IIE Blog Opening Minds
IIE Blog Opening Minds

Idea 11: don’t be afraid to consider radical ideas

By: IIE on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The free and open environment of brainstorming sessions often encourages radical ideas, which are needed to shift the paradigm and go beyond the status quo.

  • Create a system of in-kind donations relevant to travel, such as a frequent flier “bank” of miles housed with IIE.
  • Give students cash—especially to those who have not considered studying abroad—not just “scholarships,” which are often merely tuition or fee discounts.
  • Standardize study abroad fee structures across all institutions.
  • Do away with the GPA requirements for entry to study abroad programs.
  • Integrate the gap- or bridge-year into a four-year curriculum so that students take classes and get credit during this year.
  • Advocate study abroad as mandatory for education majors so all future teachers will have had at least some time abroad and can speak from experience, as well as be better at bringing the world into the classroom.
  • Support national policy change to require foreign language learning K-16 so as to drive greater interest and preparedness for study abroad and intercultural exchange.
  • Advocate for a national call-to-action to America’s youth about the need for them to have an international study experience (e.g., build on First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent “call to action” launched in China in March).

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This blog entry summarizes Idea 11 of 11 “Big Ideas” brainstormed during IIE's Generation Study Abroad Think Tank event in March 2014. They are compiled in the IIE Green Paper, “What will it take to Double Study Abroad?


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For more than nine decades, the Institute of International Education has been at the forefront of international education. The Opening Minds blog is IIE’s take on how this field continues to change. Here the Institute’s leaders will explore international educational exchange, global student mobility, institutional partnerships, international development, and other topics and trends that are shaping higher education around the world.

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