UAB awarded IDEAS grant to expand study-abroad experiences

Written by  Karen Templeton

Green globe in the handUAB has been selected to receive an IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant from the U.S. Department of State.

The Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad is a program of the U.S. Department of State that is supported in its implementation by World Learning. UAB is one of 24 American colleges and universities selected from 115 applicants to create, expand and diversify student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. 

“We are committed to continuing our support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “When American students study abroad, they support critical U.S. foreign policy goals by building relationships with foreign peers, sharing American culture and values and developing valuable career skills. With these international experiences, the next generation of Americans is being equipped with the skills necessary to compete and succeed globally.”

UAB will use the majority of the grant to support faculty-led experiences developed within its Education Abroad Faculty Fellows program that make short-term opportunities more affordable for students. A portion of the grant will support the inaugural UAB at Aberystwyth University in Wales program to enhance cultural competency and program awareness across campus.

“This grant is a great opportunity to capatilize on the Education Abroad growth we’ve seen at UAB within the past year,” said Ashley Neyer, director of UAB’s Education Abroad. “Although COVID-19 has significantly impacted our internalization efforts, our team is committed to making education abroad accessible for all UAB students and this grant leverages our commitment. Our team is appreciative that the Department of State values the opportunities we’ve developed for our faculty and students, and we know this grant will make a lasting impact at UAB.”

UAB facilitiates more than 160 abroad programs around the world and supports students engaging in programs ranging from short-term and semester-long study to research, service-learning to athletic and student organization travel. The Education Abroad team helps students identify programs that align with their degree program or area of interest, identify financial resources and coordinate plans for travel and accomodations.

“The hard work the Education Abroad team puts into applying for the IDEAS grant is indicative of their commitment to providing unparalleled opportunities for UAB students,” said Provost Pam Benoit. “Many travel plans have been sidelined due to COVID-19 but that hasn’t slowed down the work being done to ensure future life-changing experiences for students seeking to go abroad. There is a true commitment to preparing our graduates to be leaders in a ever-evolving global society.” 

The Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities to create, expand and diversify study abroad programs for U.S. students. In addition to the IDEAS Grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff and administrators to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity-building activities. For further information about other study abroad resources and other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, email and visit