University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Joins the Institute of International Education's Generation Study Abroad Initiative

University commits to increasing study abroad participation by nearly 40 percent

Great Wall of China

The University of Vermont has joined the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, committing to increase the number of UVM students participating in study abroad by nearly 40 percent by 2020. An announcement event took place in Waterman Manor on November 8 before about 65 UVM students, faculty and staff.  

The Generation Study Abroad program seeks to mobilize resources and commitments at schools nationwide with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.  

Each member school makes a commitment to helping the program reach its overall goals. UVM has committed to three goals, all of which it will reach by 2020:

  • The university will increase study abroad participation among undergraduate, graduate and medical school students by 38 percent, to 1,000 students, through participation in internships, research, short-term courses and semester-long programs;
  • It will increase undergraduate study abroad participation in semester-long programs by 20 percent;  
  • The university will diversify the students in its study abroad programs to include those who national statistics show participate at lower rates: students in fields related to the STEM disciplines, students of color, first-generation college students, and students with limited economic resources. UVM’s Generation Study Abroad initiative will also increase study abroad opportunities for Vermont residents and UVM athletes, whose practice and play schedules make it challenging to go abroad. 

Under the new partnership, UVM will take several concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad, primarily aimed at low income students.

  • The university’s Office of International Education is committing $100,000 to the UVM Generation Study Abroad initiative. The funds, which come from a collection of one-time private gifts, will be used to raise the awareness of study abroad and to motivate more students from all backgrounds to participate.
  • The office has also forged partnerships with UVM’s Student Financial Services office and with STA Travel to reduce barriers that often prevent low-income students from participating in study abroad, making travel costs more easily reimbursed by scholarship monies, for instance, and creating a mechanism for the Office of International Education to pay for visas and passports for low-income students.

“Globalization makes it critical for students to have a meaningful international experience during their college years,” said Kim Howard, director of UVM’s Office of International Education. “The commitments UVM has made as part of the Generation Study Abroad initiative will expand not only the number of UVM students who can reap the benefits of studying in another country but also extend this opportunity to students who historically have not participated in study abroad programs at a rate proportional to their representation on campus.”

The Office of International Education also announced that it had added two univerisites, both top 100 world universities, to its bilateral exchange program: the University of Manchester in England and Leiden University in the Netherlands. Last year UVM added five new bilateral exchange programs to our roster, including three top 100 schools.  

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 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.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says Allan Goodman, president of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.