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UT’s Center for International Education (CIE) has joined the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans gain international experience through study abroad programs. The membership is one of more than 600 commitments announced by IIE.

Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of US students studying abroad by the end of the decade. With programs in more than 50 countries on six continents, UT offers its students a variety of international academic experiences through the Center for International Education. The center emphasizes the importance of global awareness and believes that a study abroad experience enhances students’ global outlook and helps them grow academically, professionally, and personally.

Under the new partnership, the CIE will expand first-year study abroad programming and create a new scholarship program focused on semester-length study abroad experiences.

“Education abroad is a transformative experience that has demonstrated positive impacts on the academic and professional careers of students. Students should not ask themselves if they can afford to have these types of experiences. Instead, they should ask themselves if they can afford not to,” said Noah Rost, the center’s director of programs abroad.

Generation Study Abroad partners include more than 400 colleges and universities, as well as 16 governments, 25 education associations, more than 100 international partners, and 100 organizations working to increase the number of US students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversify the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make study abroad possible for more students.

IIE launched Generation Study Abroad early last year in the belief that 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 US college students study abroad at any point in their academic career, according to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange published by IIE with support from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported reaches 600,000 by the end of the decade.

“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.”