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100 Passport Giveaway Provides Foundation for Study Abroad for Middle School Students

About 40 students at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy were encouraged and entertained by Dr. Devin Walker, director of the Office of Global Leadership and Social Impact, and DDCE Assistant Vice President Patrick Patterson as they kicked off a new initiative–the 100 Passport Giveaway. The 100 Passport Giveaway is part of DDCE’s new Austin Future Global Leaders initiative to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to study abroad.

Devin at Gus Garcia
Dr. Devin Walker explains how having a passport can change your life.

The initiative will provide 100 passports, free of charge, to eighth grade students through the DDCE’s Neighborhood Longhorns Program. Walker will continue to meet with students over the next year in special sessions that focus on traveling abroad and building leadership skills. In their freshman year of high school, students will be invited to travel to Beijing, China in a special 10-day study abroad program.

student Kaela at Gus Garcia
College of Natural Sciences junior Kaela Thomas shares her recent Leadership Abroad experiences in Costa Rica.

“Providing eighth-graders with passports allows them to see beyond their current situation, dream big and reimagine possibilities for themselves and their communities,” says Devin Walker, director of the Austin Future Leaders Initiative. “Passports are like the gift that keeps on giving.”

 To learn more about the Future Global Leaders Initiative, see how study abroad has transformed the lives of students, and apply for participation in the initiative, visit http://diversity.utexas.edu/globalleadership/. 

Kellen photo
College of Education junior Kellen Foyt shared his experiences as a student at Austin’s Reagan High School, attending UT and Study Abroad.