Earlier this month, the Institute for International Education’s (IIE) annual Summit on Generation Study Abroad brought together education, government, business leaders and journalists in Washington, D.C. for “action-oriented discussions on how to ensure international experience is a key part of a 21st century education and make study abroad opportunities available to all.”
The Summit discussed topics including:
- How can study abroad be redefined and rebranded for today’s global economy?
- What innovative solutions are most effective in increasing study abroad participation?
- How does study abroad build a globally minded workforce?
- What is the impact of study abroad?
What were the takeaways from the summit?
University and business leaders must focus on making the experience more relevant to careers, and at the same time impart to students the real world value of study abroad.
Make Study Abroad Relevant to Careers
“More than ever before, students want their experience to prepare them for their future,” AIFS President and CEO William Gertz told hundreds of international education professionals who attended the summit.
“Students are not only looking at the next day and month, but the future,” Gertz said. “They want study abroad to be an integral part of their lifelong journey.”
Being Multilingual is an Asset
Peter Lengyel, president and CEO of Safran USA, which is based in France but has locations worldwide, said their Human Resources Department “looks to hire people who can speak multiple languages and adapt to different environments.”
“We specifically need bicultural people, at a minimum,” he said. “We have individuals that look for like-minded, like-studied, like-educated individuals.”
Study Abroad Offices and Faculty Are Essential
Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, told USA TODAY College that “faculty are the ones that also can encourage you to say, ‘It’s worth the risk.’ And if we can begin to combine the courses with the service learning and the internships, we’re building a very different paradigm for the 21st century than traditional study abroad.”
To date, more than 600 partners from the U.S. and abroad have joined Generation Study Abroad with a bold vision to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Read more about the Summit from Professionals in International Education here, and learn more about Generation Study Abroad and how you can get involved here.