There is consensus that international experience is an important component of a 21st century education.
The good news: In addition to the increasing number of American students participating in for-credit study abroad, more and more students are also actively pursuing international experiential learning through a variety of non-credit education abroad (NCEA) activities.
The not so good news: Despite NCEA becoming a mainstream option for students to incorporate both an immersive international and practical educational experience into their formal studies, and the importance that accurate and comprehensive NCEA data have in informing higher education institutions’ internationalization missions; NCEA has so far been vastly underreported and not fully understood.
Earlier this month, Universities UK held their International Unit's annual summit. We work closely with this organization, which will become a Generation Study Abroad commitment partner, and their newsletter is an excellent window into the issues, concerns, and developments shaping the international exchange field in Europe. For several years Universities UK has asked me to speak at one of the sessions, but I was unable to do so. As it turns out, that was fortunate. Elections are big in the UK this year.
As nearly 1 million international students begin a new academic year at a U.S. college or university, another group of international students is likewise preparing for enrollment at a U.S. high school. As noted in IIE’s report, Charting New Pathways to Higher Education*, in fall 2013 there were over 73,000 international students enrolled in U.S. high schools, and of those, nearly 49,000 were seeking diplomas from U.S. high schools to help prepare them for admission to an American higher education institution.
In most higher education discourse today it is not unusual to hear the claim that the world’s center of gravity is shifting toward the East. Indeed, no region has undergone as profound a transformation as Asia during the past half-century, from the 1970s to the present. Unprecedented economic growth has driven major social and demographic change and institutional reform and, in most countries, has brought about greater stability. The advent of a large middle class, coupled with openness and market reforms driven by economic imperatives, has contributed to greater interconnectedness among Asian states and between them and the rest of the world.
Roughly 15 months after IIE launched the Generation Study Abroad® initiative, it’s time to take stock. Are we making progress? Can we achieve our goal of doubling study abroad by the end of the decade? We have built an impressive coalition of educators, parents, students, alumni, and funders who are pledging specific, actionable goals and tangible financial commitments that will contribute significantly to reach our ambitious goal.
A recent discussion on student mobility and the higher education landscape from a Russian higher education practitioner’s perspective had my research wheels turning. Meeting with the 2014 Fulbright Russian International Education Administrators (RIEA) Program cohort was an educational experience for me: specifically it taught me that mobility data doesn’t always tell us the full story, and that one has to always speak to colleagues in the field to fully understand the context of student mobility.
Christine Farrugia and Rajika Bhandari on
Friday, March 27, 2015
The Institute of International Education has been collecting and disseminating comprehensive and reliable data on international academic mobility since the Institute was founded in 1919. For nearly 70 years IIE has been publishing this information annually as the Open Doors® Report on International Educational Exchange*.
Over the past fifteen years, the number of American students studying abroad has more than doubled. In 1998/99, there were just 129,770 American students studying abroad for academic credit from their home institution, and in 2012/13 that number has grown to 289,408. When you also consider that more than 46,000 American students pursue full degrees abroad and over 15,000 students travel overseas for non-credit work, internships, and volunteering, the current number of U.S. students overseas grows to more than 350,000. What is clear is that American students are increasingly interested in studying abroad and that U.S. higher education institutions are active in providing study abroad experiences for their students.
Launched in 2012, IIE’s research center is now changing its name to the IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact. Why are we doing this and why now? It is not just a matter of semantics. Instead, it reflects the evolving nature of our work and of the emphasis the Institute places on measuring the impact of what we do. While IIE continues to be at the forefront of applied research on international student mobility through Open Doors and Project Atlas, our Center’s work has expanded rapidly to studying the impact of international higher education programs—including scholarships and fellowships—on individuals, institutions, and communities. This shift in our work reflects a growing awareness within the broader field of international education about the importance of assessing and documenting the profound and sustained influence that international education exchange can have.
Last month I met with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, the new Minister of Education and Research in Norway, who was in Washington, DC, for the annual Transatlantic Science Week organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. We spoke about higher education internationalization in Norway and the priorities for academic collaboration with the United States. Mr. Røe Isaksen, who holds a MA in Political Science from the University of Oslo, also spent one year in the United States as a student at Carl Junction High School in Missouri.