The Umoja International Student Fellowship Program strives to build a global consciousness by exposing Umoja students to the African diaspora and helping them become aware of their place in that experience.

Overview:

A small percentage of students who engage in study abroad experiences are students of color, with less than 10% falling into this category. Notably, despite comprising 15.7% of all college enrollments, Black students represent only 4.1% of Americans participating in study abroad programs (US Census Bureau, 2022). This stark discrepancy underscores the underrepresentation of Black students compared to their peers in such programs. Despite these challenges, it is crucial to recognize the multitude of benefits that Black and other students can gain from studying abroad, including enhanced academic achievement, language proficiency, intercultural competence, identity development, overall well-being, and improved career outcomes. Furthermore, data indicates that Black and other students who engage in international study experiences demonstrate heightened retention and graduation rates (Rubin et al., 2014). 

The Umoja International Student Fellowship Program addresses this disparity by providing current Umoja students with a distinctive opportunity to expand their horizons, earn transferable credits, and acquire valuable international experience. The program's objectives extend beyond knowledge and skill enhancement, aiming to establish enduring connections between Umoja and our college and university partners. Through a combination of financial support, academic guidance, cultural immersion, professional development, and community engagement, the program equips students for transfer readiness, and community leadership, and fosters both personal, professional, and academic growth. 

The primary goal of the Umoja International Student Fellowship Program is to enhance students' knowledge, skills, and global perspective while decreasing the time to degree completion and increasing graduation, retention, and transfer rates. Through strengthening connections with college and university partners, the program seeks to create a network of future leaders committed to fostering cultural understanding, community development, and academic excellence. 

Key Program Components: 

  • Financial Support: The fellowship program provides financial assistance to Umoja students who will enroll in a study abroad program hosted and facilitated by one of college or university partners, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder their ability to engage in this life-changing credit earning experience. 
  • Cultural Immersion: The program promotes cultural exchange, fostering a deep understanding and appreciation for diverse perspectives. Student Fellows will engage in immersive experiences that go beyond traditional classroom settings. 
  • Professional Development: Student Fellows will have access to unique professional development opportunities, preparing them for future career success and leadership roles within their communities. 
  • Community Engagement: The program instills a sense of social responsibility by encouraging students to actively engage with the local communities in their host countries, promoting a spirit of global citizenship and community leadership. 

The Umoja International Student Fellowship has specific program requirements for students. To meet the general eligibility candidates must: 

  • Earn at least a 2.25 GPA 
  • California Community College Umoja Student who has completed at least 12 units or more 
  • Have a declared certificate, associate, or transferable degree major 
  • Plan to attend the upcoming Umoja Annual Conference and Umoja Student Leadership Summit (SLS) 
  • Demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential, and a strong commitment to community engagement 
  • Study abroad programs must contain a credit-bearing course at an Institution with an Umoja Program. 

Things to Consider Before Getting Started: 

Application Process and Requirements for Fellowship: 

Essay (Essay should be 2-3 pages - Max 1500 words): Applicants must submit well-written essay components for the essay that details why they want to study abroad. Applicants should respond to the following prompts: 

  • ​Goals for studying abroad (i.e., academic, career, and personal) – Briefly describe your goals and outline specific ways in which studying abroad will help you achieve these goals.​ 
  • The reason you want to study abroad in the African Diaspora – Describe why, out of all the programs on Earth to study, you are applying to this one. 
  • How will awarding you this fellowship to assist you in studying abroad contribute to your academic journey, in terms of helping you stay in college and finish a degree or certificate program? 

Please also submit with your application:  

  • Academic Transcript: Applicants must submit an unofficial academic transcript reflecting current grades with their college, enrollment status, and field of study. 
  • Affidavit: Applicants must agree to the terms of the scholarship program. 
  • Recommendation Form: Applicants will obtain a recommendation letter that follows the specified format. All recommendation letters must be from an Umoja Program Coordinator, Umoja Staff, or Umoja Faculty at the student's institution. After obtaining this letter, please attach it to the application.
  • Supplemental Documents: Financial Aid Award Letter, Resume, Brief Biography (200 words), and Professional Photo. 
  • Other Requirements for Participation: Students must agree to conduct weekly vlogs, be on our website, and present at our convenings when they return. 

Timelines and Dates:

Deadline: Applicants must complete and submit all application requirements by April 15, 2024, no later than 11:59 p.m. PST. Awardees will be notified no later than May 3, 2024.

Key Dates:

  • Applications Open: February 15, 2024
  • Applications Deadline: April 15, 2024
  • Scholarship Award Notifications: May 3, 2024

Contact Us: Please contact Dr. J. West, Grants Program Manager at studentfellowship@umojacommunity.org.