At its 2016 Summit in Washington, D.C., this week, Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad® initiative recognized Upper Iowa University (UIU) and 11 other U.S. higher education institutions for having already exceeded their goals to boost study abroad participation. Over five times as many Upper Iowa University students are studying abroad today than three years ago, thanks in part to the IIE national campaign to help colleges and universities set clear goals and measurable actions to increase the number and diversity of American college students who study abroad by 2020. More than 700 colleges and organizations have joined Generation Study Abroad since its launch two years ago, and each aims to achieve the same lofty recognition that UIU received this week.
After an estimated 10 students traveled abroad in 2011-12, UIU’s end of the decade goal was to send 30 students abroad. During 2014-15 the number of students studying abroad had risen to 52. The majority of these students participated in two faculty-led trips, while the remaining students were part of inbound/outbound exchange programs.
“We are excited to have been able to surpass our goal that we established in partnership with Generation Study Abroad,” said Nadia Korobova, UIU assistant vice president for international education. “We attribute this success to tireless efforts of our study abroad staff as well as faculty and staff involved in education abroad. UIU has always placed an emphasis on the importance of international education. We hope to increase student participation in study abroad programing even further. There is incredible value gained by participating in such experiences, and it is exciting to see that our students realize this value.”
Korobova noted that Upper Iowa was able to increase its number of students studying abroad by focusing on specific needs of the student body. Korobova explained that with a large percentage of the student body being involved in athletics and many others working full-time during the summer months, short-term programs operating during breaks attracted the most interest.
“We have found success running short-term, faculty-led trips in May and during spring break,” she added. “This year we are offering even more faculty-led trip options to students. These educational experiences include trips to Peru and five European destinations, and encompass a variety of academics including nursing, education, business, communications, and art. We are hoping to continue to surpass our Generation Study Abroad commitment, by maintaining our commitment to provide our students with a variety of programs and options that fit their needs.”
Generation Study Abroad is a five-year IIE initiative to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. The initiative highlights IIE’s commitment to study abroad and to encouraging purposeful, innovative action to get more Americans to undertake a meaningful international experience through academic study abroad programs as well as internships, service learning, and noncredit educational experiences.
The 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad is being held in Washington. D.C. Sunday, October 23 – Tuesday, October 25. The Summit convenes more than 600 journalists, education, and government and business leaders for action-oriented discussions on how to ensure international experience is a key part of a 21st Century education and to make study abroad opportunities available to all students.
“Just two years after joining Generation Study Abroad, colleges and universities across the country are seeing measurable results in their study abroad participation rates,” said Allan Goodman, president/CEO of IIE. “Studying abroad is one of the best ways to prepare to enter and succeed in the interconnected, globalized workforce, yet 90 percent of American college students do not study or intern outside of the United States. We owe it to the next generation of Americans to explain why study abroad is more crucial than ever and to find ways to make it more accessible to a wider range of students.”
IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative has provided financial support through scholarships to 300 high school and college students. Commitment partners have also received funding through special grants and scholarships offered by study abroad organizations in the Generation Study Abroad network such as CIEE, IES Abroad and AIFS. In addition, Generation Study Abroad country partners, including France, Ireland, and New Zealand, have offered scholarships for American students to study in their respective countries. Many of the nearly 200 international universities, organizations and government entities that are part of the Generation Study Abroad network are collaborating with U.S. colleges to improve credit transfer and offering new short-term programs.
IIE is a leader in providing international education strategies and program services. The independent, not-for-profit organization works with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. Founded in 1919, IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources.