Business students attend a lecture at Stockholm University. (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/ / AFP)
An international education institute is working to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by 2019, and colleges have pledged to ensure that student veterans and students with disabilities get an opportunity.
Already, 160 colleges and universities have committed to take part in the Institute of International Education’s program. About 10 percent of U.S. students participate in some sort of study abroad program before graduation, with private liberal arts colleges, in particular, having higher participation rates.
The Generation Study Abroad campaign seeks to have 600,000 U.S. students studying abroad annually in five years in either credit or noncredit programs. Career enhancement is one of the main reasons it’s important to get more students into such programs, said Daniel Obst, the institute’s deputy vice president for international partnerships. The institute has committed $2 million toward its goal and is raising money for a study-abroad fund.
Among the examples of what colleges and universities have pledged to do: Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., will encourage departments to introduce new minors for which students can earn most or all of their credits abroad; North Dakota State University in Fargo seeks to reach out to students in underrepresented groups such as veterans, athletes and first-generation students; and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater said it will establish a study-abroad scholarship for students with physical, learning or other disabilities.
More information on the campaign is available at www.iie.org/Programs/Generation-Study-Abroad.