15,000+ U.S. College Students Pledge to #GoStudyAbroad

Campaign reaches nearly 4 million online; Exposes students to study abroad benefits and resources, and provides insight into what keeps them from studying abroad

NEW YORK, NY, May 5, 2016 – More than 15,000 students answered the call to #GoStudyAbroad by applying to win study abroad scholarships and travel prizes sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE), AIFS Study Abroad, CET Academic Programs, Go Overseas, IFSA-Butler and STA Travel. #GoStudyAbroad was the first alumni-to-student engagement campaign of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad, a five year initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The campaign galvanized 3,300 study abroad alumni to encourage their mentees and friends to study overseas by sharing stories about their own study abroad experiences. Four students were selected to receive study abroad scholarships and five study abroad alumni received travel prizes for nominating students to enter the campaign. In addition, the #GoStudyAbroad campaign reached nearly 4 million people across Twitter and Instagram.

IIE and its campaign partners, AIFS Study Abroad, CET Academic Programs, Go Overseas, IFSA-Butler, and STA Travel, launched #GoStudyAbroad to activate the vast network of study abroad alumni who can encourage current students to make plans to study abroad in college. Post-study abroad surveys and reports show that college students who studied abroad are hired more quickly after graduation with higher starting salaries, more likely to land jobs in their fields, and less likely to be unemployed five years after graduation. Yet, only about one in 10 undergraduates studies abroad before graduating, and minority and STEM students account for less than a third of those who go abroad.

“IIE launched #GoStudyAbroad with a simple, but important question for everyone who’s ever studied abroad: Imagine how different your life would be if you’d never studied abroad, then imagine the impact going abroad could have on a friend’s life if you convinced her or him to study overseas, too,” said Daniel Obst, IIE’s Deputy Vice President for International Partnerships in Higher Education. “Mentors, campus leaders, faculty and relatives are best positioned to motivate students who wouldn’t normally consider studying abroad to do so.”

Results from the campaign also provide insight into why American college students do not study abroad, and what can be done to increase the number and diversity of students who opt to study overseas. Nearly 85% of the students who entered the #GoStudyAbroad contest said that high cost was the biggest obstacle to studying abroad and about half of the students do not have any family members who’ve traveled abroad before. See the campaign winners here.

Travis Durgan, a junior engineering major at Michigan Tech University, will have the opportunity to study in Colombia with IIE’s $10,000 prize. AIFS Study Abroad, CET Academic Programs, IFSA-Butler, and STA Travel also awarded prizes worth up to $5000 to students and alumni. Read more about the #GoStudyAbroad winners at IIE’s Generation Study Abroad page Generation Study Abroad commitment partners promoted the #GoStudyAbroad in a variety of ways, including mobilizing their study abroad ambassadors to spread the word  through social media channels and sending direct emails to prospective study abroad students. California State University at Fullerton and Long Beach were the top institutional mobilizers in the campaign.

Go Overseas – a study abroad resources website with over 30,000 daily and 900,000 monthly visitors – hosted the campaign at GoOverseas.com, where users nominated students to #GoStudyAbroad by the time they graduate from college. The #GoStudyAbroad campaign ran from February 16 through March 31.

Read profiles of each of the #GoStudyAbroad student and alumni winners.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.

About Generation Study Abroad

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. Higher education institutions, study abroad organizations and other partners that have joined the initiative have committed $185 million over the next five years to provide support to students, faculty and programming to expand study abroad opportunities to all over the next five years. More than 600 partners have joined the Generation Study Abroad initiative to date, including 400 U.S. colleges and universities from 48 states as well as higher education institutions and organizations in other countries, education associations, organizations including study abroad, K-12, and social network agencies and 15 country partners. The initiative highlights IIE’s commitment to study abroad and to encouraging 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 Go Overseas

Go Overseas is the leading website for programs abroad. With over 30,000 daily and 900,000 monthly visitors, more people use Go Overseas to find life changing, meaningful travel programs than any other website in the world. Go Overseas incorporates reviews, interviews, articles and other community features to help people make informed and educated decisions when choosing travel programs. Most importantly, Go Overseas inspires people around the world to travel differently and to travel with a purpose.

Note to editors:

New data on U.S. study abroad is available from the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Contact IIE for press information.


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