Go ‘Bro,’ study abroad

Autumn Hamlin

The UK International Center is currently holding its first competition to get more male students to study abroad. 

GO study aBROad, or GO BRO, is a competition between fraternities to increase the male demographic in the Education Abroad program. 

Patrick Barker, embedded office director for International Studies Abroad, said women dominate the number of students who study abroad.

“It’s about a 65/35 or 60/40 split in favor of women studying abroad,” Barker said. “The hope (of the competition) is to have fraternity men become more aware of the benefits of studying abroad and create a culture among fraternities that this is just something its members do.” 

The winning chapter at the end of the competition will be allowed to select one member of the fraternity to go on an all-expense paid “seven to nine day visit to either Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic or Peru to visit the ISA offices and to see how studying abroad works,” Barker said. 

The first place prize includes the program fees, all forms of transportation, living arrangements and meals. The prize does not include personal spending money. 

Chapters that come in second and third place will win a donation toward their philanthropy and an ISA scholarship for one member. In the result of a tie the winners will be chosen through random drawings. 

200 points must be collected for a chapter to win. Points come from attending events such as a 30-minute Education Abroad presentation from an ISA ambassador in their house or attending the Education Abroad Scholarship Workshop. 

Andrea Gils, the International Center communications manager, said the program is made to provide the start of a trend toward getting fraternity men more involved in Education Abroad programs by having the winning member “present his experience to fraternity chapters across campus.”

The campaign was also created to educate the winning fraternity member and future members that embark on Education Abroad trips of the importance of global perspectives and help prepare the men for jobs. 

“Research has shown that students who study abroad are more likely to graduate, are more likely to find a job after graduation and it obviously increases intercultural awareness,” Barker said. “In all my years of working in the field, I’ve never had a student say to me, ‘Meh, I wish I hadn’t studied abroad.’ It’s a perspective-changing experience for each and every student.” 

The competition will continue on until Oct. 14, when a winning chapter will be selected.