After more than doubling participation in its study abroad programs in the past 12 years, the University of Oregon has joined the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative and committed to increasing the number of students from the UO who study abroad by 40 percent over the next five years.
More than 1,200 UO students currently participate in study or internship abroad each year. By the time they graduate, more than 25 percent of UO undergraduates will have studied abroad, a substantial increase from the 10 percent who participated 12 years ago.
UO Study Abroad manages more than 190 study abroad and internship programs in 90 countries worldwide. The UO ranked fourth nationally with 18 Gilman Scholars this year and has consistently ranked in the top 10 for Peace Corps volunteers. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship helps students cover the costs of their study abroad program, research or internship.
“When students seek my advice about the most valuable experience in college, I urge them to study abroad,” said President Michael Gottfredson. “No matter how rich and engaging we make our learning environment on campus, nothing compares to using a second language in a real world setting, managing professional interactions and friendships in a foreign context, and experiencing the heritage and culture of other countries. It is life changing.”
When UO students were surveyed about why they choose not to study abroad, more than half of those surveyed cited financial obstacles. The average fully inclusive cost per term of a study abroad experience is $9,455 more than in-state tuition per term.
“We are developing a bold plan remove financial hurdles for students wanting to study abroad,” said Dennis Galvan, vice provost for international affairs. “We believe an endowed scholarship fund that distributes a substantial number of scholarships annually is essential for the university to provide students with access to transformative international educational experiences. Our next capital campaign will include a significant endowment fund to support much-needed scholarships to support study abroad.”
The Generation Study Abroad initiative aims to double the number of U.S. students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The initiative also focuses on increasing the diversity of the students who study abroad, ensuring quality and removing barriers to participation.
“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says Allan Goodman, president of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”
Two months after the official launch of Generation Study Abroad, the IIE has doubled its number of partners to 308, including 241 U.S. colleges and universities from 46 states, nine non-U.S. institutions, 34 study abroad organizations and 11 U.S. and foreign government entities, including the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
For more information on the IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, visit www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.