ATLANTA/MACON – Mercer University has joined the Institute of International Education's (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans to gain international experience through study abroad programs.
Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Mercer's commitment to the initiative is among 450 new partnerships recently announced by IIE.
The University will take concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad.Already, Mercer's Office of International Programs has worked to launch an internship abroad program, to reach out to underrepresented populations, to facilitate the process of studying abroad by migrating to online applications and developing an online search engine, and by engaging the university community in a comprehensive crisis management plan. Other initiatives in the planning stages include building a formal peer advising network and increasing exchange and faculty-led program opportunities.
"Mercer's current and future study abroad initiatives are directly in line with IIE's call to action," said Julie Strecker, director of international programs and the English Language Institute. "Mercer has made a clear commitment to increase opportunities for its students to study abroad, and by participating in IIE's Generation Study Abroad initiative, we can perpetuate the increasing momentum we are experiencing as we work toward not only our own goals, but those of all institutions committing to Generation Study Abroad."
Generation Study Abroad partners include colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country and around the world, as well as governments, education associations, international partners, and study abroad, K-12, and social network organizations who have committed to specific goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversify the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.
IIE launched Generation Study Abroad in the belief that 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," published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
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.
"Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise," said Dr. Allan Goodman, president of IIE. "Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders."
About Generation Study Abroad
IIE's Generation Study Abroad seeks to significantly increase study abroad participation by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing programs. Generation Study Abroad will sustain an ongoing dialogue about the need for more students from all backgrounds and in all fields to gain international experience. This will include research to identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, communications to share strategies and best practices to increase study abroad, and fundraising to mobilize additional financial resources. IIE will also hold a Summit on Generation Study Abroad on Oct. 1-2 to engage stakeholders in higher education and all commitment partners.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. 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. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.