Building on the Momentum of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad

by Lindsay Calvert, IIENetwork Lead (previously Generation Study Abroad Lead)

While study abroad has essentially been on pause throughout the last year – and all things related to mobility remain uncertain – the desire to keep study abroad alive has never stopped. The International Education field stands ready with contingency plans for their programs and partners, and students eagerly await the reopening of transformative international experiences. As study abroad resumes, we will need to be as innovative as ever, drawing upon what we’ve learned from the past and dreaming up new ways to engage students for the future.

IIE is committed to rebuilding, reinventing, and reimagining study abroad. In 2014, we launched the Generation Study Abroad (GSA) initiative, which provided a space for the international education community to mobilize resources and make a commitment to the goal of increasing and diversifying the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. GSA Commitment Partners joined the initiative by committing to bold, ambitious actions in support of study abroad on their campuses or at their organizations. The campaign became a global movement, forming the 800+ strong GSA Commitment Partner network representing a variety of U.S.-based and international partners, including national governments, higher education institutions (HEIs), study abroad organizations, education associations, and more.

In 2020, at the conclusion of the five-year initiative, we took stock of Generation Study Abroad with our final annual progress survey for GSA Commitment Partners. The survey tracked progress toward goals, best practices, and the implementation of effective activities and resources for the network. The newly published report, A Commitment to Building a Global Generation: The Five-Year Impact of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative, highlights key programmatic efforts and partner achievements framed by an analysis of data collected over the life of the initiative. Below is the GSA impact at-a-glance.

One pager with Generation Study Abroad impact statics

IIE is grateful to the partners that contributed to the achievements of GSA on their campuses and programs, and in their respective countries and communities around the world. We celebrate all GSA Commitment Partners and look forward to recognizing the 2020 IIE Seal of Excellence honorees – joining the more than 100 U.S. institutions that reached their GSA pledge goals during the initiative.

The work to increase participation and access, equity and diversity is not yet done. There is much more to strive for as we continue to address challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and strive to combat the issues of systemic racism. IIE remains committed to the spirit of Generation Study Abroad and continuing to champion study abroad in a way that is responsive to a changing environment. We will continue to leverage our global network, philanthropic efforts, and data-driven learning to support study abroad and international education. Using all that we have learned from the GSA initiative, IIE supports reigniting our collective effort to advance diversity, inclusion, access and equity in study abroad.

IIE welcomes our GSA Commitment Partners and study abroad advocates to continue building on the momentum of Generation Study Abroad.

  • Join the IIENetwork – IIE’s global membership network, providing resources and knowledge-sharing, connecting, and engaging with more than 10,000 professionals from 1,500 institutions and organizations.
  • Support the IIE American Passport Project – IIE will soon announce the 40 institution recipients of this new grant, awarding 1,000 Pell grant-eligible, freshman students to receive their U.S. passport and support their study abroad journey.
  • Access the Generation Study Abroad hub – The GSA website will continue to be updated providing study abroad resources and information.

Stay connected with IIE in our collective effort to advance diversity, inclusion, access and equity for the next #generationstudyabroad.