IIE´s Cuba Higher Education Initiative
November 30th, 2015 by Lette Berhe

cuba & usAs globalization continues, so does the opportunities for international and cultural exchange. In the past month of October, The Institute of International Education participated in a historical event which allowed representatives from 12 U.S. universities to travel to Cuba to learn more about its higher education system and to explore what opportunities may exist for future partnerships. The delegation, comprised of about 30 university representatives, was led by IIE´s President and CEO, Allan E. Goodman. Participating universities included Associated Colleges of the Midwest; Central Washington University; Indiana University; Lehman College, CUNY; Oberlin College; Rutgers University; SUNY New Paltz; University of Arizona; Montclair State University; University of Tampa; Virginia Commonwealth University; and West Texas A&M.

Although there have always been travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba, there have been opportunities for American students to participate in Cuban study abroad programs. According to the IIE´s Passport directory there are currently 25 Cuba programs available for students. IIE´s Open Doors Report demonstrated that during the 2014/2015 academic year about 1,845  students participated in for-credit study abroad programs in Cuba. Unfortunately, Cuban university students have not had the same opportunities. With political relations opening between the two countries, IIE now has a new initiative to foster partnerships between the U.S. higher education system and that of Cuba. This delegation´s trip is only one of many stepping stones that are being taken on behalf of IIE´s Cuba Higer Education Initiative .

The birth of this initiative comes after Secretary of State John Kerry attended the official reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana in August. During this visit Cuba´s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues Parrilla addressed the mutual interest of both countries to open ¨new areas of dialogue¨ and Secretary Kerry stated that it was of great importance that as neighboring countries, the citizens of each have the opportunity to meet each other and learn more about each other
IIE´s Cuba Higher Education Initiative includes a six-month program with Cuba called the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP). This program focuses on assisting participating universities in the development and planning process of creating relationship and partnerships with universities in Cuba. To facilitate the process the initiative has an advisory board comprised of members from all different backgrounds. This advisory board and its members are work with these universities throughout the six-months.

Be sure to stay tuned, because with the growth of initiatives, comes the creation of scholarship programs!

Already decided where you want to go? For ideas on how to pay for your study abroad program, check out our section on Funding Your Education Overseas!


10th Annual Travel Video Contest Winners Announced
November 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Frankel

posterInternationalStudent.com just announced the winner of their 10th annual Travel Video Contest! Amar Chaniago created the video “My Second Chance at Life,” which captivated audiences around the world, not to mention stole the hearts of the judges. His journey began where he overcame a car crash which left him hospitalized, and became the source of his reflection where he reevaluated his life and the things that were important to him. Amar will walk away with the $4,000 grand prize to help him study psychology in Australia. You can also follow his journey while he prepares to study in Australia by following his new Study Abroad Blog.

It was no easy decision in this year’s contest, where InternationalStudent.com received over 80 videos from students around the world. The second place winner, Michelle Leclerq, also wowed the judges with her video entitled, “Place Yourself Where You Want to Be.” Michelle is an aspiring musician with both vocal and musical talents, and she is looking to pursue her passion by attending a music school in California. Her video takes us with her into her past where she completed a Work and Travel program, that gave her enough money to travel around the US and explore her musical passion (and from her video, you’ll see her amazing talents!). Michelle will receive $500 to help her pursue her dream!

The third place recipient of $250 goes to Léa Kriger-Bécourt, for her video entitled “The Missing Piece.” Her video is both fun and innovative, as she puts the pieces of her life together before us, showing us her past and revealing her desire to go to Mexico to work on a community farm program called WWOOF.

Finally, our Viewer’s Choice Award went to Murtaza Ibrahimi for his video “The Flowers of Success”. Not only will he walk away with $1,000, but he has touched us all with his story about studying in the US to help build the future of Afghanistan.

If you are interested in watching the winner’s videos, along with the finalist, check out InternationalStudent.com’s Contest page for more.