UCSC Pledges to Double Study Abroad Numbers by 2020

UCSC Joins Institute of International Education Coalition to Double the Number of Students Who Study Abroad by the End of the Decade                  

Santa Cruz, CA, June 14, 2016—UCSC 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. UCSC has committed to increasing the number of undergraduate students who study abroad by committing to doubling study abroad participation by 2020 with the more consequential goal of 50% study abroad participation for every graduating class.

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. UCSC is among the lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world. 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.

“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.”

At UCSC, we emphasize the importance of global awareness and believe that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education.  UCSC currently sends approximately 600 undergraduate students abroad annually, representing a participation rate of about 15% of each graduating class.  Through this initiative, we will aim to send 1,200 undergraduates abroad by 2020, raising our participation up to 25%.

In support of this initiative, we are committed to the following strategies to double our study abroad participation:

  • Academic Integration: We will expand outreach and collaboration with department faculty and staff to identify pathways for students to study abroad, including more pre-approved course work and academic plans that will support a student’s progress toward graduation and a campus effort to minimize time to degree.  This year, we will finalize a new process for GE approvals applied to courses taken while abroad, which will include a standardized list of pre-approvals to assist students in their academic planning.
  • New Technology: We are currently in the process of acquiring a new software system that will improve accessibility and service we provide to students.  This database will allow for a more seamless application process and a better means to track study abroad participation.
  • Faculty Led Programs: The campus is committed to expanding international opportunities for both students and faculty.  We are in the early stages of developing a process for faculty-led study abroad programs and expect to see significant growth in program offerings over the next few years.  As we grow, we strive to diversify program courses and locations to make study abroad more accessible to our diversified student population.
  • Campus Collaboration for Outreach: We continue to expand our campus partnerships to provide more resources, workshops and other outreach, particularly to underrepresented students.  Recently, we expanded our website to include information and resources dedicated to student identity as it relates to study abroad participation and began working closely with a number of units on campus to provide tailored study abroad support to students, including students who identify as queer, undocumented students, and students of color.  We also plan to strengthen the relationship with our campus Career Center to offer more workshops and resources that will better express the value of study abroad in career development.
  • Scholarship Opportunities & Advocacy: During the 2015-16, we implemented a new scholarship initiative in collaboration with campus colleges and our Educational Opportunity Program.  These scholarships were designed to support students who are both in financial need and traditionally underrepresented in study abroad.   We will continue to search for new funding sources and develop campus partnerships to expand these awards.  Additionally, we host quarterly workshops about financing study abroad and scholarships to assist students in budgeting and the scholarship application process.  We will expand our efforts next year to include scholarship essay writing workshops and group advising.
  • Retention & Alumni Engagement:  In addition to expanding academic and financial support to students, we are working to develop a program for study abroad students that will address the context of and better integrate learning outcomes into the international experience.  Although currently without a name, the program will be much like a Global Ambassador Program found at many other higher education institutions that raise the profile of study abroad on the campus while at the same time provide students the means to integrate their study abroad experience into their academic and future professional life.  In addition to the many campus collaborations indicated above, we also work closely with our International Student & Scholar Services staff to find more opportunities for selected and returned study abroad students to engage with international students. 
  • Campus Staff Training: We will expand training we provide to campus staff, particularly campus advisors.  For academic advising, students meet with both college and department advisors at UC Santa Cruz.  Training for campus advisors on how to better articulate the opportunity to and benefits of study abroad will allow greater student reach.
  • International Minor/Track: While it is doubtful that UC Santa Cruz will ever approve international tracks or minors for all departments that would include a study abroad requirement, there are a few departments that do offer this as an option to students.  We will continue to push for greater integration of international opportunities, including study abroad, research and internships, into the academic infrastructure of the campus.
  • International Partnerships: UC Santa Cruz is continually establishing more partnerships with international research institutions.  These relationships will facilitate a number of new opportunities for both faculty and students, including exchanges, study abroad and other collaborations.

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.  The next round of commitment partners will be announced by IIE in May.

“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 launched 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. 

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

# # #