to help students return to Pullman with a strong understanding of how to transfer their new global competency skills to campus organizations, internship programs, scholarship applications, and potential employers! As alumni of 1st Gen Abroad, students will have the opportunity to serve as campus Ambassadors to help educate other first-generation college students about the benefits of study abroad.