Among the many travelers who experienced challenges this summer in reaching their destinations were the 15 TRIO students and alumni selected for the 2022 Keith Sherin Global Leaders program. When their international flight to Amsterdam could not be rebooked for four days, they pivoted to virtual learning and then made the most of their compressed stay in the Netherlands this summer. Ultimately, the short-term program, the first time abroad for most, made a huge impact.
“I gained different perspectives as a student and from a different world point of view,” said Pooja Patel, a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) participant at the University of Kentucky. “I gained a lot of insight into what I am capable of becoming in the future.”
“I gained different perspectives while learning who I want to continue to be in the world. I learned the value in understanding we are all in life together,” said Shelly Hoffman, who graduated from Grays Harbor College and will work in the TRIO SSS office there.
Jayde Fernandez-Curry of Miami-Dade College and Freddy Garcia of Texas Christian University described making “forever friends” among their travel mates.
The 15 TRIO college students and their two group leaders participated in the summer program offered by COE and its partners, ECHO, a non-profit organization specializing in diversity policy in Higher Education, and The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS), from June 25 to July 16, 2022. This was the second year of the collaboration. Previous study abroad programs offered by COE and its partners since 2000 have taken place in South Africa, the UK, and Spain.
During the first part of the program, students were immersed in an introduction to the multiethnic culture of the Netherlands. They discussed the Dutch educational system, student empowerment, and cultural capital while living in a small village in northern Holland near the coastal dunes. Then the group traveled to The Hague, the seat of government for the Netherlands, where they met other international students enrolled at The Hague Summer School and took classes on global migration, entrepreneurship and sustainability, and blockchain technology.
The Keith Sherin Global Leaders program helps level the playing field by making it possible for low-income, first-generation students to have these experiences.Maureen Hoyler, COE President
Not all of the learning took place in the classroom. Students participated in a beach cleanup, visited local museums, and enjoyed a boat ride on Amsterdam’s canals. During a free weekend, some of the group explored neighboring Dutch cities, while others hopped on trains to visit Berlin and Paris.
“Study abroad and internships have become a rite of passage for students with means,” said COE President Maureen Hoyler. “The Keith Sherin Global Leaders program helps level the playing field by making it possible for low-income, first-generation students to have these experiences.”
The Keith Sherin, Global Leaders Program is named for Keith Sherin, former Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of General Electric, who has generously supported COE’s study abroad and internship program offerings for TRIO college students.