Monday, November 10, 2014

Generation Study Abroad

In 2011-2012, 295,000 American college students studied abroad.  Sounds like a big number, right?!?! Unfortunately, this is less than 10% of students graduating from college each year.  With our increasing global society, it is more important than ever to gain international experience to succeed in our world, and study abroad is one of the best ways to gain this experience.  So, with that small percentage of students who study abroad, what is being done to increase the numbers of students who study abroad?

Generation Study Abroad has started a challenge to increase the numbers of American students studying abroad to 600,000 by the academic year 2017-2018. Institutions wishing to join the challenge can pledge their action to reach a goal of doubling the numbers of students studying abroad from their institution, and guess what?? Western Illinois University has joined this challenge - we have committed to doubling the number of WIU students who study abroad in the next few years! What an exciting commitment for our institution! 

Generation Study Abroad is sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE), and IIE is investing $2 million to provide scholarships to help provide resources for students to study abroad.  IIE believes that people in the 21st century need to increase the capacity to think and work on a global and intercultural basis to reach peace and prosperity in our world, and one way to reach this is through studying abroad!

The Generation Study Abroad website has several resources listed for students, along with more information about the initiative. Their website is if you are interested in learning more, or just want to take a look around some of the resources they offer to students! 

Use #generationstudyabroad on social media to spread the
word about study abroad opportunities and the initiative to
increase the number of students studying abroad!
Many of the resources listed under the student page include different scholarships and grants that can be helpful in funding a study abroad program. If finances are something that could hold you back from achieving your study abroad dreams, I highly encourage you to take a look! Another resource is the IIE Passport, where you can look up information about study abroad programs and refine your search based on what type of program you are looking for! The student resource page can be found at  

Help Western reach its goal of doubling the students we send abroad! You will learn valuable personal life lessons, transferable skills useful in any career imaginable, meet new friends from all over the world, learn a new way of life, and learn so much about yourself. Studying abroad boosts your resume as employers like to see that students have international experience and can also help improve your interview skills. I cannot tell you how many times I have used experiences from abroad to answer interview questions - I usually have to remind myself not to answer all interview questions using an experience from abroad! 

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities available to you for studying abroad at Western, please do not hesitate to contact our office! We are located in Horrabin Hall 8 if you want to stop by and set up an appointment to talk to a study abroad advisor. You can also call us at 309-298-2504 or e-mail us at We hope to hear from you soon! 


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