CIS Abroad Blog

CIS Abroad’s Peer Advisor Matching Grant

What is CIS Abroad’s Peer Advisor Matching Grant?

Jessica Jones, Vice President of University Relations.

“At CIS Abroad, we not only listen to the needs of our affiliate partners, but act on solving them! The Peer Advisor Matching Grant is something we’ve seen grow into a program that is highly needed and valued. Resources can be scarce these days, and time is even harder to come by, so we’re filling a need to help education abroad offices meet their study abroad goals.”– Jessica Jones, CIS Abroad Vice President of Partnerships


To support education abroad staff at our affiliate partners we provide this grant opportunity, which covers up to half the cost of hiring a Peer Advisor in the education abroad office for a semester or an academic year. The Peer Advisor will work in a pre-professional capacity with office staff to promote education abroad on campus and to support prospective and current applicants. Grants generally range between $250 – $1,500 in matching funds per semester.

What can the grant funds be used for?

This grant can be used to hire an alum of a CIS Abroad program who can assist your office with a broad range of study abroad advising and promotional activities such as:

  • Initial study abroad advising appointments and information sessions
  • Class presentations
  • Outreach across campus, including to student organizations and living/learning communities
  • Social media management
  • Administrative duties with a focus on CIS Abroad applicants
  • Additional duties as assigned by education abroad office staff

Kent Moore, CIS Abroad University Relations Director

“The Peer Advisor Matching Grant is one of my favorite initiatives we’ve launched to support our institutional partnerships in recent years. I’ve worked with peer advisors sponsored by CIS Abroad at several of our partner institutions over the past few years, and every year it strikes me what a win-win situation it is for everyone involved. The Grant provides enormous value to the institution, who may struggle to pay for student staff otherwise.

“Our partners have used this additional student staff to assist with study abroad marketing and outreach on campus, administrative support, initial group advising, classroom presentations, and a lot more– anything that helps the education abroad staff. Students in the application process on those campuses benefit from hearing from a peer who has recently gone through the entire process that they are facing, and can have their questions answered in-person by someone who knows the CIS Abroad program very well. It also allows the student hired as a peer advisor to gain valuable professional experience.” – Kent Moore, CIS Abroad University Relations Director 

The Peer Advisor Matching Grant in Action:

We interviewed Kris Gayer, a study abroad advisor at Western Colorado University, and their office’s student worker Sam Turcot (CIS Abroad Semester in Japan, Fall 2017), both of whom benefitted from the CIS Abroad Peer Advisor Matching Grant. The following interviews were edited for length. 

Interview with Kris, Study Abroad Advisor

kris gayer, study abroad advisor benefitng from CISabroad's peer advisor matching grant

Kris Gayer, Study Abroad Advisor at Western Colorado University

What do you see as the biggest challenge for students wishing to study abroad?

Kris: Finances are always a perceived obstacle but I find the biggest challenge for interested students is turning their curiosities into actualized experiences.  Most students arrive at college aware or intrigued by study abroad but only a small number take advantage of the infinite opportunities available to them. I believe this obstacle is overcome through storytelling and the shared experiences of students, staff, or faculty who talk about their exchanges that can inspire a curious student to complete the necessary steps to execute an exchange.

How does the Peer Advisor Grant help your office meet your goals?

Kris: The Peer Advisor Grant is invaluable to my office and my campus community because of the increased contact with students provided by the alumni ambassador positions.  Our office has less than one full-time staff member responsible for all study coordination on campus so we depend on our work study and returning study abroad students to promote our programs.  The Peer Advisor Grant has allowed our department to formalize our peer to peer student outreach and classroom presentations while providing monetary incentive to our passionate study abroad veterans. 

Interview with Sam, Peer Advisor

Sam Turcot, Semester in Japan Fall 2017, Peer Advisor Matching Grant Peer Advisor

Sam Turcot, Peer Advisor

What was the most memorable experience of your study abroad?

Sam: I loved the excursions and the opportunity my classes allowed for me to meet Japanese students. One of my classes had about 200 students and it was 98% Japanese students. We sat in new seats every day and did activities with our mini 4-person groups. This allowed me to connect with loads of people, and it also meant that I always had weekend plans.

Why did you want to work in your study abroad office?

Sam: Western Colorado University is a very small school and now that I am a senior I see people from this school and at home who are already settling in and they never seem to take that next step to see the world (and some people do not want to). I am now taking advantage of being a senior and spreading the word about studying abroad. College is the time to travel and the time to learn. It is cheaper, easier, and way more fun to go as a college student and it allows you to immerse yourself in something totally different. This is what I want for every student. They know the stress of writing and test taking, but they should add the positive stress of living abroad.

How will your study abroad experience and continued work in education abroad help advance your professional ambitions?

Sam: I’m looking to work in international business. How can you connect different cultures and businesses in a positive way that provides profit and benefits to all who work there? As a psychology student, I know many people who want to be counselors, and what I have found is the biggest stressor in people’s lives is work/money. I want to change that stress from the source instead of dealing with the aftermath. Working in business has bumps, and I would like to be there to smooth those bumps out and to help those people smooth bumps with international integration.

Interested? Apply for the Grant

Any current affiliate partner is eligible to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Complete the Peer Advisor Matching Grant Application.

Emily Negard, CIS Abroad AVP of Partner Comunications

“This academic year, we saw a large increase in applications for the peer advisor matching grant. Two of our CIS Abroad values are Being Helpful and Change and Growth. As university climates shift and funding challenges can arise, we hope that having an extra peer advisor in the office will help our affiliate partners reach their education abroad goals a little more easily on campus. – Emily Negard, CIS Abroad AVP of Partner Communications