IIE Generation Study Abroad

Generation Study Abroad is an initiative, launched in 2014, of the Institute of International Education (IIE), to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling and diversifying the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.

Generation Study Abroad Photo of students
Photo source: IIE Generation Study Abroad website

Virginia Tech joined as a committment partner in 2017. The goal is to raise the university's study abroad participation from its current rate of less than 17 percent to 23 percent of the student body. 

Before joining Generation Study Abroad, the Global Education Office spent months identifying the barriers that can stop students from taking part in study abroad programs. Similar to what occurs at most institutions in the United States, Virginia Tech students often cite financial constraints or academic rigidity as the top deterrents to studying abroad. In some cases, students may be overwhelmed by the process of finding courses abroad that are applicable to their major and can generate credits for transfer back to Virginia Tech.

impact map of Generation Study Abroad
Photo source: IIE Generation Study Abroad website

Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs, said, “Virginia Tech is committed to expanding study abroad opportunities for our students, to move them beyond being globally competent to being prepared for positions of global leadership. By being exposed to transformational learning experiences where they will be challenged past the inertia of formal daily habits, students will discover new ways of thinking.”

Theresa Johansson, director of Global Education, said the office, with its recently increased staff, will take steps to encourage Virginia Tech students to study abroad, including:

  • Providing greater transparency about costs so students can plan financially.
  • Offering better web links to scholarships both on and off campus.
  • Collaborating with faculty members and academic advisors to better understand what students are looking for.

“We’re also strengthening communication lines with essential units across campus to make the study abroad process clearer,” she said.