UW-River Falls Joins the Generation Study Abroad Initiative

June 27, 2014—The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)'s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The initiative is also focusing on increasing the diversity of the students who study abroad, ensuring quality, and removing barriers to participation. UW-River Falls has committed to increasing the number of students who study abroad each year from 310 to 400 over the next five years. 

In making this pledge, UW-River Falls is committing itself to a range of activity including:  

  • Pursuing philanthropic support for students engaged in education abroad programs; 
  • Encouraging new and innovative short-term, faculty led programs; 
  • Reinforcing and expanding longstanding international partnerships; 
  • Developing new programming options;
  • Infusing international education themes and topics in general education and major courses. 

"The ultimate aim, as identified in UW-River Falls' strategic plan, is to enhance global education and engagement," said UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen. "With the focus and energy of the international education unit working directly with academic colleges and specific faculty, UW-River Falls is confident it can achieve the goal it set for itself." 

Three months after the official launch of Generation Study Abroad, the Institute of International Education has announced significant progress in advancing the major goals of the initiative. IIE's Generation Study Abroad initiative now has more than 300 commitment partners -- double the number who had signed on by the March launch date. The 150 new partners who have committed to specific, actionable goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad include colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country, as well as study abroad organizations, foreign governments, and associations. Noteworthy commitments to action in this round include new scholarships and financial assistance to help students pay for study abroad, and new initiatives to reach out to underserved groups and increase the diversity of the student population that goes abroad. 

"Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise," says Allan Goodman, president of IIE. "Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders." 

IIE is launching Generation Study Abroad because the number and proportion of today's students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career. According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011-12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade.   

With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America's young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues.  Commitment partners are working to ensure that students from all backgrounds and in all fields of study have the opportunity to gain this important experience. 

Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences. Building on its nearly 100-year commitment to study abroad, IIE has committed $2 million of its own funds to this initiative over the next 5 years. 

For more information on IIE's Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, visit