Generation Study Abroad | Resources | Media

Media | Press

Background Material

Fact Sheet (58 KB, PDF)

Press Release: IIE Generation Study Abroad Announces New Partners and Scholarships (May 20, 2014) (148 KB, PDF)


Images | Logos

Generation Study Abroad

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Generation Study Abroad

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Infographic: Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partners

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Generation Study Abroad

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Who benefits from Generation Study Abroad and how?

Why should students study abroad?

What are the most common obstacles to study abroad and how will Generation Study Abroad address them?

Is your goal to double realistic? Is it achievable in five years?

How does Generation Study Abroad plan to address the lack of diversity in study abroad?

Will Generation Study Abroad address concerns of quality of study abroad?

Who is involved in Generation Study Abroad?

Why are you involving the private sector in an initiative involving higher education?

Why is IIE looking for foreign partners?

Why should U.S. higher education institutions join Generation Study Abroad? What does IIE bring to the table?

How can U.S. higher education institutions help meet the Generation Study Abroad goals, beyond just increasing their own numbers?

Is there a component of Generation Study Abroad that will involve students and educate parents on the ins and outs of study abroad?

How can teachers get involved?


Q: Who benefits from Generation Study Abroad and how?

A: We all do. Study abroad enables today’s students—future leaders from all backgrounds in all sectors—to gain access to international experiences that will better prepare them to be global citizens. Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures will be essential for all careers, be they in business, manufacturing, engineering, government, academia or not-for-profit. With hundreds of thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world, employers will be able to hire the workers they need. Hopefully, these global thinkers will emphasize the importance of global experience in college and earlier, creating a cumulative effect of change within our society, which must recognize that we are not alone. We share the world and its problems, and we cannot solve them on our own. Global problems require the global exchange of knowledge to forge solutions through international dialogue and collaboration. Generation Study Abroad will benefit many more beyond those who study abroad.

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Q: Why should students study abroad?

A: Globalization is changing the way the world works, and employers are under strong pressure to find employees who have both technical knowledge, and the “soft skills” such as critical thinking, problem solving, time management and communication, deemed necessary for success in a global workforce. Study abroad is one of the best ways students can acquire global skills and open up personal and professional opportunities. In addition, study abroad has been shown to improve college graduate and retention rates. Studies show students who study abroad have better grades, experience less attrition and graduate from college at higher rates than students who do not study abroad.

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Q: What are the most common obstacles to study abroad and how will Generation Study Abroad address them?

A: Obstacles that keep more students from studying abroad fall into three major categories: cost, curriculum and culture. Generation Study Abroad will work with educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to identify meaningful, innovative action to address the issues of cost and curriculum so that hundreds of thousands more college students will be able to go abroad. The initiative will build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities—including academic study abroad programs, internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences—to those who are not currently taking part in study abroad. Further, we believe that Generation Study Abroad will have the most direct impact on culture. By creating and leading a coalition of diverse yet likeminded players, Generation Study Abroad plans to effect change on a national scale so that study abroad will eventually be viewed as—and become—an essential component of the college experience. Generation Study Abroad will work to change the mindset so that the question is not whether a student will study abroad, but rather when and how.

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Q: Is your goal to double realistic? Is it achievable in five years?

A: Our goal is ambitious, but we believe that leaders in education, business and government can work together to double the number of U.S. college students studying abroad. By March 3, the official launch date of Generation Study Abroad, IIE had identified more than 150 lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal and significantly expand study abroad opportunities.

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Q: How does Generation Study Abroad plan to address the lack of diversity in study abroad?

A: We need to address the problem head on. Despite an increase in the overall number of students taking part in study abroad, the proportion of African-American, Hispanic and Native American students in the study abroad population has remained virtually the same over the past decade. Generation Study Abroad has made increasing diversity a major platform in its call to action as it seeks partners to work not only on increasing the numbers but also in changing the perception of study abroad. When it comes to traveling overseas, many students focus on the reasons not to go. According to college administrators, concern about affordability tops the list of reasons students decide not to study abroad. But additional barriers include fear and racism, worries about delayed graduation and few role models—either family or faculty—who have traveled abroad. Increasing racial and ethnic diversity in study abroad will require an effort to persuade students that going abroad is both possible and necessary.

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Q: Will Generation Study Abroad address concerns of quality of study abroad?

A: An increase in study abroad participation will require continued attention to the quality of study abroad experiences. This includes outcomes and assessments, health and safety, and adequate pre-departure training of faculty, staff, and students. Commitment partners who join Generation Study Abroad will have available tools and resources on best practices in education abroad, including access to the Forum on Education Abroad and opportunities to network and learn from each other.

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Q: Who is involved in Generation Study Abroad?

A: IIE is seeking to identify at least 500 U.S. colleges and universities willing to either double the number of their students studying abroad, or significantly increase the participation rate of students who study abroad at some point during their undergraduate career. As of the launch date, more than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states, along with higher education associations, study abroad provider organizations, several foreign institutions or government agencies, and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, have already joined the Generation Study Abroad Commitment and pledged to support its goals. As the initiative expands over the next five years, the plan is to involve students, parents, teachers and employers as well.

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Q: Why are you involving the private sector in an initiative involving higher education?

A: IIE is seeking involvement from the private sector to sponsor scholarships, offer international internships and to take a public stand in support of study abroad as a critical component for tomorrow’s workforce. By combining forces, we can work together to address the skills identified as necessary to work in the 21st global marketplace. Employers cite the following skills gained while studying abroad as relevant to today’s global workers: cross-cultural awareness, which is critical to diverse teams; the ability to bring global thinking skills to bear on complex issues; language skills needed in a multilingual world; and a predisposition to and experience with global mobility.

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Q: Why is IIE looking for foreign partners?

A: Foreign governments, as well as higher education institutions and private organizations in other countries, share in our goal of providing an international experience to U.S. students, and furthering the relationship between their countries and the United States by making more educational connections. By increasing the number of scholarships and placements offered to study in a particular country, more U.S. students will be able to pursue studies and language skills in select countries.

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Q: Why should U.S. higher education institutions join Generation Study Abroad? What does IIE bring to the table?

A: We believe that it will take a lot more than the existing study abroad community increasing participation at the margins to dramatically increase the number of students who go abroad. It will take major change, and the involvement of educators, funders, employers and communities to reach this ambitious goal. Being a part of a larger initiative will provide networks and the resources to support the goals of campuses that would like to increase student participation in study abroad. Building on its nearly 100 years of commitment to study abroad, IIE will lead the Generation Study Abroad coalition in raising awareness of the need for students to gain language and cultural skills, identifying and breaking down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, sharing strategies and best practices to increase study abroad, and mobilizing financial resources.

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Q: How can U.S. higher education institutions help meet the Generation Study Abroad goals, beyond just increasing their own numbers?

A: Institutions can further the goals of Generation Study Abroad in many ways: First, by sharing best practices so others can learn how to implement programs that help more students study abroad. Second, by creating a culture on campus that values study abroad across all majors and, eventually makes study abroad a core component of the college experience. Third, by spreading the word about the importance of study abroad with faculty, parents, high schools and the larger community. We recognize that it will take time, resources and a perceptual shift to overcome barriers and bring about such change. We will need to work together.

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Q: Is there a component of Generation Study Abroad that will involve students and educate parents on the ins and outs of study abroad?

A: Generation Study Abroad is designed as a five-year initiative because it’s going to take significant time and effort to effect change. Generation Study Abroad will roll out specific actions for how students and parents can get involved in the coming year. In the meantime, we encourage everyone who’s interested in the topic of study abroad to check out IIE’s recent publication, A Student Guide to Study Abroad, a practical how-to guide written in a fun and engaging style that includes 100 easy-to-follow tips and dozens of real-life stories; to subscribe to receive Generation Study Abroad updates via our website; and to follow #generationstudyabroad on Twitter and Facebook for news and announcements.

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Q: How can teachers get involved?

A: We encourage primary and secondary school teachers to get involved by talking to their students about study abroad and the importance of learning languages and experiencing other cultures, so that by the time they go to college they will expect to take part in a study abroad program. Teachers who are interested in getting international experience to bring back to their classrooms can subscribe to IIE’s Global Opportunities for Teachers newsletter. Generation Study Abroad will roll out specific actions for how teachers can get involved in the coming year. In the meantime, they can subscribe to receive Generation Study Abroad updates via our website, and follow #generationstudyabroad on Twitter and Facebook for news and announcements.

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