On the heels of a successful International Education Week at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), the 15th in its history, the university is reaffirming its commitment to the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans to gain international experience through study abroad programs.
Earlier this year, UNO announced it would be joining IIE’s Generation Study Abroad program, which seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.
UNO's goal is 562 study abroad students by 2019. Currently, UNO has tracked nearly 400 participants engaged in study abroad efforts over the past year accounting for nearly one forth of the 1700 students engaging in study abroad programs across Nebraska.
The first Nebraska institution of higher education to join the challenge, UNO is part of a coalition that now encompasses 450 partners.
Under the new partnership, UNO is taking concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad. The number of study abroad experiences available has increased, the UNO Education Abroad office is growing and the number of students choosing to study abroad in on the incline. Additionally, this commitment to global engagement brought in over $60 million to the economy of Omaha during the 2013-2014 academic year.
“While most of our students hail from Nebraska, we want them to have global experiences,” said Chancellor John Christensen during his 2014 State of the University Address in October. “We are expanding study abroad opportunities for UNO students with the leadership of International Studies and Programs. At the same time, the world comes to study at UNO with more than 2,000 international students from 117 countries.”
Generation Study Abroad partners to date include 298 colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country and around the world, as well as 13 governments, 16 education associations, 67 international partners, and 56 study abroad, K-12, and social network organizations who have committed to specific goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversity the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.
IIE launched Generation Study Abroad early this year in the belief that 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 published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
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.
New Open Doors data, released on Nov. 17, is available on the Open Doors website.
“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.”
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. IIE will also hold a Summit on Generation Study Abroad on Oct. 1-2, 2015 to engage stakeholders in higher education and all commitment partners
About University of Nebraska Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.
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.