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Generation Study Abroad

GSA LogoThe Challenge

  • International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education
  • Less than 10% of U.S. students study abroad
  • Globalization is changing the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and experience

Every student should have the opportunity to study abroad

George Mason University has pledged to build and sustain an inclusive campus community. Not too long ago, George Mason also joined the commitment of Generation Study Abroad - the goal of which is to double the current number of students from the United States studying abroad by the end of the decade. George Mason is committed to increase the number of students studying abroad and encourages every student to consider spending sometime abroad. An inclusive campus community in the United States, the Global Education Office (GEO) strives to assist students of all backgrounds and identities and help each individual enhance their Mason experience abroad.

Mason students pose near the River Seine, French Language in Paris, Summer 2016, led by Raluca Romaniuc, Ph.D.

Mason's Pledge to Diversity

"Mason's goal is to build and sustain an inclusive campus community and to foster a welcoming climate that values and respects all members of the community.

True diversity is defined not only as differences in individual backgrounds, personal identities, intellectual approaches, and demographics; it is also the removal of barriers and the creation of space that allow individuals to fully engage in the life of the university.

As individuals of our own unique identities — faith, race, sexuality, gender, abilities, socioeconomic class – we each offer an irreplaceable opportunity to examine issues from new and innovate perspectives.

The commitment to providing these opportunities equally to every member of our community is the force behind creating a diverse, ideal George Mason University."

Learn more

Multicultural Students

Of the estimated 1% of college students who study abroad, an overwhelming majority of these students are white and female.  Depending on where you go, you may be redefining what an American is for our international counterparts; therefore, it is wise to prepare yourself for cultural and societal differences.

Campus Resources

Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education (ODIME)
4400 University Drive, MSN 2F6
Student Union Building I, Suite 2400
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-993-2700 |
Fax: 703-993-4022 |
Email: odime@gmu.edu
Web: odime.gmu.edu

Economically Diverse Students

It may feel like it would be impossible for you to participate in a program abroad, but by no means is this true! Yes, it will require some advanced planning, work, and determination on your part, but it can be done, and there are resources available to help you achieve your goal!

Apply for Mason GEO Scholarhips

First Generation Students

First-gens are commonly described as students whose parents either have no college experience or didn’t earn a bachelor’s degree. While being a first generation student presents its own set of challenges, you could be not only the first in your family to attend college, but also the first in your family to travel or live abroad. You will need to consider how to present the idea of study abroad to your family and how to finance your program, and there are resources available to assist you with this endeavor.

Student Transition Empowerment Program

"STEP is an initiative in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education (ODIME) created to enhance the recruitment, engagement and retention of first generation students accepted to George Mason University. Our mission is to empower students through academic skills, access to resources, community building, self-discovery, and the global citizenship needed to compete in today’s college environment and beyond."

More information: STEP Program

LGBTQ+ Students

It’s always important to learn as much as you can about your host country before you go abroad in order to have a positive, successful experience.  For LGBTQ+ students, this includes understanding the country’s laws and culture toward sexual identity.  Below are some resources to consult as you plan for your time abroad!  Some countries may require you to modify your behaviors or face extensive discrimination or even legal consequences.  It is a must for you to determine in advance how comfortable you feel adjusting your own behaviors to suit the cultural norms of a given culture and select a destination accordingly.

Campus Resources

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, & Questioning (LGBTQ) Resources
SUB I, Room 2200, MSN 2F6
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-2702
Fax: 703-993-4022
Web: lgbtq.gmu.edu

Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional students are outside the typical college age of 18 to 22 years old. As a non-traditional student, you may have unique challenges to work through as you prepare for your time abroad. Will you need to ask for a short leave of absence from your job? Do you need to find a sitter for your cat or dog? Do you want to bring your spouse or child (or both!) along with you? With a bit of planning, flexibility and coordination, you can identify options.

Military and Veterans

While using your Veterans benefits to study abroad can be challenging, it can be done. You will need to start the process early! Your first step in planning for your semester abroad is to speak with your VA representative and with the Global Education Office (GEO) to find out what opportunities are available to you so that both the VA requirements and your educational goals are met.

Mason-specific Study Abroad Resource PDF for Military and Veterans

Download Resource PDF

Students with Disabilities

The Global Education Office (GEO) is dedicated to providing international education opportunities to students with disabilities. Students with disabilities should begin the process of planning their study abroad experience at least one year in advance. Begin by meeting with the Office of Disability Services and GEO to identify accommodations that will be necessary abroad. This list of accommodations helps to identify the program that best suits your particular needs.

Women Abroad

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, women account for two thirds of all international program participants. Whether you are traveling independently or in a group, in order to have a positive and safe experience abroad, it is important to know the culture, laws, and social issues regarding women in each country where you’ll be traveling.