As part of Generation Study Abroad, a five-year initiative launched by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the University of North Georgia (UNG) has pledged to double the number of students studying internationally by the end of the decade.
Generation Study Abroad launched this spring after Open Doors 2013, a survey published by IIE in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, found that 295,000 American students studied abroad in the 2011-12 academic year. This represents only 10 percent of the 2.6 million students who graduated with associate or baccalaureate degrees. The goal of Generation Study Abroad is to raise the number of students who studied abroad to 600,000 by 2020.
At UNG, 209 students studied abroad for credit in 2011-12. Katherine Lapish, a study abroad advisor on the Dahlonega Campus, said the university hopes to increase study abroad participation to 418 by the end of 2019.
Globalization is changing the way the world works and employers increasingly seek workers who have cross-cultural skills.
"Studying abroad is essential to a comprehensive education. Going abroad while in college allows the student to stay academically progressive as well as diversify their resume, advance language skills, gain cultural understanding on a global stage, gain confidence and independence from cross-cultural experiences and develop networks globally that can be utilized after graduation," Lapish said.
UNG currently offers more than 40 international programs for students.
"Studying abroad was an experience I believe every student needs to have," said Natalie Restrepo, a senior business major who studied in Peru this summer. "Not only was I able to finish my minor abroad, I got to travel to a beautiful country and visit sites many people only dream about. This was a great learning experience, and I was able to establish connections and form relationships that mean the world to me."
The UNG Center for Global Engagement (CGE) encourages students to study abroad in various ways including study abroad fairs, class presentations, active social media outreach, participation in the nationally recognized International Education Week that takes place Nov. 17-21, and the International Peer Advisors alumni program.For more information about study abroad programs or the dozens of upcoming events as part of International Education Week, please visit the CGE website at http://ung.edu/global-engagement/. For more information about the book, visit www.iie.org/studentguide