Global Opportunities on I-10

2007 Heiskell Award Winner: Study Abroad

Nomination submitted by: Dr. Kenneth Gray, Principal Investigator, BIE Grant

Program Overview
The Global Opportunities on I-10 (GO I-I0) project is a community-based and locally-focused initiative that addresses the need for international awareness and understanding among American and particularly African-American students. African-American students accounted for 11% of U.S. student enrollments in four-year colleges and universities in 2002, but they accounted for only 3.5% of US students studying abroad. Prior to the Global Opportunities project, both the regional culture of the I-10 corridor and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University's undergraduate business offerings reflected an overall lack of awareness of international issues.

With the GO I-10 project, FAMU's semester long study in Kenya and short-term study abroad initiatives in the Dominican Republic offer the university’s predominantly African-American students the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures through international travel as a structural component of their university education. New programs are advancing for study abroad in China and Brazil. Cultivating young people in a community-based component of the FAMU internationalization program, the International Business Summer Camp is a two week summer camp for local area high school students. Students in the camp explore the impact and importance of globalization on world politics and economics and develop a foundation for future focus on international issues.

International programming at FAMU has grown quickly over the past two years, fueled largely by a Business and International Education (BIE) grant received from the U.S. Department of Education. Designed to enhance the globalization of Florida A & M University (FAMU)—School of Business & Industry (SBI), the program includes three components:

Short-Term Study Abroad and International Business 
Dr. Kenneth Gray, GO I-10 project director and professor of international management, makes the distinction between “global awareness” and “global understanding” to underscore the process of student development in international learning. Where campus- and community-based activities create “global awareness,” Short-Term Study Abroad experiences begin to bring the students to “global understanding.” In the first component of the FAMU internationalization program, business students are participating in Short-Term Study Abroad experiences as part of a course in International Business. To expand its scope, FAMU restructured the course with a new experiential emphasis, offering a team project on foreign market entry, guest lectures by international business practitioners (coordinated by business-community partners), and a week-long study tour to the Dominican Republic. The course has already inspired students to participate in a second, longer-term study abroad experience. Melynie Dangerfield, who studied in the short-term program in the Dominican Republic last year is now preparing for a semester abroad in China. She expects the experience will give her a measurable edge in competing for top positions when she graduates.

The International Business course for the spring term in 2007 is being offered in the evenings one night per week to attract non-traditional students, who are predominantly high-school teachers. Course participants will visit the Dominican Republic over the spring break.

Semester-Long Study Abroad 
With the success of the International Business class and Short-Term Study Abroad experiences, growing global awareness is fueling interest in semester-long study abroad. FAMU has a Memorandum of Understanding with the United State International University–Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and both FAMU and USIU students are participating in semester-long study abroad programs. Another group of FAMU students is currently planning semester-long study in China in the coming year. To further encourage study abroad in Europe, Asia and Latin America, GO 1-10 will begin by funding three students to participate in UF CIBER’s Business in Brazil summer program in Rio de Janeiro, combining language training, coursework on Brazilian business practice, and visits to area firms.

International Business Summer Camp for Senior High School Students 
Geared to promote local recruitment efforts, the International Business Summer Camp program introduces area high school students and incoming freshmen to international business options, as well as foreign language training. First offered in 2005, the summer camp has proven to be highly successful and appealing to area high school students. A course manual developed especially for the camp covers topics including: an overview of world geography and the geography of the global economy; how local economies are impacted by globalization; importance of foreign language and cross-cultural understanding in international business; and business French and Spanish. Camp activities are facilitated by faculty coordinators and two graduate assistants. FAMU admissions and recruitment officers, as well as GO I-10’s advisory council and business-community partners, assist in recruitment.

In reaching high school students, the International Business Summer Camp holds the potential to raise awareness of international issues among parents and the broader community, as well. This involvement is essential to addressing some of the known barriers to study abroad for African-American students and other students of color. In creating new programming, schools should consider similar models for increasing diversity in education abroad.

"The Global Opportunities on I-10 internationalization program at Florida A & M University addresses the current national need for international understanding and awareness among American and particularly African American students. All of the GO I-10 programs have been central to internationalizing our campus by infusing a global awareness among our student population."

—Debra Austin, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, FAMU