Athena Study Abroad Joins Institute of International Education Coalition to Double Number of Students Who Study Abroad by End of Decade
Athena Seeks to Increase Under-served Minority Group Participation by 50%
COLUMBUS, OH: April, 4 2014 — Athena Study Abroad 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. Athena has committed to increasing under-served minority group participation by 50% over the next five years.
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.
Athena 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.
Athena’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad includes increased scholarships to under-served student communities, as well as offering special “Generation Study Abroad” scholarships. In addition, Athena will increase its involvement in training peers and in official roles in national organizations and conferences. At Athena, we emphasize the importance of global awareness and believe that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education. Athena’s unique niche in working with smaller schools overseas emphasizes truer immersion into the culture abroad. Athena offers 13 programs abroad in Europe, Asia and Australia.
More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states had already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment when it was launched in March, 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.The next round of commitment partners will be announced by IIE in May.
“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.