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Oklahoma State University

Embassy of France Awards OSU Study Abroad $15,000 Grant

Thursday, August 13, 2020

OSU Retention Initiative for Student Excellence (RISE) participants

The Oklahoma State University (OSU) School of Global Studies and Partnerships (SGSP) is pleased to announce that the Embassy of France has awarded the OSU Study Abroad/National Student Exchange program a $15,000 grant as part of the Transatlantic Friendship & Mobility Initiative. The initiative’s goal is to strengthen the rich ties between the United States and France to diversify and increase the number of students studying in both countries by 2025.

Receiving grant funding through the Transatlantic Mobility Program allows for the development of an intentional cohort-model designed for students in the Retention Initiative for Student Excellence (RISE) program at OSU. Students in RISE are of diverse academic, gender, and ethnic backgrounds. Participants are all freshmen and are highly involved in campus clubs and organizations, academically high achieving, and often help volunteer within the community.

RISE participants must apply and be selected for the program, with approximately 60 being accepted each year. The RISE program at OSU is part of the Diversity Academic Support within the Division of Institutional Diversity. One-third of students in RISE identify as African American/Black with the remainder of the cohort comprised of predominately Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Multiracial, and Native American students. A small number of students in the cohort identify as white and around half of the cohort self-identify as first-generation college students.

In partnership with the University of Limoges, a university similar in institution size, student demographics and organizational culture, and OSU’s Division of Institutional Diversity, this cohort-model project is designed to develop tomorrow’s global problem solvers by addressing barriers pushing students away from participation. 

Using guided and shared learning experiences, ten initial students will be introduced to French culture, language, cuisine, and entrepreneurship innovation through a series of pre-departure virtual exchanges and home campus activities as well as lectures and cultural activities in Limoges and the surrounding region. For many of the cohort’s high-achieving and diverse participants, travel outside of Oklahoma and family encouragement for participation are non-existent which is why creating a visible, sustainable cohort program is essential.

Utilizing new and existing scholarship funding sources at OSU along with this grant, enables both universities to create a course that is shorter in length, culturally immersive, and supportive of students needing assistance navigating the process of traveling abroad for the first time. Continued funding through existing OSU scholarships aimed at increasing underrepresented student participation in study abroad will ensure that the program will continue to grow towards the target goal of 25 students going abroad by 2025.

OSU has a long history of international engagement with a global impact. The OSU School of Global Studies and Partnerships houses OSU’s Study Abroad program and serves as a strategic and administrative center for the university’s global engagement. The School also serves as a resource to the university community for information and support in developing and assisting high-impact international experiences for our faculty, staff and students.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyn Putnam | School of Global Studies and Partnerships | 405.744.5496 | lyn.putnam@okstate.edu

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