South Wins Grant for Study Abroad Accessibility

Posted on September 9, 2021 by Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences

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The University of South Alabama is one of four institutions selected to participate in the Transatlantic Mobility Program through the French Embassy and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest non-profit association dedicated to international education and exchange.

The $15,000 grant will be used to establish a faculty-led program in Dijon, France. USA will partner with the Centre International d’Études Françaises in Dijon, France to offer a combination of French language, culture and business studies. Additionally, the grant will fund training for all interested USA faculty who want to learn to make study abroad more accessible to students with disabilities.

“I am incredibly excited for South to receive this honor from the French Embassy as one of only four recipients nationwide,” Bri Ard, director of international education and study abroad, and a co-author of the grant, said.  “When Global Engagement became part of the University’s strategic plan in 2014, our intention was to increase access for South students to study abroad.  Honors like the Transatlantic Mobility Program recognize our successes thus far, while simultaneously providing more access for students.”

The grant will subsidize an affordable, quality option for students interested in studying French language, culture and business in France. It also funds stipends for the French faculty to obtain online training in teaching French for Business through the French Chambers of Commerce. South’s new program called “USA in France: Language, Business, Culture” will be open to all students, including beginners in French, and will launch in June 2022. 

“While in Dijon, students will be able to earn nine total credit hours,” said Dr. Susan McCready, chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature and the grant's co-author. “Six of the credits will be in French language and the other three credits will be in a new course called ‘French Culture and Business Practices.’”

The University of South Alabama, a member of the Diversity Abroad Network, hopes to become a leader in study-abroad access for students with disabilities, with this program showing the way.

“For years, students have enrolled in this program directly through the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon,” McCready said. “Because direct enrollment is not practical to either beginning students or to many students with disabilities, a USA faculty member will now be present in order to smooth the transition, troubleshoot and advocate for students. ”

Students interested in studying in Dijon are invited to contact the Office of International Education for more information.

The grant also funds an “Accessibility in Study Abroad Workshop” to be held Monday, September 20 at 2:30 p.m. via Zoom. 

“Study abroad should be open to everyone,” McCready said. “This two-hour workshop will give faculty and staff the tools to make study abroad more accessible to students with disabilities. Facilitated by Mobility International USA, the workshop will include a presentation, discussion, case studies and breakout groups.”

The workshop is sponsored by the Office of International Education in partnership with the Office of Student Disability Services and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature. The program will be live captioned. Should participants need other accessibility accommodations, please contact McCready at All participants must register for the workshop. 

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