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Study Abroad Collaboration Is Designed for First-Generation Students

The University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State are working together to offer students who represent the first in their families to attend college a special study abroad program. The effort includes a trip to Guatemala and incorporates a service-learning component.

Date: 1/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Robert White
Other Contact: Tom Robinette
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-8577

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State are joining forces to offer a study abroad service learning experience tailored to first-generation college students.

Both institutions have a legacy of addressing the needs of students who represent the first in their families to attend college. This program – which combines traditional classroom instruction, online course work and a 10-day trip to Guatemala – is an effort to enrich the college experience for such students.

“It has become increasingly common for college students to incorporate a study-abroad component into their curriculum,” said Samuel Rowe, chairman of the Humanities and Foreign Languages Department at Cincinnati State. “This is a cost-effective program designed to expand the world-view of students for whom college itself is a big step.”

RosaMaria Moreno, a language professor at Cincinnati State who has traveled repeatedly to Guatemala, said the program is also designed to add service learning to the educational basket of first generation students. “During their time in Guatemala, these students will be engaged in volunteer projects,” she explained. “This is genuine learning by doing.”

Participating students will work at project sites managed through Ak’ Tenamit, a nonprofit association that provides educational, health and other services in eastern Guatemala. Ak’ Tenamit receives funding and logistical help from the Guatemalan Tomorrow Fund, a non-profit based the United States, and works closely with Guatemala’s Q’eqchi Maya villages as they work to develop their communities.

Before and after the trip to Guatemala, participating students in the UC/Cincinnati State class will study the culture, history and economy of the region.  Students will also be required to maintain journals of their experiences and submit formal papers after the trip describing what they encountered and learned.

“We have created this course because we believe the world of study abroad should be open to every student,” said Stephanie Talbot, a UC adjunct instructor of communication who is a graduate of UC and Cincinnati State. “It brings the classroom into the real world through learning about Guatemala and then working with the diverse peoples studied in our text.”

All UC and Cincinnati State students will be able to apply their Financial Aid for this course (Spanish 198, Special Topics).

The application deadline for the course is Feb. 1. The trip to Guatemala is scheduled for May 14-24. Classroom sessions are scheduled before and after the trip.

For more information, contact associate professor Nancy Jennings ( or 513-556-4456); adjunct instructor Stephanie Talbot (  or 513-556-4440); or RosaMaria Moreno at Cincinnati State ( or 513-569-1446).

For additional background about the Ak’ Tenamit program, go to
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