Community Outreach for Returning Study Abroad Students
Steps to help returning study abroad students find information about becoming involved with community outreach.
Start by contacting your Study Abroad Office.
- The Study Abroad office at your college or university may have a community outreach program for returning study abroad students and may be able to offer advice on how to conduct outreach and gain access to different organizations.
- Even if the Study Abroad office does not have a formal program for outreach, they may be able to offer advice on how to proceed, including accessing local organizations or contacting other offices that may be able to provide guidance and/or helpful resources.
- Ask the Study Abroad office if it is possible to help them advertise their programs to other students. You may be able to sharpen your presentation skills by promoting study abroad to other college students on your campus before going into the community. We suggest always performing outreach in groups in order to ensure your safety at all times.
In the event that your Study Abroad office is not able to help you, you might:
- Enlist the help of a faculty member at your school who has expertise and potential contacts for community outreach projects. Pay particular attention to faculty members affiliated with Education, International Business, or other International Studies and Area Studies Programs and Institutes as well as any club or organization on campus that performs community outreach.
- We suggest always performing outreach in groups in order to ensure your safety at all times.
- Seek out other returning study abroad students. Additional students will add a great deal to the information and breadth of experiences you will be able to communicate to your audience. Meanwhile, many of these students may have previous experience doing outreach and/ or ties to the community.
Given that most organizations are generally off campus, you may have to contact local group leaders to help you access those organizations. You may make use of your personal contacts (e.g. district and school administrators/staff/teachers, parents, or other university students who can help you connect with an organization) in order to find more information.
When presenting your ideas to organization administrators and staff, highlight how your presentation relates to the organization's goals and mission.
Be aware of the organization's requirements and preferences. Some contacts may be interested in certain global regions, religions, heritage or language. Work with your contacts to understand what type of presentation will be the most suitable with the organization's interests and what will appeal most to the people you are trying to reach.
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 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.
Consider Working in a Team
Enlist the help of another returning Study Abroad student or classmate to present with you! Having more than one person can increase the value of the presentation and make preparations less daunting. Working with partners also ensures that you are not traveling and presenting alone; we suggest always performing outreach in groups in order to ensure your safety at all times.
Download our Outreach Presentation Plan Sheet This is designed to help you in planning your presentation.
Consider Using One of our Customizable PowerPoint Presentations. These are available on this site under Presentations. 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. This may be especially important for TRIO students as they may not be familiar with study abroad or may feel that they do not have access to it.
Think about your audience. As you plan your session, think about who your audience is, how you will accomplish 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?
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 keeping people interested.
Consult Resources. If you are experiencing difficulty with what information to present, or how to present it, consider consulting outside resources. There are 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.
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.
Seek out opportunities to improve in all areas of your community outreach.
Review the overall success of the presentation as well as planning issues, planning in general, and collaboration with contacts/advisors.
After your presentation, study abroad students should maintain strong communication with advisors, fellow presenters, teachers and school administrators/staff, in working together to create more innovative and more relevant presentations for future students.
We hope that you found this information to be of help to you. We welcome your questions, comments, and useful resources you'd like to share! Please contact us at email@example.com.