New study abroad program and scholarship help students explore social entrepreneurship in China.
An innovative new study abroad program in Beijing will help first-generation college students at The University of Texas at Austin combine their passion for entrepreneurship with their desire to help others.
Participants in the new 2013 Maymester program, Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and China, will be among the first in the nation to gain hands-on, international experience in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship. A $150,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation will provide significant scholarship assistance for eligible first-generation college students participating in this new study abroad program.
Social entrepreneurs are visionaries who use transformative ideas and innovative models to solve the world’s pressing problems, driving social change through grassroots efforts. In that spirit, students will spend four weeks in Beijing working twice a week with children at the Dandelion School, which helps educate migrant children who are often unable to gain access to local schools.
Through a combination of classroom and community-based learning, participants will explore the concept of social entrepreneurship and reflect on Chinese history and culture. They will also compare and contrast the history of social entrepreneurship in the U.S. and China — and learn about the trends in globalization and industrialization that led millions of former rural farming families to migrate to Beijing in search of work.
“The Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and China program was designed with the unique needs of UT’s own first-generation college students in mind,” said Heather Barclay Hamir, director of study abroad for the International Office at The University of Texas at Austin. “These students have historically been more likely to enroll in Maymester programs due to the level of faculty involvement, the direct applicability of course credit to their degree plans and the educational value of what is often their first international experience.”
Program co-facilitator Ge Chen, assistant vice president of the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, explains the program’s focus on the emerging field of social entrepreneurship. “We know UT students are very interested in civic engagement, leadership and giving back to society. There is no better way to do this than through social entrepreneurship, which empowers young scholars to apply their talents to create self-sustaining solutions for local communities,” she said.
Leonard Moore, history professor and associate vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, shares why now is the perfect time for students to explore the potential for innovation through social entrepreneurship: “Traditional institutions alone cannot solve some of the complex challenges facing the world today. We’re convinced that if you turn a diverse group of students loose and let them be creative and innovative, they’ll come up with some incredible solutions.”
Chen and Moore will co-facilitate the summer 2013 Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and China study abroad program. To learn more about the program, visit the Maymester: Social Entrepreneurship in China site.