Saint Martin’s University joins Institute of International Education Coalition to boost the number of students studying abroad

April 8, 2014

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LACEY, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University has pledged to join the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study overseas by the end of the decade. Saint Martin’s University has committed to tripling its number of undergraduate students who study abroad during the next five years.

Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, 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.

Saint Martin’s University is among the lead partners who have committed to specific, measurable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience needed for success in a globalized world.

“Studying abroad has quickly evolved during the 21st century as a necessary part of a student’s preparation for life post-college,” says Josephine Yung, vice president of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s. “In an inter-connected world, it is our responsibility to prepare students as global citizens – studying abroad has to be an integral part of the college experience of any student.”

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. As a commitment to this initiative, Saint Martin’s University will focus on the following areas: creating opportunities for study abroad that align with student needs and the University mission; increasing awareness of study abroad programs and opportunities; developing a culture of study abroad and international education through engagement across all campus communities; aligning study abroad processes and procedures with the best practices. Additionally, Saint Martin’s University has recently launched a new scholarship specifically for Saint Martin’s University students, in which institutional funds are dedicated to both short-term and semester or yearlong programs for Saint Martin’s students.

Saint Martin’s University emphasizes the importance of global awareness and believes that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education. Saint Martin’s University offers programs in more than 20 countries, on nearly all continents. At Saint Martin’s University, students have the opportunity to spend a semester, academic year, or summer break abroad. The University offers and administers about nine programs, and also works in conjunction with organizations such as Institute for Study Abroad - Butler, Syracuse University, Reitaku University, Sogang University and The Alliance for Global Education. Saint Martin’s University students can study abroad in an English speaking country, or they can go to a non-English speaking country and take classes in English and other classes to learn the local language. The majority of Saint Martin’s students receive study-abroad scholarships, and most of the students apply their financial aid to study abroad.

More than 150 higher-education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions. The U.S. Department of State’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 goals of the initiative. 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 associate 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.

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

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.

For additional information:

Brenda Burns
Study abroad coordinator
360-438-4521; bburns@stmartin.edu

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager
360-412-6126; MDwyer@stmartin.edu