As a part of the Council on International Educational Exchange’s Passport Caravan, Oglethorpe University’s Department of Global Education has provided 51 students with free United States passports—an $8,000 total value.
At an on-campus event on February 11, CIEE staff guided students through the proper steps to obtain a passport, which can often pose a barrier to international travel.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Oglethorpe staff helped students gather requisite documents and provided passport photography on campus. With those steps completed, students took a few minutes out of their day to complete the final paperwork and were able to walk away knowing their passports were on the way.
The CIEE’s Passport Caravan is an event in support of Generation Study Abroad, an initiative aimed at providing U.S students wider access to study abroad opportunities.
Generation Study Abroad identifies three barriers to studying abroad: cost, curriculum, and culture. By providing free and streamlined access to passports and other travel resources, the CIEE and partnering universities like Oglethorpe aim to break down these barriers and increase the number of students that travel for education. The CIEE set a goal to sponsor the distribution of 10,000 passports for students around the country by 2020; with this event, Oglethorpe has helped contribute to the completion of that goal.
An important facet of Oglethorpe’s Core Curriculum is the idea that the individual exists as a part of society. With the ability to travel and to connect with other individuals all over the world, an Oglethorpe student’s society is more expansive than ever before. That’s why Oglethorpe University is committed to breaking down the barriers to global education.
Right now, applicants pay $160 for a United States Passport. Among the students who applied for Passport Caravan, many cite financial issues as a reason they had not considered pursuing a global education. Half of the applicants are first-generation college students and all receive one or more types of financial aid.
“I have always wanted to go abroad and learn. My family cannot really afford it and I have to pay for a lot of things out of pocket, and a free passport helps a lot with expenses,” cites one student.
Oglethorpe President Larry Schall stopped by the event to speak with some of the students as they filled out their final paperwork. A board member of the CIEE, Schall encouraged the students to continue to pursue their study abroad goals.
With 16 International Exchange Partners and other programs, Oglethorpe students have many choices for studying abroad. Many Oglethorpe students already have plans to travel for their education this year. In 2020, students will be studying in France, Scotland, England, Spain, Germany, and Japan, among others.