Miracle Fruit Story

57 Universities Nationwide Offer #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarships

New opportunities to study in U.S. for international students

Our Goal

Expand the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign to:

  • Ensure that international students know that U.S. higher education welcomes them.
  • Make it financially feasible for international students to study in the U.S.
  • Enlist international students, with a demonstrated interest, to help bridge intercultural divides.

 

Our Miracle Fruit

The start of the school year has always been a metaphor for new beginnings. That’s certainly true in Academic Year 2018-19, which marks the start of the third year of higher education’s viral national #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign and the first year of the new #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship. (Read my colleague Jessica's story on how the campaign got started.)

This past May at the annual NAFSA (Association of International Educators) conference, Temple University, along with eight other colleges and universities, announced the next step of our nationwide grassroots campaign. The #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship offers a minimum of 50% tuition for qualified international applicants who demonstrate an interest in building intercultural bridges.

We initiated the scholarship because we wanted to go beyond rhetoric to action, to an extension of the campaign that will actually increase the ability of selected international students to come and study in the United States. The hope is that these students can then further extend our message of welcome by working together to bridge cultural divides.

The nine universities that initially committed to the scholarship were diverse, including:

  1. Concordia College (Minnesota),
  2. Eastern Michigan University (Michigan),
  3. James Madison University (Virginia),
  4. Purdue University Northwest (Indiana),
  5. Seattle University (Washington),
  6. Shoreline Community College (Washington),
  7. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (Minnesota),
  8. Western New England University (Massachusetts),
  9. And my own, Temple University (Pennsylvania).

Building support from higher education institutions across America

From the start, we realized that to make a difference, we needed to involve many more universities. In addition to the announcement at NAFSA (the largest annual international education event), we gave webinars and worked hard to enlist other universities and colleges. Schools had until mid-August to sign up.

From May until August, nine universities grew into 20, and by the August 15th deadline, we were surprised and overwhelmed to have 57 universities and colleges across the U.S. participating. Fifty-seven universities awarding two scholarships each translates to over 100 scholarships. More than 100 international students coming to the U.S to study will know that despite often-negative background noise, they are truly welcome here. For this first year of the scholarship, we far exceeded our goals.

57 universities awarding 2 scholarships each translates to over 100 scholarships.

What’s next?

Now it’s time for students to apply, for schools to choose the winners and to uncover the amazing stories of students worldwide who want to create global inclusion in this age of growing intolerance.

To work toward this goal, we at Temple University, along with several other schools that have been key influencers in the campaign, have realized that #YouAreWelcomeHere is ready for yet another step. This campaign is now too big for Temple to lead and manage on its own.

In recognition of the shared leadership that has led us to this point, a group of universities and colleges, and representatives from three major organizations in international education - NAFSA, IIE (Institute of International Education) and EducationUSA - formed an advisory board and began meeting monthly. We’re working towards incorporating #YouAreWelcomeHere into an independent non-profit run by a dedicated advisory board.

Together, who knows what we can achieve? Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Maybe next year we can double the number of participating schools and further our understanding of the richness that cultural diversity brings to the United States and to the world.

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Miracle Fruit

Native to West Africa, the miracle fruit got its name because it turns sour things sweet. Eureka! When eaten, the effect can last for about 30 minutes.

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