The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Valley

May 21, 2014

Susquehanna Joins IIE Coalition to Double Number of U.S. Students Studying Abroad

— SELINSGROVE — Susquehanna University has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE) in its initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade through the Generation Study Abroad campaign. The five-year initiative is also focusing on increasing the diversity of students who study abroad and removing barriers to participation.

At Susquehanna, every student must complete an off-campus cross-cultural Global Opportunities (GO) experience followed by reflection in a course when they return to campus. This has created lively, more enriching and nuanced conversations in class. Susquehanna University is one of a few schools in the country to require a study-away experience, and is one of just eight Pennsylvania schools to have joined the IIE coalition. In 2013, Susquehanna was awarded the IIE’s Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus.

Susquehanna has a rich set of data that offers valuable insights into the preferences of study-abroad students, such as where they go, what they choose to study and whether they favor shorter or longer-term programs. The university intends to share that data with the 300-plus members of the coalition.

As Susquehanna continues its focus on internationalizing the campus, it has set goals of doubling the number of qualified applicants to postgraduate international programs and increasing the number of students studying in Africa, Asia and South America, to supplement already-strong ties to studying in Europe and Australasia.

Susquehanna’s commitment to study abroad has also resulted in an increase in the number of students who apply to Fulbright, Peace Corps and other postgraduate international study and service opportunities. In 2013, three Susquehanna students were successfully placed with countries for the Fulbright program and in 2014, that number increased, resulting in seven Fulbright placements in two years. This is one of the highest placement rates in Pennsylvania for liberal arts colleges.

In 2011-12, only 10 percent of the 2.6 million students who graduated with associate or baccalaureate degrees studied abroad, according to a joint study by IIE and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. International experience is now one of the most important components of a 21st century résumé. The coalition’s goals are to make study abroad an essential part of a college education and drive up the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs.

 

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