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ACTFL Joins IIE Coalition to Double Number of Students Who Study Abroad

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Marty Abbott
(703) 894-2900

Alexandria, VA—The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The initiative is also focusing on increasing the diversity of the students who study abroad, ensuring quality, and removing barriers to participation. ACTFL has committed to increasing the number of students who study abroad over the next five years.

“The ACTFL Board of Directors is committed to supporting this effort by focusing on the goals of the project in our publications and by highlighting how our members can support the effort as well. We are proud to be part of the global coalition of educators at all levels to directly address how to extend study abroad opportunities to hundreds of thousands of college students who are not currently taking part in study abroad.” says Marty Abbott, ACTFL Executive Director. “As half of ACTFL’s membership is from the K-12 level, we will also be focused on building a pipeline of middle and high school students who are predisposed to study abroad during college because of earlier travel and study abroad experiences they have had.”

Two months after the official launch of Generation Study Abroad, the Institute of International Education has announced significant progress in advancing the major goals of the initiative. IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative now has over 300 commitment partners -- double the number who had signed on by the March launch date. The 150 new partners who have committed to specific, actionable goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad include colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country, as well as study abroad organizations, foreign governments, and associations. Noteworthy commitments to action in this round include new scholarships and financial assistance to help students pay for study abroad, and new initiatives to reach out to underserved groups and increase the diversity of the student population that goes abroad.

A total of 308 partners have joined Generation Study Abroad to date. They include: 241 U.S. colleges and universities from 46 states; 9 non-U.S. institutions; 13 education associations; 34 study abroad organizations; 11 U.S. and foreign government entities, including the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively 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,” says Dr. Allan Goodman, President of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

IIE is launching Generation Study Abroad because 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 released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. 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.  

With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues.  Commitment partners are working to ensure that students from all backgrounds and in all fields of study have the opportunity to gain this important experience.

Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences. Building on its nearly 100-year commitment to study abroad, IIE has committed $2 million of its own funds to this initiative over the next 5 years.

For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, go to: www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.

ABOUT ACTFL
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is the national association for language education professionals from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. With more than 12,300 active members, ACTFL provides innovative professional development opportunities, acclaimed training and certification programs, and widely cited books, publications, scholarly journals, research studies and language education resources, including Foreign Language Annals and The Language Educator magazine. As part of its mission and vision, the organization provides guidance to the profession and to the general public regarding issues, policies, and best practices related to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures. ACTFL is a leading national voice among language educators and administrators and is guided by a responsibility to set standards and expectations that will result in high quality language programs.

Date: 
Tuesday, May 20, 2014