Plan to double American study abroad

13 March, 2014

A five-year initiative to double the number of American college students studying abroad to 600,000 has been officially launched by the Institute of International Education (IIE), bringing together lead partners in education, business and government.

Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, Generation Study Abroad aims to drive meaningful action to increase the number of students gaining international experience through study abroad programmes, as well as internship and non-credit educational courses.

Generation Study Abroad is backed by a US$2 million funding commitment from IIE, which is also actively raising funds for a Study Abroad Fund to provide scholarships to college and high school students and grants to institutions. The IIE Passport Awards for Study Abroad scholarship scheme has already been launched to provide supplemental grants for inner-city high school students.

More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad commitment, and IIE is seeking at least 500 institutions willing to either double study abroad or significantly increase participation rates of study abroad programmes.

According to IIE data, fewer than one in 10 American students study abroad during their academic careers. The most recent Open Doors data recorded 295,000 students studying outside the USA in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programmes.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” said 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.”

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