African American College Students Are Increasingly Studying Abroad

Historically, African American college students have been far less likely than their White peers to spend a semester or two studying abroad. Financial considerations are undoubtedly a major reason for the shortfall.

But over the past decade, African Americans are increasing their share of the pool of students who travel abroad to take classes at colleges and universities across the globe. In 2005-06 academic year, 3.5 percent of all American college students who studied abroad were Black. Since that time the percentage of Blacks in the study abroad pool has increased each year.

According to the Institute of International Education, in the 2010-11 academic year, Blacks made up 4.8 percent of the total of 273,996 students who studied abroad. Thus, approximately 13,150 Black students took advantage of study abroad opportunities that year.

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    I heartily recommend African-American students to study abroad- the more the merrier! Speaking, personally, I have studied both in London and the United States, and I value and appreciate the difference these experiences have made to my intellectual, social, and cultural knowledge, and understanding.

    One does not have to travel abroad to learn and understand math, chemistry, physics and biology. But going to England, and visiting Strafford-on-Avon, will certainly make the study of Shakespeare more meaningful, relevant, and exciting.

    When I first visited Harlem, some years ago, James Baldwin novels became real to me. I read about the Civil Rights movement, when I was in London. Years later, I visited the Civil Rights museum, at the Lorraine Hotel, in Memphis, Tennesse. I stood on the balcony, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood, was shot, and died! I was hit by an emotional bullet that pierced my soul, and flooded my entire being! I shed an avalanche of tears, unashamedly. I really did not care who was looking at me.

    This was my ‘Memphis moment’ and was worth more than all the words I had read about the Civil Rights movement!

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