Lessons Learned from Low-Income, First-Generation, Technical, and Rural Students (LIFTRs) Who Participate in Education Abroad


  • Dawn Wood Kirkwood Community College




Anti-deficit narrative, community college, diversity, equity, and inclusion, education abroad, intercultural experiencesinternational education, internationalization


Community college student data and stories provide a critical contribution to the narrative of inclusive education abroad. A deficit mindset perspective has precluded historically marginalized student populations’ education abroad stories being shared and heard broadly. The community college provides a setting in which accessible education abroad opportunities exist, and in which students with diverse identities participate in education abroad. This mixed-methods study brings forward unique lessons learned from one community college’s education abroad student enrollment data and student study abroad narratives. Findings show evidence that students who identify as LIFTRs (low-income, first-generation, technical, rural, or a combination of these four) are indeed likely to participate in education abroad opportunities. A retrospective education abroad survey and semi-structured student interviews collect and amplify LIFTR stories. Education abroad leaders and practitioners are called upon to embrace a capabilities approach to education abroad access and recognize that global learning is a requisite to all students’ higher education experience, regardless of personal backgrounds.


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Author Biography

Dawn Wood, Kirkwood Community College

Dawn Wood currently serves as Dean of Global Learning at Kirkwood Community College. With over 25 years of international education leadership experience at a variety of institutions and institutional types, she enjoys furthering the ideals of intercultural exchange and inclusive internationalization. Dr. Wood recently received her PhD in Higher Education Internationalisation and continues to pursue research on the impact of intercultural experiences on diverse populations. She has authored numerous publications and has presented at a variety of professional conferences


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How to Cite

Wood, D. (2023). Lessons Learned from Low-Income, First-Generation, Technical, and Rural Students (LIFTRs) Who Participate in Education Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 35(3), 238–273. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v35i3.833



Special Section: Assessment and Evaluation in Community College/Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Education Abroad