WVU Receives IDEAS Grant to Help More Underserved Students Study Abroad | Today

West Virginia University receives the IDEAS grant to provide underserved students with the opportunity to travel abroad. Two short-term faculty-led study trips abroad to Jamaica and Wales (pictured here) are planned for first-generation and RISE students.
(Photo WVU)

A joint project between West Virginia University Global Affairs Office and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences aims to increase the number of WVU students from diverse and underserved backgrounds who study abroad.

A survey of WVU CLIMB WVU members and first-generation students have found they are particularly interested in study abroad opportunities, but concerns about cost, language barriers, and class schedules keep many from participating . education abroad Global Affairs Office staff and Eberly College faculty Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics received a grant from the United States Department of State’s Education Abroad Augmentation and Diversification Program (IDEAS) to address these concerns.

The project will create two faculty-led short-term study abroad programs in Jamaica and Wales, as part of a first-year program for first-generation students and RISE. Study abroad opportunities will take place during spring break, exposing students to languages, cultures, economies, and mining industries, as well as their relationship to West Virginia and its historical experiences.

Since study abroad programs are part of the general education curriculum, students will be able to use financial aid to offset the cost of their attendance.

The team’s project directors are Nicole Tracy VenturaAssociate Professor of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Vanessa Yerkovich, Director of Education Abroad, Regan Brunidirector of student success, niara campbellRISE program coordinator, michelle padenFirst Generation Program Coordinator and Adrian Washingtonassistant professor of linguistics.

“It’s great for our students,” Yerkovich said. “It will take them abroad, meet a degree requirement and help increase their global awareness and experiences.”

Tracy-Ventura takes the lead in designing the new course. She and Washington will teach the course and lead the overseas trips.

“First-generation students and students of color participate in study abroad at a very low rate at WVU and across the United States,” she said. “Having this study abroad experience should stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity and guide them in developing essential skills to succeed in an increasingly global and interconnected society. As a first-generation student, I know that studying abroad has influenced me in ways I never could have imagined. I want everyone to be able to have this experience.

The project will be planned and implemented during the 2022-23 academic year, which includes hiring a dedicated graduate assistant to focus on advising and supporting the students involved.

“Because this will be a large project with a dedicated graduate student working with this population for a longer period of time, it will allow us as a university to get to know these students and their needs,” said added Yerkovich. . “This information can be used in other ways as we continue to develop programs and review how we reach and support students.”

WVU is one of 44 U.S. colleges and universities that will use IDEAS grants to create, expand, and/or diversify U.S. student mobility abroad to support U.S. foreign policy goals. Program implementation is supported by World Learning, a global development and exchange program based in Washington, D.C.



Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
304-293-9263; [email protected]


Rice Kyleigh
Communications Coordinator
Global Affairs Office
304-293-5929; [email protected]

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