Silver City, NM – Western New Mexico University has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The initiative is also focusing on increasing the diversity of the students who study abroad, ensuring quality, and removing barriers to participation. WNMU has committed to increasing the number of students who study abroad by 50over the next five years.
Two months after theofficial launch of Generation Study Abroad, the Institute of International Education has announced significant progress in advancing the major goals of the initiative. IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative now has over 300 commitment partners. The 150 new partners who have committed to specific, actionable goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad include colleges and universities, as well as study abroad organizations, foreign governments, and associations. Noteworthy commitments to action in this round include new scholarships andfinancial assistance to help students pay for study abroad, and new initiatives to reach out to underserved groups and increase the diversity of the student population that goes abroad.
A total of 308 partners have joined Generation Study Abroad to date. They include: 241 U.S. colleges and universities from 46 states; 9 non-U.S. institutions; 13 education associations; 34 study abroad organizations; 11 U.S. and foreign government entities, including the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.
Professor Dr. Alexandra Neves has led the efforts for WNMU in establishing the partnership.
“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to study abroad and learn about other cultures and languages,” said Neves. “As the world becomes more interconnected, globally-minded individuals are in high demand and an international experience teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity which will benefit students personally, professionally and academically.”
WNMU believes in theimportance of global awareness and that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education. “Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers whohave 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 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. According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-creditprograms. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade.
With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues. Commitment partners are working to ensure that students from all backgrounds and in all fields of study have the opportunity to gain this important experience.
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 5 years.
For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, go to: www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.