A fresh outlook on life for US exchange students

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Posted on March 30, 2024


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London Metropolitan University’s 2024 Sophomore Scholars Program participants say the program has given them a new perspective on life. To take part in the program, nine students travelled from their respective historically black colleges and universities in the US to the university’s London campus.

Participants collaborated with faculty and staff for a week, attending academic taster sessions and participating in workshops on topics including identity and creating a socially fair institution. The university teams up with two to three students from each of its HBCU partners to travel to London for a week as part of the immersion program, which is a part of London Metropolitan’s larger HBCU project.

Director of student recruitment and business development at London Met Jennifer Wilkinson stated, “The whole point of the program is that it wouldn’t just impact a few students, but it would impact our institutional practice and policy and therefore we can learn from HBCUs, embed that into our practice, and vice versa.”

Employees from HBCU partner institutions who participated in roundtable discussions, attended the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusion Regional Summit, and attended meetings for professional and academic services were also financed by the initiative.

Students from Claflin University, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, and Prairie View A&M University gave speeches at the end of the week summarizing their experiences while at the nation’s capital.

The collaborations between London Metropolitan and HBCUs are a component of a larger plan related to the Center for Equity and Inclusion and its Race Equity Strategic Plan. Enhancing student results on both sides of the Atlantic requires a comprehensive strategy that includes growth in graduate outcomes, continuation rates, and student attainment.

A networked approach, according to Wilkinson, is essential to the initiative’s success and sustainability as it expands and adds new partners. This is achieved by facilitating connections between academics at each university and their particular teams.

“There is a network there, so even if things change in the future, it’s a fundamental aspect of who we are and the fact that we have connections with people on all different levels already,” she remarked.