The Institute of International Education has officially launched Generation Study Abroad, a five-year initiative that brings leaders in education, business, and governments together to double the number of U.S. college students studying abroad. IIE has already identified more than 160 lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world.
Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences.
Building on its nearly 100-year commitment to study abroad, IIE has committed $2 million of its own funds to this initiative over the next five years. IIE is also actively raising funds for a Study Abroad Fund to provide scholarships to college and high school students and grants to institutions. Thanks to lead gifts by IIE Chairman Thomas S. Johnson and IIE Treasurer Mark A. Angelson, IIE will launch a new scholarship program, the IIE Passport Awards for Study Abroad, to provide supplemental grants for students from inner-city high schools to study abroad when they are in college.
More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and eight foreign governments or national exchange agencies, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations, have also pledged to support the goals of the initiative. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.
IIE is launching Generation Study Abroad because the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career.
"Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise," says Dr. Allan Goodman, President of IIE. "Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders."
IIE is seeking at least 500 U.S. colleges and universities willing to either double the number of their students studying abroad, or significantly increase the participation rate of students who study abroad at some point during their undergraduate career. Later phases include mobilizing 1,000 high school teachers and engaging 10,000 alumni and students. IIE welcomes others to join this important initiative.