WASHINGTON, PA (April 30, 2015)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) has joined the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more American students gain international experience through study abroad programs.
IIE’s Generation Study Abroad encompasses 450 partners to date, and seeks to mobilize resources to make study abroad experiences more accessible to undergraduate students in the United States.
“One of [W&J’s] goals as an institution is to develop global citizens, so this partnership makes sense in terms of what we hope to accomplish,” said Sara Kochuba, Director of the Office of Study Abroad at W&J. “We are committed to helping students reach their international education goals, and study abroad experiences will help them gain transferable skills to use throughout their lifetime.”
Generation Study Abroad partners include 298 colleges and universities around the world, as well as 13 governments, 16 education associations, 67 international partners, and 56 study abroad, K-12, and social network organizations.
Partner organizations have committed to specific goals to increase the number of students studying abroad, including actions to diversify the population of students who participate in credit-bearing study abroad programs, and provide additional financial resources to make that study possible.
W&J currently offers nearly 40 semester-long, credit-bearing study abroad programs linked to colleges, universities and other educational institutions around the world. Kochuba said that to boost study abroad numbers, her department will increase programming efforts and raise visibility of W&J’s study abroad programs both on and off campus. Numerous scholarships are provided by the College and associated organizations to assist with funding.
Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. college students study abroad during their academic career, according to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Kochuba said an average of 20-25 W&J students study abroad each semester, and that she hopes to significantly increase this number because for students, the benefits of completing such a program are immediate and long-lasting.
“When the students return, they are much more confident, much more self-reliant, and much better able to communicate across cultures,” she said. “They’re also better able to adapt quickly to new situations. In the long-term, a study abroad experience makes students more attractive on the job market, and can help strengthen applications for graduate school, or for law and medical schools. It is something that stays on their resume for life.”
About Generation Study Abroad
Generation Study Abroad seeks to significantly increase study abroad participation by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing programs. Generation Study Abroad will sustain an ongoing dialogue about the need for more students from all backgrounds and in all fields to gain international experience. This will include research to identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, communications to share strategies and best practices to increase study abroad, and fundraising to mobilize additional financial resources.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.
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