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06/11/2014

Winthrop Joins Generation Study Abroad Initiative to Increase Students’ Global Experiences

Quick Facts

 More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed on to the Generation Study Abroad initiative.
 By fall 2012, Winthrop had increased the number of students who graduated with a study abroad experience to 7 percent.
 Winthrop has taken the initiative a step further by committing to tripling its number of undergraduate students who study abroad over the next five years.

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President Williamson
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — Winthrop University has joined the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. Winthrop has taken the initiative a step further by committing to tripling its number of undergraduate students who study abroad over the next five years.

Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences. Winthrop is among the lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world.

“A Winthrop education emphasizes the importance of global awareness and recognizes that a study abroad experience enhances students’ international outlooks and overall education,” said Winthrop President Jamie Comstock Williamson. “These high-impact study abroad experiences inspire our students to be responsive to global concerns and prepare our students for professional success in a global environment.”

In 2011-12, the most recent year for which comparative data is available, about 2 percent of Winthrop students studied abroad – 96 undergraduate students and 7 graduate students, for a total of 103 students. By fall 2012, Winthrop had increased the number of students who graduated with a study abroad experience to 7 percent. Tripling the number of Winthrop undergraduates who participate in study abroad experiences by the end of the decade underscores Winthrop’s institutional commitment to supporting global education. Through various faculty-led study abroad programs and 21 overseas institutional partners including Edge Hill University, the Foundation for International Education, Academic Studies Abroad, and CEA Global Education, Winthrop offers a variety of options for students interested in studying abroad. Additionally, a majority of Winthrop students studying overseas apply their financial aid to their study abroad experiences.

In addition to joining the Generation Study Abroad initiative to increase study abroad participation, Winthrop has also created the Global Ambassador Scholarship for out-of-state students. The half-tuition scholarship is renewable for four years and provides $1,000 toward a life-changing, study abroad experience. These latest endeavors complement a five-year Global Learning Initiative that Winthrop debuted in 2011. The initiative infuses global components into required courses for freshmen, and it strives to improve students’ learning in three areas: global knowledge, global attitudes and global engagement.

As for the Generation Study Abroad initiative, more than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed on, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. 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. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” said Allan Goodman, president of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

IIE 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. 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.

With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues.

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

For more information on Winthrop’s study abroad program, please visit www.winthrop.edu/international.

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