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Students holding large passport

On the Passport Caravan

Wofford works with CIEE to provide free passports for students

At about $150, a passport isn’t cheap, and for some students it’s a real barrier to international travel.

To remove that barrier, Wofford College partnered with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to bring the Passport Caravan to campus, and this fall 85 students took advantage of the opportunity.

“My passport opened the door to living life through a completely new lens,” says Peter Harbert ’18, an international affairs and French major from Charleston, S.C. “It gave me the opportunity to learn about cultures, traditions, languages and so much more.”

Laura Braun, assistant dean of international programs, helped bring the Passport Caravan to Wofford because she wants other students to have the same experiences. “Study abroad provides students with opportunities to engage in different cultures, languages and viewpoints,” she says. “One of the goals of the Passport Caravan event is to open up access for all students to have the opportunity to study abroad. We want to break down the barriers for students.”

Braun says the Office of International Programs specifically marketed the Passport Caravan to students who historically have been underrepresented in the study abroad program, such as student-athletes, Pell Grant-eligible students and first-generation college students. First-year students also were encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.

In 2014, CIEE pledged to fund passports for 10,000 students nationwide by 2020. The program is a part of its IIE study abroad initiative. CIEE is a nonprofit organization that promotes international education and exchange. It operates more than 175 study abroad programs in more than 40 countries and is a study abroad partner with Wofford.

The Wofford students who attended the Passport Caravan left excited about the possibilities.

“I do plan to make use of my passport in the future,” says Tyrus Peoples ’21, a Bonner Scholar and a Gateway Scholar at Wofford. “I hope to travel to various countries while I am here at Wofford and beyond.”

Wofford College is known nationally for its study abroad program with students studying in more than 70 countries and on all seven continents. The college recently was ranked #4 among baccalaureate institutions by the Open Doors survey for the percentage of students who study abroad for credit.

By Essence Buckman ’18