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About the Initiative

Photo: Gilman participant Fernando Torres in Thailand

“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century resume.” – Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO, IIE

Studying abroad is one of the best ways American college students can acquire international experience necessary to succeed in today’s global marketplace. 

According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange, 295,000 American college students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. While that may sound like a lot, it in fact represents less than 10% of the 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year.

Generation Study AbroadTM seeks to address that shortfall by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities to tens of thousands of college students for whom traditional study abroad programs aren’t working.  

Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative of the Institute of International Education (IIE) to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. IIE is investing $2 million in the initiative and seeking funds to provide scholarships to college and high school students and grants to institutions. The initiative, which is timed to coincide with IIE’s centennial in 2019, will highlight IIE’s commitment to study abroad and encourage purposeful, innovative action to get more Americans to undertake a meaningful international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning, and non-credit educational experiences.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the exchange of people and ideas. For close to 100 years, we have led efforts to expand opportunities for Americans to study abroad, including our flagship program, The Fulbright Program, on behalf of the U.S. government. We believe that peace and prosperity in the 21st century depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis. As technology opens borders, educational and professional exchanges open minds.

August, 14 2014

How Would You Redefine Study Abroad?

August, 9 2014

HU Joins Institute of International Education Coalition to Double Number of Study Abroad Students

August, 6 2014

The GREEN Program Brings Students to the Best Places to Study Sustainability, Including Philadelphia

August, 4 2014

Greenheart Travel Joins Coalition to Double Number of Students Who Study Abroad by 2020

July, 14 2014

Aggies: Democracy Ambassadors At Home And Abroad

July, 12 2014

JJC to Join Generation Study Abroad Initiative

July, 8 2014

CLU Pledges to Increase Study Abroad

July, 3 2014

UNL Joins Initiative Aimed at Increasing Study-Abroad Participation

June 11, 2014

ISU Intends to Double Number of Students Studying Abroad

June 3, 2014

UH to Launch ‘Passport for Coogs’ Initiative

June 3, 2014

Peralta’s International Education Office Joins Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative

May 22, 2014

Media Advisory: WFU Pledges to Increase Study Abroad Participation

May 20, 2014

Study Abroad Europe Joins Institute of International Education Coalition to Double Number of Students Who Study Abroad by End of Decade

May 14, 2014

EF College Study Tours: Our GSA Commitment

May 7, 2014

OIE Signs on to Pledge, Raises Study Abroad Goal to 60 Percent

April 23, 2014

UCEAP Joins IIE Coalition to Double Number of Students Who Study Abroad by End of Decade

April 14, 2014

Provost Approves Scholarship Fund to Strengthen Study Abroad Participation

April 4, 2014

WMU Joins National Initiative to Increase Study Abroad Enrollment

April 4, 2014

Studying Abroad Could Give You An Edge in the Job Market

March 31, 2014

Troy University wants to increase number of students studying abroad

March 25, 2014

SIUE Becomes Institute of International Education Partner

March 23, 2014

FSU Pushes for More Students Abroad

March 21, 2014

Lander Commits to Expand its Study Abroad Program for Students

March 21, 2014

The University as a Partner, Not a Competitor

March 15, 2014

New York Times: Go West, Young People! And East!

March 13, 2014

The Times Higher Education: Campaign Aims To Double Number of US Students Studying Abroad

March 12, 2014

Low-income Students May Be Given The Chance To Study Abroad Affordably

March 11, 2014

CNN: Why Study Abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

March 9, 2014

Bergen Signs National Study Abroad Pact

March 9, 2014

St. Cloud State Plans to Double Students Studying Abroad

March 6, 2014

Voice of America: More US Students Need to Study Abroad, Says Higher Ed Group

March 6, 2014

SCSU Strives to Double Number of Study Abroad Students

March 4, 2014

W&M joins Institute of International Education Coalition

March 3, 2014

Associated Press: Group Seeks To Double Number Of US Students Abroad

    This article also appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Fox News and many other TV, Radio and Print news outlets

March 3, 2014

Professionals in International Education: IIE Commits US $2m to Double US Students Abroad

March 3, 2014

Huffington Post: What Will It Take to Increase Study Abroad?

March 3, 2014

Inside Higher Ed: ‘Generation Study Abroad’

March 3, 2014

The Chronicle of Higher Education: More Than 150 Colleges Pledge to Increase Study-Abroad Efforts

March 3, 2014

CBS News: Institute Urging Students to Study Abroad

March 3, 2014

CU-Boulder Joins National Pledge to Double Study Abroad by 2020

March 3, 2014

Miami a Member of Generation Study Abroad

March 3, 2014

Can U.S. Double the Number of Students Studying Abroad? 3 NJ Colleges Join Campaign

March 3, 2014

U of M Pledges to Increase Study Abroad Scholarships

March 2, 2014

Purdue Calumet Joins Study Abroad Initiative

In addition to securing the participation of 600,000 students overall by the end of the decade, Generation Study Abroad seeks to build a coalition of and secure commitments from:

  • 500 institutions who pledge to significantly expand study abroad.
  • 10 institutions who require study abroad.
  • 10,000 alumni and students joining the initiative.
  • 1,000 high school teachers who pledge to make their students aware of study abroad.
  • External financial support for study abroad.

Bringing together institutions, students, alumni, teachers, and other stakeholders, together will be necessary to ensure that study abroad will be viewed as a necessity, rather than a luxury, for all college students and an essential component of a college degree in the 21st century. We recognize this shift in perception will take time, but it is critical if America is to remain a leader in innovation and competiveness in the 21st century.   

The initiative will take a broad view of the term “study abroad” and incorporate both credit and non- credit activities at the undergraduate and graduate level.

For the purposes of Generation Study Abroad, the Forum on Education Abroad’s definition is used:  “Education that occurs outside the participant’s home country. Besides study abroad, examples include  such international experiences as work, volunteering, non-credit internships, and directed travel, as  long as these programs are driven to a significant degree by learning goals.”

Generation Study Abroad: Core Themes

IIE will lead the Generation Study Abroad coalition in creating an ongoing dialogue about the need for students to gain international experience, identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, share strategies  on how to get young people and their families to consider study abroad earlier in life, and mobilize additional financial resources. 

  • Awareness & Advocacy: Conduct a proactive media and outreach campaign, and issue a public call to action to increase study abroad; engage new audiences in the commitment; and build a pipeline for college study abroad.
  • Research & Recognition: A significant part of Generation Study Abroad will focus on enhancing data collection efforts to better track study abroad and motivations for study abroad, and recognize colleges and universities for outstanding efforts in study abroad. In particular, Generation Study Abroad will focus on expanding efforts for data collection on non-credit and graduate study abroad and conduct further research and awareness into duration, diversity and destinations of programs. 
  • Advice & Training: Publish and make available study abroad resources to support U.S. higher education institutions in expanding study abroad capacity.
    For example, The Forum on Education Abroad will make available to Generation Study Abroad partners an exclusive version of its Quality Improvement Program (QUIP) to provide partners with strategies to meet their goals for increasing the number of their study abroad students.
  • Scholarships & Grants: Establish an IIE Study Abroad Fund to reduce financial barriers and create pathways to study abroad.


IIE will launch a Generation Study Abroad Dashboard and report on progress each year in its annual report
In addition to tracking commitments by those who have pledged, IIE will assess the overall efforts to double the numbers against the 2019 Open Doors Report

The Institute will publish and make available its research findings and convene annual gatherings for commitment partners and other interested stakeholders to determine if and how far the dialogue on study abroad has been recast as an integral part of education on the national stage.

As the first step in bringing stakeholders from different sectors together to achieve large-scale change, IIE convened a one-day Think Tank on March 12 on what it will take to double study abroad, gathering invited leaders from the public, private and educational sectors at its New York headquarters. The community is invited to view the “green paper” documenting the outcomes of that discussion and offer comments and new ideas, through September 1. IIE will publish the paper this fall, with the addition of input from readers.

© 2014 Institute of International Education, Inc. All rights reserved.