Awakening the Sleeper: Increasing Access to Study Abroad
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The purpose of this thesis is to help the study abroad programs at Texas State University increase student participation. Many students wish to take advantage of the international opportunities provided by our university, but are unable to do so because of the numerous barriers that prevent them from participating. Conversely, a large number of Texas State students do not even know of the opportunities and resources that the campus provides, which results in a lack of student involvement. With the intention of increasing study abroad participation, I propose creating a social media site that will allow the Texas State University students interested in studying abroad, those currently abroad, and the alumni who studied overseas while enrolled in the university to connect with one other and the study abroad office. This site will also serve faculty and staff who want to mentor the potential or new participants and remain in contact with the former participants. In the following chapters, I explain how this site will help increase student awareness of the opportunities provided by the study abroad programs and address a number of the barriers students face. In the first chapter of this thesis, I examine the main obstacles that discourage Texas State students from participating, as expressed via surveys of the students who have, as well as those who have not, studied abroad. This chapter will also include input from Texas State’s study abroad office. In the second section, I explore the importance of alumni involvement. How can Texas State’s former students help its current students achieve their dream of studying overseas? Chapter three is an overview of the proposed website: how it will function, the services it will provide, and what it will mean for Texas State’s study abroad programs.