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UA Study Abroad launches passports for purpose crowdfunding campaign

Courtney Talak / The Daily Wildcat

The UA Global initiatives office is currently crowdfunding to raise money to buy 35 students passports to travel abroad.

The UA Office of Global Initiatives started Passports for a Purpose, a funding campaign aiming to provide 35 passports for UA students planning to study abroad.

One of the first things students have to do when applying to study abroad is get their passport, which is an out-of-pocket expense of $145.

“I think a lot of times when students consider studying abroad, finances are one of the biggest deterrents—we know that additional costs that can be associated with studying abroad are things like passports,” said Katie Van Wyk, UA study abroad programs coordinator.

The campaign, which ends on Oct. 5, has collected $955 so far from 17 donors.

Yazmine Moore, recent UA graduate in journalism and family studies and development studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy this past summer. 

“It gave me the option to explore a different culture and language,” Moore said. “I was out of my usual element, so it was really cool because I got to experience something I never experienced before.”

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The campaign website lists amount levels which people can donate and what those amounts will do for the campaign and students.

Ten dollars will provide a student with a passport photo, $25 will pay for one student’s passport execution fees, $145 will provide a student with a passport, $290 will provide two students with passports and $1,015 will provide seven students with passports.

Donors who give $145 or more will receive recognition on the Study Abroad website.

Zoe Messer, a UA law junior who studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy over the summer, said she almost didn’t go because she didn’t think it would be worth all the money.

“You just get so much more out of it by emerging yourself in a whole different culture,” Messer said. “You learn a different way of life—interacting, eating, grocery shopping. It opens your eyes to a whole different place; you’ll come back looking at life in a different way.” 

This program started by analyzing the barriers that students faced when contemplating going abroad, according to Lisa Turker, associate director of study abroad operation and engagement.

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“This is a really important experience we want to make sure that we really focus on accessibility,” Turker said. “We want to make this an option for everyone, so it’s a very important campaign in that way.”

The funding for the passports will be determined by the application process and information gathered about the student’s financial needs and their reasons for wanting to study abroad. A committee made up of members from the Office of Global Initiatives will then determine which applications will be funded.

“We hope that people will take time and give just a few dollars to provide this opportunity,” Van Wyk said. “It really is about access and allowing more people to go abroad who maybe didn’t think they could afford it.”

Follow Angela Martinez on Twitter.

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