Championing Study Abroad for the Future Workforce

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently, 9.4% of college students study abroad. In an effort to increase this number, the Institute of International Education recently held a Generation Study Abroad Summit. The goals of this event were to promote the benefits of studying abroad and increase the number of students who study abroad, as well as diversify the types of students who have access to the opportunity through its Generation Study Abroad Initiative.

In an increasingly global economy, participation in a study abroad program is a valuable experience for one’s employability. Immersion in a different culture can aid in the development of important job skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, cultural awareness, intercultural skills, and fluency in a foreign language. The IIE wants to reach more students and encourage them to study abroad to gain intercultural competencies that will make them more competitive candidates in the workplace. They would especially like to reach more students who are historically underrepresented in study abroad, like racial minorities, first-generation college students, veterans, and students who have disabilities.

This year, over 350 colleges have signed on to the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, which aims to double the number of students who study abroad within the next decade. Through this initiative, colleges have committed to various goals like increasing financial support for underrepresented students, expanding their international program offerings, and expanding short-term programs, like internship and volunteer abroad programs.

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