Effort to get more students to study abroad

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Every year, hundreds of thousands of students from other countries come to the United States to study, but far fewer American students travel to do the same.

About 10% of U.S. students participate in some kind of study abroad program before they graduate, but at community colleges, that rate can be as low as 1% percent of students.

Over the next five years, The Institute of International Education wants to double the number of Americans traveling to study. They hope to reach 600,000 U.S. students.

The campaign, called Generation Study Abroad, aims to do that by reaching out to more low-income students, and to colleges and universities with low international exchange rates. Marilyn Pelosi, an associate dean at Western New England University told 22News that the experience doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is a major investment in their career.

“You just can’t teach this stuff in the classroom,” Pelosi said. “Students tell me, I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”

“We talk to them about converting that experience. Okay, you had a great experience internationally in Italy, Spain, London. What does that look like when you’re talking to an employer?”

Pelosi told 22News that their study abroad students tend to be better problem solvers, risk takers, and communicators, and are more likely to work for global companies. Already, 160 colleges and universities have signed-on to participate with Generation Study Abroad.

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