Generation Study Abroad | Resources | Teachers


The Institute of International Education (IIE) and American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation has awarded $50,000 in professional development grants to 50 teachers and school administrators from 27 states and the District of Columbia who have successfully integrated global perspectives and exchanges into their classrooms.

The announcement comes on the heels of a new milestone in the Generation Study Abroad initiative: 1,000 K-12 teachers and administrators have pledged to advocate for study abroad by exposing students to international experiences and global perspectives in preparing for their college careers. The teachers and administrators will use the IIE AIFS Foundation Generation Study Abroad Enrichment Grants to advance collaborations with university study abroad offices, share best practices for globalizing the classroom with colleagues, expand or create new exchange programs with K-12 schools abroad, and advance their own professional development.

For a full list of the winners, please see our official press release.

We are pleased to present some of our awardees’ stories below:


Sarah Breckley
Reedsburg Area High School
Reedsburg, WI

Innovative activity: Implemented a variety of interventions to close the achievement gap and to insure that all students feel worthy to travel abroad. Among them are ensuring that all students have equal access to high-quality lessons and daily technology use, taking cultural field trips, traveling abroad during the summer break, and using WeSpeke to foster new friendships with native speakers from all over the Hispanic world.
Impact: As part of her classroom’s cultural outreach efforts, Breckley's students engage elementary school students through language lessons. Further, students are taught the importance of philanthropy through volunteer abroad trips.
Grade(s) taught: 9-12

“Every minute a student spends in my class must give purpose to language learning, value to different cultures, and hope for the future. Therefore, we travel as much as possible, and create travel simulations in class in the meantime. These practices lead to a love for exploration and build a bridge to future study abroad experiences.”


Jennifer Bevill
University Laboratory School
Baton Rouge, LA

Innovative activity: Conducted a virtual exchange between her class of high school students and high school students in Japan at Odori High School. Both schools collaborated on "The Peace Project" to relate to each other and create understanding between both groups. The program culminated in 23 students visiting Japan. Bevill also finds high schools worldwide to collaborate with and organizes a class trip to the international school. Through this effort, she has taken students to South Africa, Peru, and Greece, and is currently creating virtual exchanges with schools in New Zealand, Belize, and Australia.
Impact: The Peace Project, along with her other student excursions, has positively impacted her entire school, further fostering an environment of cultural curiosity through study abroad.
Grade(s) taught: 10-12

“My impact of discussing my travels, sharing images and videos, students’ experiences, and leading trips for students is evident through the percentage who have decided to study abroad in college. Of the students I have brought abroad that are in college about 70% have studied abroad and more intend to when they reach their sophomore and junior year in college.”


Ronald Eisenman
Rutland High School
Rutland, VT

Innovative activity: Serves as his school’s coordinator for the Experiment in International Living, which involves arranging information sessions, assisting students with their applications, and serving as an advisor for participating students.
Impact: Nearly 300 students annually attend Eisenman’s study abroad presentations, and the program sends between three and six students abroad each year.
Grade(s) taught: 9-12

“Even if a student does not participate in the program, they have learned about the process of studying abroad.  Through my strong advocacy for study abroad, I have gained a school-wide reputation for being a leader in international studies.”


Koura Gibson,
JP Sousa Middle School
Washington, DC

Innovative activity: Started an African awareness club at her school called Club Afrique.
Impact: Club Afrique members have participated in trips to Senegal, Gabon, Egypt, and Gambia, as well as Mediterranean European countries and Central America.
Grade(s) taught: 6-8

“I believe that traveling at a young age is a rite of passage into adulthood. I am convinced that a global field experience is invaluable for inner city youths. The majority of the children who I travel with are poor and underserved. I strongly believe that it is extremely important that poor students be afforded the same opportunity to travel outside of their worlds and communities to better enhance their horizons as their more affluent peers.”


Jim Goodspeed
Fulton High School
Middleton, MI

Innovative activity: Manages an exchange between his school and a school in northeast Germany.
Impact: The exchange program has had a ripple effect on dozens of past participants who continue to forge international relations, including with their former host families, and seek out new endeavors to create new interpersonal networks in both the Midwest and in Germany. Further, since the school in Germany is in a city that has recently received Syrian refugees, a greater discussion about immigration, the refugee crisis, and xenophobia has been started in the classroom and has led to better cultural understanding of Middle Eastern countries and cultures.
Grade(s) taught: 10, 12

“This grant will be very important in helping me to foster this program and also the bigger idea of studying abroad for students beyond their high school years. I am a believer in, and I am committed to, the idea of having Fulton students participate in study abroad.”


Maeve Hitzenbuhler
Westborough Public Schools
Westborough, MA

Innovative activity: Organizes trips to China with her students and also develops curricula that creates avenues to more fully integrate Muslim ESL students into her school community and that give the general student population insight into new culture and history.
Impact: Her study abroad alumni have built lasting relationships with Chinese students that have enabled them to develop understanding of and friendships with international citizens. As part of this experience, these students help edit Hitzenbuhler’s Global Issues course to include topical issues facing China today that they learned about during the their trip. Students also serve as guest speakers in history classrooms and promote intercultural activities on campus.
Grade(s) taught: K-12

“I will use the award to travel with GEEO (Global Explorations for Educators) to Turkey to better understand culture of Turkey's predominant Muslim population.”


Victoria Merriweather
Paul Public Charter School
Washington, DC

Innovative activity: Accompanied students Zambia where they planted nearly 200 trees with an organization called Green Pop, taught lessons at a small school called Daughter’s Vision, and performed with a performance group called Africa Directions to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.
Impact: Students shared their experiences with faculty, staff, and students and are now advocates for other students to study abroad to gain a broader learning experience. One of those students is now slated to study abroad in Venezuela and has recruited several other students to follow suit.
Grade(s) taught: 9

“Recruitment for the Zambia trip was challenging because many of our students have never traveled further than the states that border our city let alone internationally. I first brought in my own travel experiences through videos, photos and blogs. Then I reached out to PeaceCorps representative and friends who had lived in Africa to talk to my students one on one. Finally, I found students willing to take the risk. I took special care to prepare them by discussing culture shock and the issues we would be helping grassroots organizations tackle.”


Nate Pietrini
Hawthorne Scholastic Academy
Chicago, IL

Innovative activity: Created a global curriculum program, L.I.T.E. (Learning through International Travel Experiences) that emphasizes a global curriculum dedicated to making his students global citizens. The unique L.I.T.E student trips, which will take place over Spring Break, are designed to deliver a lifetime of global awareness and readiness for success.
Impact: The anticipated impact of the L.I.T.E. program is that students will learn beyond the classroom, explore culturally-rich international cities, and connect with new friends and contacts.
Grade(s) taught:[Principal – K-8]

“Students that have a diverse understanding of cultures will have a stronger sense of who they are, while becoming more flexible regarding their assumptions. Students who experience L.I.T.E. and become global citizens will return to their culture and be more motivated to contribute to their own education and learn to show respect for social norms that are different from their own. “

[Fellow awardee and Hawthorne faculty member Ryan Streit (left) with Principal Nate Pietrini]


Lauren Piner
South Central High School
Winterville, NC

Innovative activity: Created cross-cultural lesson plans, partners with two teachers in Poland to lead discussions about the effects of globalization among their students, and designed (along with three other teachers) an interactive world map in the school’s hallway that includes all the places they have traveled in an effort to get students interested in places beyond their own communities.
Impact: A group of 20 students in Piner's Title 1 school will be traveling to Italy and Greece for Spring Break 2016; for most of them this will be their first flight and their first time out of the state of North Carolina.
Grade(s) taught: 9-12

“Since I teach in a Title I school in an impoverished part of Eastern North Carolina, it is very difficult for many of my students to grasp the vast richness of the world; even areas that are simply out of our county, as many have never ventured beyond those county lines. I bring in as many different student perspectives as possible, use my colleagues as resources, and my own travel experiences to pique their interests in my curriculum, as well as their own goals and dreams.”


Pren Woods
Alston Middle School
Summerville, SC

Innovative activity: Created and hosts an international coffee hour as well as an “International Teen Corner” which engages international citizens at nearby colleges, local businesses, and students’ parents to share and discuss international cultures.
Impact: Students and their parents have become interested in discussing future study abroad opportunities, attendance at the sessions has increased exponentially, and host families for a future exchange program have been secured.
Grade(s) taught: 7

“That this well-attended event happens on a Saturday and it is totally a volunteer basis, with no incentive to come, shows me that our students care about being globally minded and connected. The next step for me as a classroom teacher is to teach students about passports, visas, and living in another culture. I had done all of this before, but now with this international coffee hour exposure, students understand my urgency for them to travel/study abroad more concretely.”

IIE logo   Generation Study Abroad logo   AIFS Foundation logo

Thank you for supporting Generation Study Abroad!

There are many resources available to help teachers bring the world to their classroom and get their students to begin to explore going abroad themselves. We hope that the links and resources below serve as a starting point. Please use them in your classroom and share them with students, parents, and teachers in your school and communities.

Generation Study Abroad Materials

Internationalize Classrooms

Study Abroad Stories

Professional Development

Local Global Connections

Webinar Series

Generation Study Abroad Materials

Resources available to use to create awareness in and out of the classroom:

back to top

Internationalize Classrooms

Check out the valuable tools available by Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partners to help internationalize the classroom:

  • How global is your community? The Asia Society's interactive project Mapping the Nation, makes the case for a globally competent workforce and citizenry.
  • The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction. Check out their bookstore for great ideas and resources for your classroom as well as their Lead with Languages campaign.
  • Reach the World cultivates relationships between young students and volunteer world travelers through an innovative program of online journalism and face-to-face interactions. RTW provides direct programming to school, afterschool and summer school sites in New York City, and online programming to sites nationwide.

back to top

Study Abroad Stories

Share first-hand testimonials of study abroad alumni with your school:

back to top

Professional Development

Professional development opportunities for teachers to have an international experience:

back to top

Local Global Connections

Take your class on a trip to a local international organization, host an exchange student, or take a group of kids abroad:

back to top

Webinar Series

How to Find K–12 Partners Abroad

What are some ways to develop international partners for your classroom? Please join us on April 14, 7 pm EDT, for a live discussion and webinar on developing partners that can lead to cross-cultural projects within your classroom and international travel beyond the classroom. Offered in partnership with Asia Society, we will provide tips for getting started as well as what to look for in a partnership in order to best fit your classroom and student needs.

Register today

Related Links

back to top

Asia Society Logo   National Geographic Logo   ACTFL: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Logo

Photo: Amy Teachout EgyptThere are many ways in which teachers and administrators can expand awareness of study abroad in the school community. These range from creating a passport day, inviting a study abroad student into the classroom, to working with the school district—all of which is needed to shift the paradigm of study abroad as an essential part of a college education.

The Institute has put together a list of suggested actions to support teachers and administrators to expand awareness of study abroad. Teachers and administrators are welcome to use these ideas and also to be creative and put together their own innovative actions. We hope that you will share back your stories so that others may be inspired by your success.

  • Host an information session for parents/students/administrators on study abroad in college
  • Host an exchange student or teacher and promote the importance of the cross-cultural experience within the community
  • Share your own study abroad experience with other teachers and students through a video or photo montage, making the case for how it made a difference in your personal and professional life
  • Make a presentation to administrators or school board about the importance of preparing high school students to study abroad in college
  • Reach out to guidance counselors to make study abroad part of the common assumption for high school students—success is graduating from high school, going to college and studying abroad.
  • Go on local-global study abroad opportunities with other teachers and students, e.g., field trip to Model UN, virtual exchange
  • Create a direct and ongoing links with alumni who have studied abroad.

Looking for more suggestions? Download IIE's Ideas for Pledge Actions (1.95 MB, PDF).

How are you encouraging your students to be globally-engaged? Share your story and inspire other teachers!

There are many ways to share your story—through video, photos, and written essays—and grow the Generation Study Abroad conversation.

There are many teachers and administrators who already are doing great things to encourage their students to become globally engaged. A map of those who have already pledged and profiles of some teachers can be found below.

Photo: Daniel Antonelli

Teacher: Daniel Antonelli
Title: Music Teacher, Grades 9-12
School: Global Learning Collaborative
Location: New York City Department of Education, New York City, New York
View Daniel's profile (311 KB, PDF)

Photo: Jennifer Bevil Teacher Story

Teacher: Jennifer Bevill
Title: Multimedia Production (Informational Technology), Grades 10-12
School:Louisiana State University Laboratory School
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
View Jennifer's profile (322 KB, PDF)

Annette Bindert Teacher Story

Teacher: Annette Bindert
Title: Humanities Teacher, 6th Grade
School: The 30th Avenue School
Location: Astoria, New York
View Annette's profile (415 KB, PDF)

Merinda Davis Teacher Stories

Teacher: Merinda Davis
Title: World Geography, 9th Grade
School: Lakeridge Jr. High School
Location: Orem, Utah
View Merinda's profile (385 KB, PDF)

Photo: Craig Divis Teacher Story

Teacher: Craig Divis
Title: Social Studies Teacher
2011-2012 Fulbright Distinguished Teacher
School: Bellows Falls Union High School
Location: Bellows Falls, Vermont
View Craig's profile (323 KB, PDF)

Jan Eklund Teacher Stories

Teacher: Jan Eklund
Title: Russian Teacher
School: Glastonbury High School
Location: Glastonbury, Connecticut
View Jan's profile (476 KB, PDF)

Calan Gibney Teacher Story

Teacher: Calan Gibney
Title: Health, P.E. and IB Sport, Exercise & Health Science Teacher, Grades 9-12
School: Aspen High School
Location: Aspen, Colorado
View Calan's profile (317 KB, PDF)

Meredith Hanson

Teacher: Meredith Hanson
Title: Instructor, Japanese Language Village
School: Concordia Language Villages
Location: Dent, Minnesota
View Meredith's Profile (145 KB, PDF)

Photo: Julie Alice Huson Teacher Story

Teacher: Julie Alice Huson
Location: San Rafael City Schools, San Rafael, California
View Julie's profile (467 KB, PDF)

Photo: Sandra Knight Teacher Story

Teacher: Sandra Knight
Title: Spanish Teacher, Grades 8-12
School: West Greene Middle-Senior High School
Location: Rogersville, Pennsylvania
View Sandra's profile (140 KB, PDF)

Sara Krakauer

Teacher: Sara Krakauer
Title: Social Studies, Grades 5-6
School: Innovation Academy Charter School
Location: Tyngsboro, Massachusetts
View Sara's profile (304 KB, PDF)

Kate Krotzer & Paula Sierra Teacher Story

Teachers: Kate Krotzer & Paula Sierra
Title: Spanish Teachers
School: Hebron Avenue and Eastbury Schools
Location: Glastonbury, Connecticut
View Kate and Paula's profile (334 KB, PDF)

Jennifer Montgomery Teacher Story

Teacher: Jennifer Montgomery
Title: E-magineer
School: Eminence Independent Schools
Location: Eminence, Kentucky
View Jennifer's profile (349 KB, PDF)

Molly Murphy Teacher Photo

Teacher: Molly Murphy
Title: Spanish Teacher
School: Smith Middle School
Location: Glastonbury, Connecticut
View Molly's profile (390 KB, PDF)

Brad Parker Teacher Story

Teacher: Brad Parker
Title: International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Coordinator
School: Locke Elementary School
Location: Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois
View Brad's profile (387 KB, PDF)

Kathleen Priceman Teacher Stories

Teacher: Kathleen Priceman
Title: Spanish Immersion Teacher, 4th Grade
School: Lincoln Elementary
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
View Kathleen's profile (339 KB, PDF)

Photo: John Rook Teacher Story

Teacher: John Rook
Title: Foreign Language Teacher
School: Smith Middle School
Location: Glastonbury, Connecticut
View John's profile (395 KB, PDF)

Reed Scott Schwalbach Teacher Stories

Teacher: Reed Scott-Schwalbach
Title: Spanish Teacher, Grades 9-12
School: Centennial High School
Location: Gresham, Oregon
View Reed's profile (221 KB, PDF)

Patrica Silvey Teacher Stories

Teacher: Patricia Silvey
Title: Spanish/FLES Teacher
School: Hopewell Elementary School
Location: Glastonbury, Conneticut
View Patricia's profile (337 KB, PDF)

Ryan Smith Teacher Story

Teacher: Ryan Smith
Title: English Language Arts Teacher, 10th & 12th Grade
School: Cardinal Newman High School
Location: Santa Rosa, California
View Ryan's profile (333 KB, PDF)

Patricia Thornton Teacher Story

Teacher: Patricia Thornton
Title: World Languages and Cultures, Grades K-12
School: Concordia Language Villages
Location: Bemidji, Minnesota
View Patricia's profile (433 KB, PDF)

James Wildman Teacher Stories

Teacher: James Wildman
Title: Spanish Teacher
School: Glastonbury High School
Location: Glastonbury, Connecticut
View James' profile (175 KB, PDF)

Dr. Dafna Zur & Jeehun Kim Teacher Story

Teachers: Dr. Dafna Zur & Jeehun Kim
Title: Language Teachers, Grades K-12
School: Concordia Language Village
Location: Bemidji, Minnesota
View Dafna and Jeehun's profile (392 KB, PDF)

Teachers inspire curiosity about the world, teach all subjects through a global lens, take students on exchange programs, and encourage students to continue their language learning in college.

That is why the Institute is setting a target to identify at least 1,000 teachers who pledge to make their students aware of study abroad. Teachers are powerful motivators when it comes to encouraging students to pursue any and all types of global study be it through a classroom project in second grade or on a study abroad program in college.

Building a pipeline for study abroad will be necessary to achieve our goal of doubling study abroad by the end of the decade. We aspire to making “international” part of every student’s experience.

Teachers who make a pledge and take action are eligible for the following:

  • Resources and tools for the classroom
  • Subscription to IIE’s Global Opportunities for Teachers newsletter and Commitment Partner news.
  • Invitation to attend webinars on how to engage administrators/students/parents & how to increase global education in your school and school districts.
  • Invitation to connect to more than 300 partners in the Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partner Network to share expertise, challenges, and to advance the conversation.
  • E-book license for A Student Guide to Study Abroad for one year
  • Eligible for incentive grants/awards to outstanding Generation Study Abroad Teachers who promote study abroad awareness in schools
  • Invitation to participate in the annual Generation Study Abroad Summit, which brings all commitment partners together to drive change.

I am on board with Generation Study Abroad!

I pledge to:

  • Be an advocate for study abroad and to prepare my students to become global citizens.
  • Be an advocate for study abroad and reflect on how I as a teacher am a global citizens
  • Incorporate a global perspective into my teaching inside and outside the classroom
  • Share my own personal travel/study abroad experiences, as appropriate
    • As part of my pledge, I agree to undertake actions, share back activities and accomplishments so that IIE may share my successes with other educators.

Ex: Jane Doe
Ex: Abraham Lincoln High School
Ex: New York
Ex: District 13
What subject(s) do you teach?


Legal Disclaimer

I agree to receive periodic emails from IIE regarding my pledge. IIE is a not-for-profit corporation focused on advancing international education and access to education worldwide (our “Mission”). The pledge is designed, and all uses of it are intended, to be in furtherance of our Mission. Pledge information, including name, school and subject, study abroad experience, may be used for promotional and reporting activities.

© 2016 Institute of International Education, Inc. All rights reserved.