South Students Receive Free Passports to Study Abroad

Posted on February 16, 2022 by Joy Washington
Joy Washington

There are 7 people standing in a row on stage. The 5 middle people are students holding giant cut outs of passports. The other 2 people are staff of the study abroad office. data-lightbox='featured'

The Office of International Education at the University of South Alabama has announced that 25 USA students will have the opportunity for new cultural experiences as they receive their free passports for future Study Abroad educational journeys.

The free passport project is a collaborative effort between OIE and the Institute of International Education. USA received a grant that would support the IEE global membership network this past summer.

“We are hoping this will excite and motivate students to secure their passports and study abroad,” said Study Abroad Interim Director Shawn Dillard. “This collaboration is helping to fund free passports for 25 students to have study-abroad opportunities. A passport is the first step, and providing the free passport is one way to make study abroad accessible for many students.”

The outreach process to make students aware of the opportunity started during this past summer’s freshman orientation and continued through the fall semester with classroom presentations and tabling sessions, and during USA’s Study Abroad Fair. Students completed short essays where they explained their goals for studying abroad. OIE will continue assisting South Alabama students with the passport application process.

Without the free passport grant, many of the students would not be able to study abroad.

“I can't properly express how much being a passport recipient has meant
to me,” student Abby Sargent said. “Without this opportunity, I likely wouldn't even be considering studying abroad. I'm one step closer to achieving a dream I never thought I could make a reality.”

OIE also announced that it has recently launched the “Spilling the Tea on Travel” podcast, with a focus on using the digital platform as another tool to promote global engagement campus-wide. This travel-focused podcast will feature some of the students who are recipients of the free passports.

“We invite the South community to follow “Spilling the Tea on Travel” on Spotify,” said Dillard. “We will interview students, faculty, staff and industry experts who will provide insight into all things travel, with a keen focus on international education.”

The next “Spilling the Tea on Travel” podcast will air Feb. 28. Click here to listen to current and past episodes.

To be eligible for the passport grant program, students must be first-year freshmen at South Alabama.

Names and hometowns of the Study Abroad Passport grant recipients:


Nakaila Guity from Gautier, Miss.
Kya Richardson, Hoover, Ala.
Corian Evans, Eight Mile, Ala.
Abby Sargent, Milton, Fla.
Oliver Breisacher, Waveland, Miss.
Hannah Marcella Grace Dudley, Saraland, Ala.
Amiaya, Ross, Jacksonville, Ala.
Reylie Legarreta, Crestview, Fla.
Acacia Brown-Keeby, Mobile Ala.
Paige Gonsoulin, Mobile, Ala.
Johniya Daniels, Semmes, Ala.
Caitlyn Herchenhahn, Trussville, Ala.
Stephanie Huynh, Gautier, Miss.
Miguel Gapud, Mobile
Priya Brown, Lorman, Miss.
Kyndall Ransom, Mobile
Jennie Dang, Mobile

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