Two SC State University Students to Study Abroad in Costa Rica

Friday, May 28, 2010

The International Association of Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA) based in Washington, DC, recently granted two SC State University students a $1,500 scholarship each to study abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica. BPIA is a charitable, non-profit membership association established in 1989. It was founded by an African-American female with the goal of increasing the involvement of African- Americans and other people of African heritage in international affairs. In addition to its scholarship and grants initiatives, BPIA fulfills its objectives in education, cultural exchange, and economic and professional development through public education forums, conferences, referrals, publication of its newsletter, “Global Visions,” networking and outreach activities.

“BPIA is trying to encourage and motivate minorities to participate in international affairs. In order to do that, we are trying to reach young people, in this case, students who would probably need additional financial assistance,” said Jim Washington, board member and chair of the scholarship committee for BPIA. “When the students return, they will serve as ambassadors who will encourage other minorities to consider careers in the international arena,” he continued.

Washington is ecstatic about the relationship that BPIA has with SC State University. “We hope that BPIA will be an association that students will be interested in joining while they are in college and during their professional careers,” says Washington.  “It is very good to partner with SC State University and Dr. Leonard McIntyre. In the future, we would like to collectively broaden the scope to include developing faculty and staff interests in international exchanges,” said Washington.

The SC State University students selected AmeriSpan, an organization that specializes in arranging study abroad opportunities, to coordinate their trip. “Since 1993, we have sent over 30,000 students abroad. We focus mostly on language immersion,” said Alexa Boyd, senior study abroad consultant at AmeriSpan. Both SC State University students are Spanish majors and will be studying the language at the Centro de Idiomas Intercultura located in Heredia, Costa Rica.

“The Centro de Idiomas intercultura is a private language school,” said Ebony Smith, senior spanish major. “I will be there for 10 weeks in the fall from September to November. It will improve my confidence in speaking Spanish, as well as my awareness of the Spanish culture. I definitely think that having this experience will make me more marketable and relevant in today’s society,” says Smith. Latoya Austin, senior spanish major, is excited and ready for the experience. “ I want to be fluent so that I can be an effective fifth grade Spanish teacher and work with Spanish translation,” said Austin.

BPIA scholarships will assist the students in offsetting the AmeriSpan program cost and in reaching their academic and professional goals. “In an effort to provide assistance to these two students, we have been afforded an opportunity to begin a relationship with BPIA and AmeriSpan that we anticipate will result in long lasting partnerships for SC State University,” said Dr. Leonard McIntyre, special assistant to the president for International Affairs.

To learn more about SC State University students’ international experience, contact Dr. Leonard McIntyre at (803) 536-7960,  or visit