McKendree Joins IIE Initiative to Double Number of Study Abroad Students

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University has been selected to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study in other countries by the end of the decade. McKendree has committed to doubling the number of its undergraduates who participate in study abroad over the next five years.

The university sends an average of three students abroad every spring and fall for a semester-long immersion experience. By the 2018-2019 school year, it hopes to send six students per semester.

Two McKendree undergraduates spent their fall 2013 semester at universities in Glasgow, Scotland and Florence, Italy; two others are currently studying in Paris and in Pune, India. McKendree also offers opportunities for faculty-led travel to other countries; a two-week summer exchange trip to Japan; and international internships, service-learning and mission trips. Programs are administered by the university and in conjunction with the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University, International Studies Abroad, the Irish American Scholars Program, Paris Graduate School of Management, and Technos International Week.

The university believes that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education, said Dr. James Dennis, McKendree president. “The invitation to join this initiative is timely and well suited to our mission and strategic plan. We have designated this a ‘Year of Diversity’ during which we have hosted many activities and events to broaden our students’ understanding of multiculturism, global education and international leadership.”

McKendree is among 150 higher education institutions in 41 states to sign the Generation Study Abroad Commitment. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and several foreign governments, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations, have also pledged to support the initiative’s goals. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” said Dr. Allan Goodman, president of IIE.

Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career. According to an IIE report released last November, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011-12; Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation to 600,000 by the end of the decade.

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