DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has joined the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, which seeks to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.
The initiative, launched in March, also focuses on increasing the diversity of students who study abroad, ensuring the quality of their experiences, and removing barriers to their participation. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), fewer than 10 percent of U.S. college students currently study abroad as part of their academic careers.
“Ohio Wesleyan is committed to providing students with meaningful study abroad opportunities to prepare them for global citizenship and leadership,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “Since our faculty developed the OWU Connection curricular initiative in 2009, the number of Ohio Wesleyan students engaging in international experiences each year has more than tripled.”
As part of its Generation Study Abroad pledge, Ohio Wesleyan will work to provide at least 65 percent of its students with study abroad experiences by the end of 2019. Jones said the university has increased, and will continue to increase, its study abroad opportunities through several initiatives, including:
- Travel-Learning Courses, which help students connect to the world through short-term travel experiences that enhance their semesters of classroom learning. Travel-Learning Courses change each year, but have included a trip to Greece to experience the origination and evolution of democracy as well as a trip to the Brazilian rain forest to study global-change biology.
- Theory-to-Practice Grants, which help students connect to their futures by seeking competitive university-funded grants to conduct research or complete other projects of special interest. Since 2009, Ohio Wesleyan has awarded students (as well as faculty and staff) more than $1 million in Theory-to-Practice Grants, enabling them to participate in more than 150 research, cultural immersion, and service projects on six continents.
- The New Cosmopolitans, a peer advising program set to launch during the 2014-2015 academic year. The initiative, part of Ohio Wesleyan’s Office of International and Off-Campus Programs, will engage recently returned international travelers and current international students in an intercultural peer advising and study abroad transition program. The New Cosmopolitans program will help to better prepare those planning to travel abroad so that they make the most of their international experiences.
Allan Goodman, Ph.D., president of the New York City-based IIE, said study abroad is vital for today’s college students, a reality that led to the Generation Study Abroad initiative. Since it was launched in March, 308 partners have joined the initiative, including 241 U.S. colleges and universities, and 11 U.S. and foreign government entities.
“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” Goodman said. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”
Learn more about the Institute of International Education and the Generation Study Abroad initiative at www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad. Read more about Ohio Wesleyan’s OWU Connection curricular initiative at http://owuconnection.owu.edu and more about the Office of International and Off-Campus Programs at http://iocp.owu.edu.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private, coed university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world practice. OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.