Westminster Commits to Doubling Study Abroad Participation by 2020

 Westminster students studying abroad in India

March 29, 2017

Westminster has joined the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans gain international experience through study abroad programs. Through this program, the college pledges to double the number of undergraduate students who study abroad from 37 students in 2014–15 to 75 by 2020.

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.

"I'm very pleased that Westminster has committed to double our study abroad participation," said Sara Demko, assistant provost for Global Learning. "Study abroad allows students to develop many skills that will help them in their future careers – self-confidence, cultural awareness, flexibility and problem-solving that can give them an advantage in the job market."

One of the ways Westminster's Office for Global Engagement is integrating study abroad into its curriculum is through the Engaging the World component of the new WCore, the college's new general education program. The college is also offering study abroad scholarships of up to $4,000 to financially support students who will study abroad for a semester or full academic year.

"Global education is an integral part of liberal education at Westminster College," said Dr. Lisa Gentile, Westminster's provost. "Our international May Term Study Experiences have long been a defining feature of a Westminster education. Global responsibility is one of Westminster's college-wide learning goals, which all students must demonstrate proficiency of before graduation, and which many students build an understanding of through studying abroad."

As of January 2017, Generation Study Abroad partners include more than 400 colleges and universities across the country and around the world, as well as 19 governments, 50 education associations, more than 100 international partners, and 100 study abroad, K–12 and social network organizations who have committed to specific goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversify the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.

IIE launched Generation Study Abroad 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 U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career, according to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange published by IIE with support from the U.S. 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 will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade.