Mar 5, 2014 | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech 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 Institute has committed to increasing the number of undergraduate students who graduate with international program experience to 60 percent over the next five years.
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 international research. Georgia Tech is among the 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.
In order to attain this goal, Georgia Tech plans to increase its capacity by expanding international program offerings. This will include expanding some existing programs and adding new programs such as embedded study abroad options, international service learning programs and programs in countries where Tech does not currently have options. The Institute will also increase dramatically its development of international internship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, the Office of International Education (OIE) at Georgia Tech will increase its effort to serve underrepresented majors as well as students with financial barriers by actively seeking additional opportunities for funding for study abroad scholarships.
Georgia Tech emphasizes the importance of global awareness in the belief that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education. Currently, more than 1,500 students participate in more than 120 international program offerings each year, for which students receive more than $100,000 in scholarship funding.
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 several foreign governments, 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.
“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.”
According to IIE, Generation Study Abroad is a determined response to the surprisingly low number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad. 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-credit programs. 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.
For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative and a complete list of commitment partners, go to: www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.