Multicultural Study Abroad Group

Mission Statement

The Multicultural Study Abroad Group (MSAG) is made up of University of Minnesota professionals who actively support the University's goal of increasing the numbers of students of color who study abroad by working to overcome barriers, promoting the benefits of study abroad and providing resources that address the needs of students of color.

MSAG Members

  • Christine L. Anderson, Twin Cities
  • Lyndsey Anderson, Duluth
  • Sarah Ashkar, Morris
  • Amber Bathke, Twin Cities
  • Mark Bellcourt, Twin Cities
  • Thuy Doan, Twin Cities
  • Emily Ehlinger, Twin Cities
  • Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez, Twin Cities
  • Rae French, Crookston
  • Lorna Hollowell, Crookston
  • Kimberly Gillette, Crookston
  • Simone Gbolo, Twin Cities
  • Hilda Ladner, Morris
  • Lindsey Lahr, Twin Cities
  • Wanda Loerch, Twin Cities
  • Anny Lin, Twin Cities
  • Karl Lorenz, Twin Cities
  • Joel Mixon, Twin Cities
  • Leigh Neys, Duluth
  • Willian Ostvig, Twin Cities
  • Adam Pagel, Twin Cities
  • Jillian Rowan, Twin Cities
  • Nikki Letawsky Shultz, Twin Cities
  • Elizabeth Schwartz, Twin Cities
  • Ellen Sunshine, Twin Cities
  • Vanessa Walton, Twin Cities
  • Nathan Whittaker, Twin Cities
  • Andrew Williams, Twin Cities
  • Gayle Woodruff, Twin Cities
  • Susana Woodward, Duluth

For further information about MSAG, membership, and general inquiries contact chair, chair-elect, or Gayle Woodruff or 612.625.6065.


At the September 2001 retreat for the Freshman/Sophomore advising group, interest emerged regarding the participation of students of color in study abroad programs. The Multicultural Study Abroad Group (MSAG), with representatives from all four campuses, was formed to explore this aspect of study abroad.

The group has identified and discussed the following categories of issues and concerns regarding students of color participation in study abroad.

  • financial concerns
  • family considerations
  • fear
  • cultural barriers and concerns
  • academic concerns
  • marketing of programs/ recruitment of students of color

The following reports detail the group's historical activities:

MSAG 2001–2002 activities (pdf)

MSAG 2005-2006 activities (pdf)

MSAG 2006-2007 activities (pdf)

Papers and Presentations

MSAG members have presented at numerous conferences, including:

"Students of Color and Study Abroad", a paper (pdf) presented at the University of Minnesota Curriculum Integration conference, April 2004.

Presentation given to the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE), June 2005

"Asian American Students: Study Abroad Participation, Perspectives and Experiences"
Thuý M. Ðoàn, MA, Educational Policy and Administration: Comparative and International Development Education, January 2002


The following data have been collected to help guide the work of the group.

Evaluation surveys
University-wide evaluation of Sophomores and Seniors. Each set of results includes a report on students of color.

Focus Groups, Summer, 2002
Focus group questions
Focus group results


The following products have been created in consultation and with support from the members of the group.

Multicultural students study abroad brochure (pdf)
Developed to address the concerns of multicultural students, this brochure attempts to deal directly and honestly with the real challenges that multicultural students may face while studying abroad, and also offers students some considerations that may help multicultural students find a study abroad program that fits well for them. Brochure proposal and outline (pdf)

Study abroad with a focus on multicultural issues (pdf)
A student advising resource offering guidance in choosing programs that address multicultural issues as a focus of academic inquiry.

Training Module (pdf)
An outline of the training module created by the Multicultural Study Abroad Group to train academic advisers and faculty regarding students of color and study abroad. The module can also be used in training study abroad staff on multicultural affairs and advising issues.

Learning abroad for student parents (pdf)
Developed in partnership with the University's Student Parent HELP Center, this piece offers specific guidance to students who are parents regarding options for fitting study abroad into their busy lives.

Parent web pages
Address parent issues and study abroad. Parental concern has been identified as a major issues preventing more multicultural students from studying abroad. It is hoped that this set of web pages can address parental concerns and give students some help in answering tough parental questions.

MSAG Bibliography
In 2001–'02 MSAG and the Study Abroad Curriculum Integration Team created an extensive biliography on multicultural students and study abroad.