‘I want to explore the world’: Students take part in Passport Caravan

Oct 28, 2017
PANTHER 2017 fall passport caravan
Claflin University students sit down with passport agents.  (Panther photo by Jericha N. White)


Students interested in international travel and studies came a step closer to making a trip abroad on Oct. 25.

The Council on International Educational Exchange’s Passport Caravan made a stop at Claflin University to provide information – and free passports to some. Founded in 1947, CIEE is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study-abroad and intercultural exchange organization.

According to Dr. Patricia DeSouza, director of international education at Claflin, students were eligible to receive a free passport if they met certain criteria. All of the applicants were underclassmen who have never traveled outside the United States.

“I want to go to Costa Rica,” sophomore Hope Washington said. “I really want to be bilingual.”

Washington is one of students meeting the criteria for a free passport. She has plans to study abroad over the summer.

“Even if I do not receive funding from the CIEE, I still want to travel,” Washington said.

Students participating in the Passport Caravan had different areas of interest.

Junior Jenai Brown studies music and that was her motivation behind applying for a passport.

“I am a music major,” Brown said. “I want to explore the world to learn more about music.”

Brown is fairly new to Claflin because she transferred from another university. As soon as she heard about the Passport Caravan, she took advantage of the opportunity.

In addition to the checks that were given out during the event, a representative from the CIEE passed out free T-shirts and informational booklets about various study-aboard opportunities.

Passport Caravan at Claflin was part of CIEE’s support of Generation Study Abroad, an initiative to make study abroad possible for more U.S. students by breaking down the three major barriers to study abroad: cost, curriculum, and culture. CIEE says it will sponsor passports for 10,000 students around the country during the next five years.

CIEE also says it will provide $20 million in scholarships and make an annual grant to college faculty to support approaches for custom study-abroad programs. The goal of Generation Study Abroad is to double the number of American students studying abroad by 2020. 

For more information about studying abroad, stop by the Office of International Education, W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center, 117.

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