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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus pledges to increase study abroad, scholarships

March 3, 2014

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities has pledged to join the Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. As part of the initiative, the U of M is recommitting to its current goal that 50 percent of students will graduate with an international experience by 2019. In addition, the deans and campus leadership will collaborate to reach a goal of an annual capacity of $1.5 million for scholarships to support student participation in experiences abroad.

The Institute of International Education 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. At the University’s Twin Cities campus, 32 percent of graduates have had an international experience.

"The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is a national leader in education abroad. Our strong and consistent commitment to international education has resulted in innovations that have informed the field, including our Curriculum Integration and Career Integration initiatives," wrote Provost Karen Hanson in her letter committing the University to the Generation Study Abroad initiative. "Internationalization continues to be a priority and will be a focus in the University’s strategic planning."

"Our participation in the initiative demonstrates the University’s ongoing commitment to preparing our graduates for a global workplace," said Martha Johnson, assistant dean for learning abroad. "We are proud to continue to build our legacy as an institutional leader in education abroad."

More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment. 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.

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. 

For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, go to: www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.

The Learning Abroad Center, a part of the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, is the University of Minnesota's comprehensive resource for study, service-learning, research, work, intern, volunteer and travel experiences worldwide. Visit the University’s Learning Abroad Center website at http://umabroad.umn.edu.

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