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The profile of students participating in study abroad has certainly changed. What was once the privilege for a smaller group of rather homogeneous students (of which I was one) has progressed to an experience in which the majority of entering college students are interested. However, we know that the majority of those new students will not take advantage of a period of furthering their education in an overseas location.

There are many reasons why these students do not participate in education abroad, reasons that continue to be discussed in our professional literature. Cultural ties play a part as do the lack of familial support and study abroad role models for students for whom higher education is a new family endeavor. Fear of the unknown keeps some students on campus as they continue with their own adjustment to the campus experience. And then there are financial impediments, most real, but some perceived. These forces all combine to keep students from even investigating an overseas opportunity.

Fortunately, international education has not simply thrown up its hand at these forces. Just about every study abroad provider has some form of grant or scholarship that seeks to expand the study abroad student profile and increase opportunities for a more diverse population. Organizations such as Diversity Abroad have made significant inroads in promoting more inclusion and financial support. And in 2010 the Fund for Education Abroad was founded “to address the need for an independent study abroad scholarship provider.” But there’s more to FEA than just financial support for education abroad.



In May 2017, Erin McKercher joined Terra Dotta as a Client Support Specialist. Her daily responsibilities include collaborating with fellow Dottans, connecting with clients, and working in the software in conjunction with the admin and implementation teams.

Before joining Terra Dotta, Erin held positions as Project Coordinator, Assessment Coordinator, and Data Manager at the Oregon Social Learning Center; as well as Study Abroad Data and Systems Coordinator and SEVIS Coordinator at the University of Oregon.

Erin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Studies with a focus on Latin America and a Certificate of Second Language Acquisition Teaching from the University of Oregon. She also earned a Master of Public Administration with a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. While in her undergraduate studies, Erin studied abroad in Querétaro, Mexico and lived with a host family.

Outside of work, Erin enjoys vegetable gardening; adventuring in the mountains; working out; soccer; and cooking and eating, especially spicy foods. One vacation activity Erin has always wanted to do is backpack through Southeast Asia!

Erin says her favorite part of working at Terra Dotta is “I love connecting with clients, consulting and helping them make the best decisions based on their needs and goals. As a former client, I get where they're coming from, and it's rewarding to help implement functionality that improves their processes and outcomes.”

Registration for TDU Global 2019 is now open! Confirm your spot(s) now for the Terra Dotta spring event.

Why open registration seven months before the event? We know that budgets may be tight on some campuses and the longer you wait, the greater the chance funds could disappear. Whether this is a possibility or not, register now and feel that sense of joy from completing a task! TDU Global brings you the latest in user knowledge as both TD staff and clients share techniques, tricks and novel uses of the software. Where else can you network with, and pick-the-brains of, so many who understand your technology life? Next April 15–17, the place to be will be the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia!

Remember, your session proposals are due by October 15, 2018. Share your knowledge and insights with your fellow users. Visit the Call for Proposals page for more information.


Between printed and online materials, it can be daunting to keep up with the professional literature. Let us help you. Each month we will list several online articles that we hope you will find interesting.

Find an article that you believe others will want to read? Send the link to! Here are some to get you started:

Visa Restrictions for Chinese Students Alarm Academia
From The New York Times

Americans are losing out because so few speak a second language
From the San Francisco Chronicle

USCIS Changes Website, Backtracks On Foreign Student Rules
From Forbes

How Student Travel Can Enhance Intercultural Development
From Education Week

The wide gap between rhetoric and reality regarding international education
From University Affairs


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