Knox Joins National Initiative to Boost Study Abroad Rates
March 12, 2014
Knox College has joined a nationwide initiative to dramatically increase the number of undergraduate students who study abroad by the end of the decade. Knox is among more than 150 colleges and universities participating in the Institute of International Education's Generation Study Abroad project, which aims to double the number of American students studying abroad.
"This call has inspired us to increase the numbers of Knox students taking advantage of study abroad opportunities" and also to focus more on students belonging to groups that are underrepresented in study abroad, said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "Knox has long recognized the importance of global competency and cross-cultural awareness as essential components of learning."
At present, 35 percent of Knox undergraduates participate in study abroad, either in term-length programs or short-term immersion programs, at some point during their time at Knox. By comparison, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students currently study abroad at some point in their academic career, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).
"Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise," said IIE President Allan Goodman. "Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders."
More than 110 Knox students studied abroad -- in 25 countries across six continents -- in 2012-2013 through term-length programs or short-term programs. The countries where they study and become immersed in the culture include Botswana, Jordan, England, Denmark, Spain, and Argentina. In addition, some Knox students study in off-campus programs in the United States, including in Washington D.C. and Chicago, Illinois.
As part of the Generation Study Abroad initiative, Knox and other educational institutions are committing to specific actions that will help meet the goal of increasing to 600,000 the number of American students studying abroad. Other participating institutions include Cornell University, Elon University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, and the University of Notre Dame.
Knox has pledged to increase the combined percentage of students studying abroad in term-length and short-term programs from the existing rate of 35 percent to 60 percent by the end of the decade. Knox also has pledged to boost the percentage of students in term-length study abroad programs from the existing rate of 29 percent to 50 percent.
Specific actions that are part of Knox's commitment include:
- Creating a digital storytelling class for returning study abroad students so they can articulate the value of their experiences. The class is being taught for the first time during the 2013-2014 academic year.
- Identifying more affordable study abroad programs and highlighting those options to students.
- Creating a peer alumni advisor system in which students who have returned from study abroad experiences can engage with students who are considering study abroad opportunities.
(Photos of Knox students studying abroad in Italy, at top of page; in France, at center right; and in India, at lower right.)