Drexel joins Global Study Abroad initiative

Drexel University 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. Drexel University has committed to increasing the number of undergraduate students who study abroad by doubling the number by the end of the decade.

Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, 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. Drexel University is among the lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world.

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. “Drexel is putting significant human and material resources into the campaign to double the number of students going abroad by the end of the decade, expanding the breadth of experiential activities, creating new strategies for engagement, following existing best practices, and providing seed funds to faculty and scholarships to students.” said John A. Fry, the president of Drexel University.

At Drexel University, we emphasize the importance of global awareness and believe that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education. We are particularly focused on increasing the number of STEM students and students in the health professions going abroad, working closely with STEM majors to develop study abroad curriculum sheets for every major, so students can see how international opportunities fit into their academic schedules. Study Abroad (SA) is increasing innovative initiatives such as our “break-ins,” taking advantage of short breaks in Drexel’s quarter schedule to increase mobility, and is working with undergraduate research and the Steinbright Career Development Center to leverage exchange partnerships into increased international research and co-op opportunities for students. The Office of International Programs (OIP) is promoting faculty-led study abroad programs arising from campus internationalization initiatives, such as our global classrooms. We are also developing more opportunities, both short and long term, in Africa and looking to expand the Freshman Frontiers program (first term abroad program in London) adding a new site in a non-English speaking country. Working with our Institutional Advancement Office and our alumni, Drexel is committed to increasing scholarships for international experiential learning, to make this critical opportunity available to as many students as possible.

More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and several foreign governments, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations, have also pledged to support the goals of the initiative. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says 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.”

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. For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, click here.

For more information and press coverage of the Generation Study Abroad, please see the links below: