CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange reports it is making significant progress toward its Generation Study Abroad pledge to increase study abroad opportunities for students from all academic majors and from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
Research shows that students who participate in study abroad have higher grade point averages, graduate faster, and are more attractive to future employers. Yet fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad. In November 2014, CIEE joined the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad challenge by committing to breaking down each of the three main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – with a set of specific, concrete, action-oriented programs designed to enable more students to take part in international education. Today the organization is on track to meet its five-year goal to provide $20 million in student financial aid, sponsor passports for 10,000 students, train more college faculty, and create more flexible curriculum options by the year 2020.
In the nine months since launching efforts in January 2015, CIEE has made progress in each area of its pledge, specifically:
Breaking cost barriers
• Student Scholarships: CIEE awarded a total of $5,965,000 in scholarships and financial aid to high school and college students and institutions.
• Faculty Grants: CIEE awarded the inaugural $20,000 CIEE Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Northshore Technical Community College in Louisiana to support an innovative faculty-led study abroad program in the Middle East designed specifically for students in STEM fields.
Breaking curriculum barriers
• Flexible Semester Study Abroad Curriculum Model: CIEE reinvented the study abroad model with the launch of the Global Institutes in Berlin, Germany; London, England; and Rome, Italy. The CIEE Global Institutes provide affordable, flexible academic programming options for students of all majors to design their ideal international experience, with options for internships, research projects, and community service. Students can enroll in up to three 6-week academic blocks in one location, or combine blocks from multiple locations for comparative academic program study. In most cases, students can maintain their home institution’s financial aid while studying at multiple Global Institutes.
• Short-Term Study Abroad Curriculum Model: CIEE increased short-term program options to 301 sessions available during January, May, and three summer sessions. This allows students of all academic majors and challenging schedules to participate in study abroad as their academic and personal responsibilities permit.
• Expanded STEM Study Abroad Programs: CIEE added new science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and sustainability curriculum options to its portfolio. CIEE now offers 104 study abroad programs, with STEM course options in 47 locations worldwide - providing students with the most study abroad options for STEM disciplines available today.
• New Faculty Development Seminars: CIEE created faculty development seminars focused on best practices in international education to help train faculty from colleges and universities across the country and in all academic disciplines in how to develop and deliver high-quality faculty-led study abroad programs.
Breaking culture barriers
• CIEE Passport Caravan: CIEE provided new passports to 250 college students with 550 more scheduled through the end of the academic year. Obtaining a passport is the first step for many students to believing they can truly study abroad.
• Scholarships for Students with Disabilities: To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act in July 2015, CIEE partnered with Mobility International USA to support students with disabilities, who are underrepresented in study abroad. Through the CIEE/MIUSA Access the World Scholarships, CIEE has provided more than $45,000 in scholarships to students with disabilities to study abroad through a diverse selection of CIEE summer programs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In total, CIEE/MIUSA Access the World Scholarships will fund 20 students’ participation in CIEE summer programs and five students’ participation in the Open Campus program at CIEE’s new Global Institute in Berlin, Germany.
• Minority-Serving Institutions Presidents Workshop: CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions have developed a one-day workshop for presidents from minority-serving institutions across the United States to review the research on the impact of study abroad on student success and discuss ways to expand opportunities for their student bodies’ to study abroad.
“Study abroad is rapidly becoming a core requirement for students across the country who are seeking the skills that will prepare them for our culturally diverse and interconnected world. Research shows that international study can help students improve their success in college, as measured by grade point averages, graduation rates, and employment opportunities. We are grateful to our Academic Consortium members, Academic Consortium Board, and worldwide CIEE staff who have rallied around the building blocks to our Generation Study Abroad pledge to expand study abroad to more young people,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow, Ed.D. “We would not be breaking down these barriers without their help and there is still so much more to do.”
Over the next four years, CIEE will continue its commitment to breaking barriers to study abroad by offering more scholarships, faculty grants, passports, and flexible programming options that make an international experience accessible to even more students, particularly those in underrepresented populations.
Read CIEE’s pledge and follow its progress at http://www.ciee.org/generation-study-abroad/progress/.