We are excited to announce that the Education Abroad Office has been selected as a finalist for the 2020 GoAbroad Innovation Awards. GoAbroad is a national organization that helps connect students with a variety of international experiences and opportunities. Each year, GoAbroad presents a series of awards that showcase innovation in the field of international education, and this year, the Education Abroad Office has been selected as a finalist in the category of Innovation in Alumni Engagement for the Global Gamecock Guides initiative.
The Global Gamecock Guides initiative at UofSC was born from an observed need to continuously support our incoming international exchange students with their on-campus integration and to provide further internationalization opportunities to our recent study abroad returnees. Approximately 200 exchange students arrive on our campus every Fall semester, and close to 100 exchange students study in the Spring semester. “Students from all over the world come to fulfill their potential at the University of South Carolina and to benefit from our top research programs, diverse academic environment and high employability outcomes,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. With Global Gamecock Guides, we sought to harness the energy of our returnees and their passion for all things international in order to establish long-term intercultural relationships with our incoming exchange students and strengthen ties with our exchange partners. UofSC has over 100 bilateral exchange agreements with universities around the globe. Students are eligible to be a Guide if they have completed a study abroad program, regardless of length or type, allowing the program to build a strong network of diverse individuals with unique study abroad experiences.
Led by the Study Abroad Association Executive Team, comprised of Sabah Bhamani, Claire Benson, Max Kratcoski, and Zhané Bradley, the program paired 50 incoming international exchange students with UofSC study abroad returnees who helped guide their Gamecock experience. Guides introduced international students to campus resources, local events, and opportunities to get involved in the community, all while continuing their own cultural exploration. In an anonymous survey we conducted, one returnee student stated, “The program gave me a great new set of friends, fun experiences that I wouldn’t have pursued otherwise, and insight into a culture that I have been interested in learning more about.”
The GoAbroad Innovations Academy will announce the winners virtually in June. For more information about our office and our programming, please contact the Education Abroad Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.