NOVA Awarded IDEAS Grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad

May 19, 2021

Northern Virginia Community College has been selected to receive an IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. NOVA is one of 26 colleges and universities from across the United States, selected from 132 applicants, to create, expand and/or diversify American student study overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. This U.S. Government program is funded by the State Department and supported in its implementation by World Learning.

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to expanding study abroad opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds to study at colleges and universities across the United States. Americans studying abroad serve as citizen ambassadors by building relationships within their host communities, demonstrating American values and countering stereotypes. They also gain critical job skills abroad that in turn benefit their home communities. We are committed to continuing our strong support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future,” said Heidi Manley, USA Study Abroad Chief for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

Under the programmatic theme of ‘Countering Disinformation through Study Abroad and Community Engagement,’ NOVA’s proposed program aims to create study abroad programming complemented by virtual exchange and community service for NOVA community college students interested in cybersecurity. The ‘Ethical Hacking Cybersecurity Bootcamp Program’ will build capacity by expanding NOVA Branded Study Abroad Programs that are unique, transferrable and offer added value to the degree program.  

In collaboration with Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, NOVA will launch a three-track program specifically designed for the needs of students that will ensure affordability, flexibility and efficacy. This eight-week faculty-led study abroad program will commence in Summer 2022, with preparations beginning in Summer 2021.

The flexibility of the tracks will allow students to choose between virtual, hybrid and in-person programming, enabling those with the greatest financial limitations to partake in valuable educational and cultural exchange. The unique structure of the program will allow for students to maximize their time abroad incorporating academics, cultural exchange, action planning and community engagement.  These components will create actively engaged graduates who are ready to give back to their communities. Engaged faculty members will also receive valuable professional development opportunities to better engage with students on the internationalization of community college education. 

The IDEAS Program seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities to create, expand and diversify study abroad programs for U.S. students. In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity building activities.

“NOVA is committed to the diversity and access of opportunity for our students,” said Dr.  Syedur Rahman, associate vice president of international education and sponsored programs. “We will be able to further expand our capacity to offer students opportunities to participate in accessible study abroad programming through a newly created hybrid program in cybersecurity at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland.

For a full list of 2021 IDEAS grant recipients, as well as information on a free IDEAS webinar series on building study abroad resources for U.S. campuses, please visit To view the full announcement from the State Department, please visit,

Funded projects are supporting such activities as developing new international partnerships and programs, training faculty and staff, internationalizing curriculum, creating resources to engage diverse student groups in study abroad and creating virtual exchanges. Once international travel resumes in full, these IDEAS grant recipients will be better equipped to deliver impactful and inclusive study abroad programs around the globe. 

Topics: press release