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Study Abroad Surpasses Participation and Diversity Goals

A Commitment Partner of the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative, NC State University’s Study Abroad Office surpassed its 2019 enrollment goal one year early. Preliminary data for 2017-2018 shows a 53.6 percent increase in total enrollment in study abroad, with a 129 percent increase in underrepresented students, including first-generation and racial/ethnic minority students. These numbers surpass NC State’s goal of a 50 percent increase in participation overall and among historically underrepresented students.

Research shows that students who study abroad perform better academically and in the job market, but studying abroad seems inaccessible to many students. To overcome this challenge, IIE launched the Generation Study Abroad initiative in 2014 with the goal of expanding and diversifying study abroad.

“Generation Study Abroad allowed Study Abroad to garner support from all levels of university administration,” said Kim Priebe, director of Study Abroad. “The initiative encouraged us to work collectively with university partners to increase support for international education opportunities and awareness around the benefits of study abroad. The support of Chancellor Woodson and Provost Arden in particular proved instrumental to our success.”

“There are few experiences that are transformative as study abroad to a student’s development,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “NC State’s continued dedication to increased study abroad enrollment and scholarship support will ensure that more students have access to these meaningful international experiences.”

Since the 2011-2012 baseline year, additional highlighted achievements include:

  • Awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships to 1,333 students
  • Created 20 new scholarships, including scholarships for underrepresented students
  • More than tripled scholarship funding, including 13 new sources of funding
  • Increased opportunities for STEM students by developing new programs and adding 38 STEM courses to faculty-led programs in 2017-18 alone
  • Implemented pre-departure orientation sessions geared toward racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQI+ students and other underrepresented students
  • Began offering on-site, walk-in advising at Campus Community Centers, including Multicultural Student Affairs, GLBT Center, and Veterans Center

“Two of our primary strategic priorities are to increase access to and participation in study abroad,” said Priebe. “Scholarships have been critical to us reaching these goals. The scholarship funds allow us to prioritize funding to students with the greatest financial need, ensuring access to study abroad for all students.”

Study Abroad’s focus on partnerships with academic units helps to further its Curriculum Integration initiative. These partnerships also serve to develop new programs to give students from all majors opportunities to earn credits toward major, minor, or general education requirements. Increased outreach continues to support efforts to attract students from underrepresented groups.

“We’ve launched a Peer Advising initiative, increased our campus presentations and tabling events with our PackAbroad Ambassadors, and begun on-site advising at some of the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity’s Campus Community Centers,” said Priebe. “By increasing outreach and support to students, we have spread the message that study abroad is for all students.”

Study Abroad is a unit of the Office of Global Engagement