#humility. #empathy. Two quiet yet powerful words that I heard frequently at the inaugural IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad that took place in Washington, DC, last week.
As the European Union copes with a continuing financial crisis and growing pessimism over European integration, the Erasmus Programme has proven surprisingly resilient. Since its inception, it has expanded to more than 4000 participating education institutions in 33 countries offering mobility opportunities for more than 4 million people. Xavier Prats Monné, director-general for Health and for Food Safety of the European Commission, previously served as director general for Education and Culture of the European Commission, where he was responsible for EU policies in the field of education and for the EU education programs for the 2014–2020 period, including Erasmus+ and Marie Sklodowska Curie.
International experience used to be a “nice-to-have” criterion in a graduate’s resume. Today, it has become one of the most important components of a 21st century education. Many new studies show a direct impact of study abroad on creativity, cognitive ability, and student success. In addition, studies show that study abroad plays an important role in developing a global mindset and skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. Below are studies showing the value employers place on international experience and whether a graduate’s career prospects actually improve as a result of this experience.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) recently hosted a special meeting on “Alumni Engagement: Methods and Strategies for Engaging Returning Students,” as part of its regular series of Global Education Diplomatic Network meetings, which brings together education attaches of embassies and consulates and related organizations.
As nearly 1 million international students begin a new academic year at a U.S. college or university, another group of international students is likewise preparing for enrollment at a U.S. high school. As noted in IIE’s report, Charting New Pathways to Higher Education*, in fall 2013 there were over 73,000 international students enrolled in U.S. high schools, and of those, nearly 49,000 were seeking diplomas from U.S. high schools to help prepare them for admission to an American higher education institution.
Roughly 15 months after IIE launched the Generation Study Abroad® initiative, it’s time to take stock. Are we making progress? Can we achieve our goal of doubling study abroad by the end of the decade? We have built an impressive coalition of educators, parents, students, alumni, and funders who are pledging specific, actionable goals and tangible financial commitments that will contribute significantly to reach our ambitious goal.
With all the recent talk about the decrease in foreign language enrollment in the United States, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at some concrete examples of real career paths that began in a language classroom. These examples are all taken from profiles done of Boren Awards alumni who applied to and received funding based in no small part on their dedication to language study, among other things. These students show how a dedication to linguistic and cultural learning can help lead to meaningful work on some of the most important global concerns of our time.
A recent discussion on student mobility and the higher education landscape from a Russian higher education practitioner’s perspective had my research wheels turning. Meeting with the 2014 Fulbright Russian International Education Administrators (RIEA) Program cohort was an educational experience for me: specifically it taught me that mobility data doesn’t always tell us the full story, and that one has to always speak to colleagues in the field to fully understand the context of student mobility.
By my count, representatives from more than 400 organizations and universities from around the world helped to fill the NAFSA conference expo space to capacity. There were many good messages about welcoming U.S. students and innovative study abroad and internship programs. Many made a special effort to point out just how many courses and programs are now taught entirely in English. That is good news, and bad.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Studying abroad was never something I planned on doing. I knew such a thing existed, but to me it existed in a realm of things I didn’t perceive as meant for me. I was a first generation college student and even attending college didn’t seem like something someone like me would do; it was for other kids. I nearly dropped out several times. After two years of near-daily encouragement from my favorite professor, I finally began to consider study abroad as something meant for me, too.