Community Outreach for Study Abroad Staff
This information is provided for study abroad advisors who would like to assist their returning study abroad students perform outreach in their community. We hope that having these resources available can assist administrators in their ability to expand their own outreach initiatives.
Steps to Help Returning Study Abroad Students Do Outreach
If you do not have a formal program in place for your returning study abroad students to do community outreach, there are a number of steps you can take to assist students who would like to present about the country they studied in to others.
Start by seeking advice from other study abroad offices:
- Other study abroad offices may have done community outreach and may be able to offer advice in accessing outreach organizations.
- Even if the offices you contacted have not conducted community outreach, they may be able to offer you contacts to other helpful resources.
In the event that other study abroad offices are not able to offer advice or contacts:
- Make use of personal contacts (e.g. district and school administrators/ staff, teachers, parents, or current university students who can access elementary and high school alma maters) that may help you access organizations interested in returning study abroad student outreach.
- Enlist the help of a faculty member who has expertise and potential contacts relevant to similar outreach projects and/ or international relations. Pay particular attention to faculty members in Education, International Business, or other International Studies and Area Studies Programs.
If other contacts are unavailable, consider approaching local organizations yourself.
Groups You Can Contact in Your Community
Listed below are samples of organizations that can be found all across the U.S. Use this list as a guide while searching for more organizations in your community.
YMCA – A non-profit organization responding to critical social needs all across the nation.
Amnesty International – An international organization focused on human rights.
Boy Scouts – Nationwide programs that help teach boys of all ages.
Girl Scouts - Nationwide programs that help teach girls of all ages.
The Boys & Girls Club of America - Services that promote & enhance the development of boys and girls.
Big Brother Big Sisters – An organization that focuses on mentorship programs for the youth.
Lion's Club – A worldwide club that who work together to answer the needs that challenge communities around the world.
Rotary Club – The world's first service organization providing many volunteer opportunities.
Idealist – A large online volunteer network
Live United – A national organization focusing on long-lasting community change
The Salvation Army – An evangelical, international movement created to meet basic human needs.
If you are interested in doing outreach for a religious group, click here to see a directory for Religious Volunteer Agencies
The following information is for returning study abroad students who are planning to do community outreach. You can direct your students to this information to help them prepare for their outreach presentations or use this if to give a presentation you
Download our Outreach Presentation Plan Sheet. Resources and advice on logistical issues are available to you using this plan.
Consider Using One of our Customizable PowerPoint Presentations. These are available on this site under presentations link. They have been created as customizable templates for your own presentations about international study. You may personalize these presentations with your own information or by adding and removing particular slides as you see fit. There are five different presentations, targeting 4-year college/university students, students at community colleges, high school, middle school and elementary school.
Warm-Up Activities for PowerPoint Presentations. Before beginning the official presentation, warm-up activities can be used to introduce students to the concepts of study abroad and cultural appreciation. The activities are available on this site under Outreach Materials: Presentation. They target elementary, middle, and high school students.
Think about your audience. As you plan your session, think about who your audience is, how you will reach your objectives and how to keep your audience engaged. For example:
- Who will I be speaking to?
- What do they know about my topic already?
- What will they want to know about my topic?
- What do I want them to know by the end of my talk?
Make sure that the location where you are presenting has the technology or other tools you may need (e.g., projector, internet access, etc.) Make sure that each team member can contribute to the planning and delivery of your presentation.
Incorporate interesting souvenirs. Souvenirs from your trip are indispensable for a quality presentation. At heart, this is a personal reflection of your trip and something the audience can see and hold is essential to illustrating the difference in culture.
Planning grade specific presentations. For example: When presenting to elementary and middle school level audiences, try to balance lecturing with Q & A and group participation. Break things down into 10 – 15 minute segments. Incorporate VKAT (visual, kinesthetic, auditory and tactile) communication as much as possible in your presentation especially with elementary grade levels.
Again, see the PowerPoint Presentations available on this page, which are specifically geared toward elementary, middle school, high school, 4-year university and community college students.
Consult Resources. A variety of resources are available on this site under the additional resources link. Here you will find additional resources for teachers which include book lists, classroom activities, websites, etc. targeting elementary, middle, and high school students. You will also notice additional resources for parents and students which include book lists, computer games, etc. also targeting elementary, middle, and high school students.
Be aware of logistics. In your correspondence with principals and teachers, make note of logistical issues for your presentation including time allowed for your presentation, number of students expected, classroom location, directions, parking availability and access to multimedia resources.
The following are guidelines for presenting community outreach presentations. You can direct students to this information to get ideas about effective presenting.
Involve the audience by asking occasional questions. Hypothetical questions are best as they show the gap between cultures. Try to ask genuine questions to which you do not already know the answer and show interest in any replies. Leave time for the audience to think. Try to avoid answering your own questions or telling members of the audience that their answers are wrong. Audience members should feel a sense of accomplishment after answering questions, knowing that they have contributed to the presentation.
Pause occasionally to ask if audience members have questions for you. You can also pause occasionally to ask if anyone has any questions for you. If a question disrupts the flow of your talk too much, you can say that you will answer it later (but don't forget to do it!). Before you ask for questions, make sure you are ready to pick up your presentation again when the Q & A session has finished.
Use visual aids. Visual aids make a presentation livelier and help audience members follow your presentation. Many issues are communicated much more clearly with visual aids than through speech alone.
The two most common forms of visual aids are overhead transparencies and computer slide shows (e.g. PowerPoint). Objects that can be displayed or passed around the audience can also be very effective and often help to relax the audience. Some speakers provide printed handouts to the audience to follow as they speak. Others prefer to give their handouts at the end of the talk, because they can distract the audience from the presentation.
As a Study Abroad Student advisor, you can mentor student presenters by giving them advice on preparation, content suggestions and feedback on presentations already made. You can download our Presenter Evaluation Form. These evaluations can be used by an International Student advisor who might have the opportunity to observe a student presentation.
Given that school and student demographics, interests and resources often change, it is important that presenters be encouraged to consider ways to make their presentations more innovative, attractive and relevant to a particular audience.
We hope that you found this information useful. We welcome your questions, comments, and useful resources you'd like to share! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.