Doubling students abroad

Monday, March 3, 2014

St. Cloud State has joined more than 160 American colleges and universities in a commitment to double student learning abroad

St. Cloud State has joined more than 160 American colleges and universities in a commitment to double student learning abroad.

St. Cloud State has joined more than 160 American colleges and universities in a commitment to double student learning abroad President Earl H. Potter III addresses students and employees at the Feb. 5 Celebrating International Achievements in Atwood Memorial Center. 

St. Cloud State is working to double its students studying abroad.

SCSU is one of three Minnesota colleges participating in Generation Study Abroad, a five-year initiative that brings leaders in education, business and governments together to double by 2020 the number of U.S. college students studying abroad.  

Managing the initiative is the Institute of International Education (IIE), which has identified more than 150 partners committed to specific, measureable actions that will help thousands more American students graduate with international experience.

"We recognize the value our Education Abroad program has in preparing students to live and succeed in a global community in the 21st century," Potter said. "Studying abroad leaves students with greater self-awareness and self-confidence, as well as increased aewreness of global economic and political issues and realities, and cultural understanding."  

Speaking at the "Celebrating International Acheivements" gathering in Atwood Memorial Center, Potter said the university would, among other things, expand scholarships for and lower curricular barriers to education abroad. He noted engineering and science students, in particular, are finding it difficult to include education-abroad experiences in their curricular schedules.

Education Abroad at St. Cloud State

Choose from among more than 30 education-abroad opportunities, including summer, semester and year-long trips.

More than 350 St. Cloud State students participated in education-abroad programs during the 2012-13 school year. By decade's end that number will be 700, Potter said.

St. Cloud State is one of more than 160 participating American colleges and universities. The other Minesota schools are University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Hamline University, St. Paul, and Concordia College, Moorhead.

St. Cloud State officials said initiatives and programming in six broad areas will reduce barriers to, and increase awareness of, education-abroad opportunities:

  • Affordability
  • First-year programming
  • Opportunities tied to academic programs
  • Partner with two-year institutions from which students transfer
  • Communicate and market education abroad programs to students and parents
  • External partnerships

“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.”

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

Nationally, the Generation Study Abroad initiative aims by 2020 to increase to 600,000 the number of American college students studying abroad. Building on it nearly 100-year commitment to education abroad, IEE has committed $2 million of its own funds to the initiative.

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