Study Abroad Access for Horizons Students

Horizons students in South Africa in 2012

Horizons students in South Africa in 2012

Horizons Student Support Services, a TRiO program is designed to be a friendly and easily accessible hub of support for targeted students from income eligible and first generation Purdue students. Whether students are in need of assistance in a particular subject, need to print off documents in between classes, or just don’t know who to talk to, we are here to help them. We provide comprehensive retention methods in ensuring student success including a “home” environment.

Purdue University’s Horizons study abroad experiences are offered to the program to expand global educational opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups. Prior to the generous grant provided to Horizons by the Office of the Provost, we supported and encouraged students to study abroad, however participation was negatively affected due to cost, a general lack of information, and low confidence in their abilities to travel abroad. The Office of the Provost provided Horizons with a generous grant to make access to study abroad a reality. In 2012 Horizons ventured on its first experience abroad to South Africa where they completed 40 hours of service learning. Student confidence levels were measured through pre and post evaluations which ultimately revealed that 100% of participants increased in confidence in the following areas: navigating through unfamiliar environments, cross-cultural communication, knowledge of their discipline in a global context, ability to perform a job in a global context, and ability to make a difference in the world, among others.

Horizons students in Costa Rica in 2013

Horizons students in Costa Rica in 2013

It was obvious that there existed a need for outreach to this particular group of students and in recognizing this need, Horizons was granted another year of subsidized funding. The Horizons Costa Rica experience provided a framework for Purdue in increasing the number of first-generation, low income college students who are more knowledgeable about and are participating in study abroad experiences. In 2014 Horizons will be heading to Valencia, Spain and will focus their curriculum on Global Leadership. Horizons is leading outreach efforts on Purdue’s campus to strengthen participants’ knowledge about the benefits of study abroad and the opportunities that exist, develop an awareness of study abroad scholarships that can subsidize their experience, and increase confidence in first-generation college-goers that they can study abroad and do so successfully.

This post was written by Rosa Acevedo Villarreal, Associate Deann, Director, Horizons Student Support Services

If you would like more information about the Horizons study abroad program contact Rosa at villarrr@purdue.edu, or stop by the Horizons office in Schleman Hall Room 230