free_8466352Generation Study Abroad

That’s the new campaign from the IIE, the Institute of International Education.  The aim is to double the number of US college students going overseas. In ten years.

Why?  The number of US students who went overseas in 2011-12 was 295,000. It’s pitiful. By comparison, China has 235,000 in the US, and that is only China and only in the US. In percentages, less than 10% of American college students study overseas. This pales in comparison to students from China and Korea where studying overseas is almost a given.

If the US wants to remain a world leader, it must send more students overseas. The advantages are obvious.

However, just saying so is easy. Doing so is not. The IIE estimates that a 12% growth rate, year on year, for ten years is required to achieve their aim. That is difficult.

A few colleges have joined the Generation Study Abroad campaign. They are called “Commitment Partners“, but not not so many colleges are involved yet.

For example, I live in the Albany, NY, area, and from this area, only two colleges–the esteemed SUNY Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute–have committed to Generation Study Abroad. No doubt this is the same across the country, so one wonders how many colleges will actually join this initiative.

It is a disappointing start to a great project, but with time, I am sure the momentum will pick up.

I wish them luck.