KIIS believes everyone should have the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program.
We are dedicated in our support of diversity, equity, and inclusion by working to increase awareness, accessibility, and promoting an inclusive community to celebrate everyone from all racial groups, ethnicities, minorities, identities, and religions to be part of the KIIS community here and abroad.
KIIS Initiatives to Support Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Promoting an International Experience for All
- KIIS recognizes the importance of high-quality education abroad programs being available to students from all diverse backgrounds. Our goal is to promote multi-cultural growth and understanding. We encourage critical and creative thinking to help all students better understand the wider world and develop personal and professional skills for lifelong enrichment.
- KIIS is a faculty-led, non-profit organization driven by the dedication and support of our faculty from KIIS consortium-members institutions to provide all students exceptional and affordable academic programs. KIIS actively promotes and supports the representation and expression of different racial and ethnic groups, minorities, gender identities, and religions. Our organization embraces multicultural understanding, flexibility and respect, and seeks to provide an equitable and inclusive environment for all to enjoy the benefits of study abroad.
KIIS Diversity & Inclusion Abroad Scholarships
- KIIS recognizes and provides financial scholarship support to students from underrepresented populations including (but not limited to) cultural, first-generation college students, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, students with a history of overcoming adversity, military, ethnic, religious, or racial identities. We encourage you to review the KIIS scholarship opportunities here.
KIIS Disability Accommodations
- KIIS strives to make every reasonable effort to provide encouragement, support, and accommodations to program participants with special needs or disabilities. We encourage applicants to review further information here.
KIIS Program Directors & Faculty
- KIIS study abroad programs are led and taught by Program Directors and Faculty from KIIS consortium-member institutions. The program directors lead and teach on the programs, and are a primary source of assistance and guidance. With their expertise in the culture of the host country and speaking the local language, they can assist with individual concerns before application, the time up to departure, and during, and after the program. As with our students, KIIS actively seeks the participation of underrepresented-minority faculty to teach on its programs.
KIIS Mandatory Pre-Departure and On-Site Orientation
- All students and faculty participate in both a pre-departure and on-site orientation to help them better understand what to expect abroad. Topics include discussion of host-country culture and norms, race, class and gender, health and wellness, academics, housing, and diversity and inclusion. We firmly believe that everyone should be able to participate in a KIIS program without fear of harassment or discrimination of any kind.
KIIS Student Alumni Mentors
- If you are considering studying abroad, or have already made the decision to apply, know that there are many great resources available to you through KIIS and your home institution. They include reaching out to the KIIS office, contacting your Campus Study Abroad office, speaking with a faculty teaching on the program, and/or speaking with a student-mentor who has recently studied abroad. KIIS is happy to put you in contact with a past student participant so you can get a better sense of the nuts and bolts of your desired program.
Mental Health & Wellness
- The health and wellness of our students and faculty always will remain our highest priority. KIIS encourages all participants to reach out to a mental health counselor before program departure to set up a before, during, and after study abroad plan. By raising awareness and encouraging counseling and support before departure, participants can better manage needs, overcome challenges, and be better equipped to safely and fully participate in an international environment. Program participants are encouraged to review further information here.
Title IX / Discrimination & Harassment
- KIIS is committed to supporting and encouraging safe and equitable educational environments for our students, faculty, and program directors. Students, faculty, and program directors are required to be civil and treat each other with dignity and respect. As such, harassment and/or discrimination of any kind will not be permitted or tolerated. KIIS does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. For more information on Title IX, including reporting and incidents, please see our Title IX & Clery page.
Resources for Students and Faculty
All students should have the opportunity to enhance their education and engage in an international environment. We live in a global world where it is important to have the skill sets employers are looking for today. Being culturally adept with the experience of international travel can help you be competitive in the job market. Regardless of your academic discipline, your college education should include study abroad as a means to prepare you to be globally competent upon graduation as you become the next generation of professionals and leaders to face resolving the complex challenges of our global world.
For some students the hurdles are two-fold; financial resources and cultural barriers. With regard to finances, most students including those with limited resources come to find that with longer-term financial planning, and access to scholarships and financial aid make the dream of study abroad a reality. For some the cultural hurdle can appear more daunting, namely, no one in my community or my family has ever been abroad or studied abroad. Like for many students who are the first in their family to go to college or university, many students studying abroad with KIIS are the first in their family to do so as well. To help overcome both these hurdles, a useful first step is to speak with your academic advisor, your Campus Study Abroad office, or the KIIS office. You may find helpful this online resource Preparing to Study Abroad – The Minority Experience Handout produced by KIIS Alumna, Ar’Meishia Burrows, and also, the information on the KIIS Parents resource page. Studying abroad will help you reach degree completion, open up professional opportunities, and, for many, prove to be a transformative experience.
Planning ahead a year or two is often a key strategy to making study abroad a reality. Rather than thinking you are going to obtain a single scholarship to cover your entire program cost, it is helpful to think in a more piecemeal fashion. Your study abroad financial plan may include:
- University scholarships: for example, from your campus study abroad office, academic department, SGA, campus Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives.
- KIIS Study Abroad Scholarships.
- Financial Aid. Reach out to your FA Office to schedule an appointment.
- External scholarships, such as the Gilman International Scholarship.
- Civic and religious organizations: a church, synagogue, or community organization.
- Working, planning, and saving. By planning a year or two in advance, you increase the likelihood that you can work and save towards your desired study abroad program. Consider the importance too of cutting back on non-necessities to help enhance your study abroad savings fund, eg. cutting back on one $4 coffee a day over 365 days really adds up.
You may face similar stigmas as you do at home and/or you may discover openness and acceptance or genuine interest. Doing research on your chosen program destination and communicating with your Program Director to be individually prepared will help you to be confident and mindful of the local culture and avoid any uncomfortable situations. Before you go abroad, consider formulating a network of family and friends you might reach out to once abroad, should you feel the need to do so. A helpful resource is Preparing to Study Abroad – The Minority Experience Handout by KIIS Alumna, Ar’Meishia Burrows. Your Campus Representative, Campus Diversity, Equity, Inclusion office, or the KIIS office can provide you with additional support, including putting you in touch with alumni mentors.
“This study abroad trip has been the most eye opening, heart warming, learning, and rewarding experience. We toured many hospitals, a University, orphanages, and different cultivating tours. The Tanzanian population was nothing but nice and with open arms for new visitors. Getting a feel for the culture of Africa, specifically Zanzibar, was the best thing I could have asked for. The people have little to nothing, but still keep an uplifting and warm smile on their faces everyday. This trip has also shown me a lot about myself, as this was my first study abroad trip. I chose to get out of my comfort zone and experience something that took my learning and experiences to the next level. I will forever have a special place in my heart for Tanzania and the wonderful people I have met along my journey. I hope that everyone gets to experience something as great as this!”
– Brooke, Zanzibar Winter
“This experience has given me a new spirit to challenge myself and go above my limits. Also the places we went to were picturesque. It made me feel like mother nature’s lap.”
–Aishwarya, Zanzibar Winter
“Stepping out on faith to study abroad was something I was often nervous about because I knew I didn’t have the personal funds to pay for my study abroad program. I depended on highly competitive scholarships. With lots of help and dedication to construct a strong essay, I became a Gilman scholarship recipient. For that I am forever proud of myself, and grateful.”
– Jade, Tanzania
“Africa has given me a whole new perspective on life. It has allowed me to learn more about myself and fall in love with the Tanzanian culture and its people. It has given me a new love for nursing and reassured me why I chose to become a nurse in the first place.”
– Claire, Tanzania
“The KIIS Tanzania program was more than I ever imagined. It gave me the most meaningful relationships and experiences in such a short amount of time. If you want to study abroad, KIIS offers something for everyone; and it will be unforgettable!”
– Cierra, Tanzania
“My KIIS study abroad experience changed the way I see the world. After spending a month living in Spain, I learned how to appreciate other people’s culture, expand my knowledge, see wonderful places, and create memories that I will be able to carry for my whole life.”
– Valery, Spain II
“Studying abroad was always a dream of mine and I’m so glad I committed to going. I got to travel and learn in Denmark and Iceland, which was a beautiful and unforgettable experience! If you’ve ever considered going abroad I definitely recommend going! I got to sail on a reconstructed Viking ship, learn about Viking archaeology and Scandinavian culture and history. It was absolutely a one of a kind experience!”
– Maya, Denmark
“Taking a class abroad with KIIS is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The experience was phenomenal. Students were eager to learn, explore and professors were amazing.”
– Ishimwe, Paris-Munich Winter
“I spent my whole life only seeing pictures and figurines of the Eiffel Tower, so the fact that I was there is still mind blowing. My favorite experience was probably having a photoshoot in the Tuileries Garden.”
– China, Paris I
“The greatest gift that this experience gave me was being able to truly connect with another person in his or her own language.”
– Sharzaud, Paris II
“Studying abroad in Paris was the best experience of my life. I had the opportunity to see painting and monuments that can take some people a lifetime to see. I met some amazing people and I will never forget the experience I shared with my peers whether it be walking down the streets, the nightlife or just doing homework in the park.”
– Kaharie, Paris I
“This was my first time out of the country, and it entirely shifted my mindset about the world and society. Studying abroad during college is something that I will always be thankful for!”
– Jasmine, Paris 1
“Studying abroad in the Netherlands was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I visited four cities and each one provided new insights about the culture, environment, and history of the Netherlands. I studied International Criminology and International Political Economy. Even though I got the credit through Western Kentucky University, transitioning the credit to my home school was effortless. Now I am ahead in my class credits, and I had the time of my life.”
– Jenna, Netherlands
“After studying abroad for six weeks, I would highly recommend it to anyone. Studying abroad opens your eyes. You learn a lot about another culture but also yourself.”
– Sarah, Munich
“I am in love with this city and so blessed to call it home for a month.”
– Sunny, Japan
– Sarah, Italy Winter
“I signed up for the KIIS Italy Study Abroad program expecting that I would only learn about Italian culture, but I ended up also learning more about who I am as a person.”
– Leen, Italy
“One thing I promised Angelique during her time in college was the chance to study abroad. When the opportunity presented itself for Angelique to travel to Italy, I couldn’t say no. I was definitely nervous at first, but I knew she was in good hands with the KIIS faculty and program directors. During her time abroad, Angelique visited Florence and Rome. She learned all about Italian culture, food, history, art, and so much more. Angelique reflects on her memories from the trip to this day and is still in contact with her classmates with whom she traveled. I would encourage every student to take advantage of this incredible opportunity and am forever grateful to KIIS for giving my daughter an experience she will never forget!”
– Viveca, parent of Italy student
“This summer I traveled to Jerusalem, Israel and Cairo, Egypt through the KIIS program. I studied the history, politics, and religion of these two amazing cities. I visited the Holy Sepulchre Church, the Western Wall, and the Dome of the Rock. I was able to float in the Dead Sea and visit the markets in the old city of Jerusalem. In Cairo, I visited the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza and the National Museum. I stayed at resort on the Red Sea, and I had the time of my life snorkeling. My favorite part of my experience was meeting so many great people and being immersed in the unique culture!”
– Jacklyn, Israel & Egypt
“I decided to go back to Germany with the KIIS program a second time…I never regret making this decision. During these two semesters in Regensburg, Germany, I have changed a lot. These changes could not be described precisely or quantified, but they are irreversible reactions.”
– Sibei, Germany Spring Semester
“Definitely one of the most memorable moments of my life. If you are reading this, then it is your sign to go and study abroad! It alters your perceptions of cultural traditions, you become open-minded to new ideas that are not your own and form great connections.”
– Nancy, Israel & Egypt
“It’s been a great experience so far, I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve experienced. I am eager to see what else I’m going to experience.”
– Larry, Costa Rica
“Studying in Costa Rica changed my life. I did not just have one professor but the entire country was like a professor. I learned so much information outside the classroom and inside my home stay.”
– Courtney, Costa Rica
“Despite how drastic the change was for me, I was fully indulged in Costa Rican culture. I was able to experience the Costa Rica and Nicaragua soccer rivalry in person, I ate tons of “Tico” (the nickname for Costa Ricans) food, and did a lot of other adventurous things. I climbed mountains, swam in rivers, and most of all grew as a person. The rural farm life in La Paz and the urban coffee city of San Marcos both helped me grow in terms of Spanish language skills and I grew connections with both of my host families.”
– Brendan, Costa Rica
“The highlights of my study abroad were living with my host family and visiting multiple countries. Living with my host family allowed me to live and eat the way they do. One of the things I made sure to do while abroad was try to taste everything I could in the way it was originally made. I asked my host family to make food or drinks the way they would make it for themselves because it helped me avoid diluting my experience with my comfort.”
– Ashvanika, Austria