Promoting international experiences

The University is pledging to significantly increase the number of students who study abroad.

Studying abroad can be one of the most beneficial experiences during a student’s college career: Students can strengthen their resume while earning credit and learning about different cultures.

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus remains a national leader in providing students an education abroad. In November 2013, the Minnesota Daily reported that the University had the third-most students studying abroad for credit in the 2011-12 school year, citing numbers from an Institute of International Education report.

This semester, the University has pledged to join the Generation Study Abroad initiative, according to a University release. The initiative, which the Institute of International Education launched, aims to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade.

Less than 10 percent of all college students in the United States study abroad during their academic career. That number is significantly lower than the University’s rate, where 32 percent of graduates have had an international experience. However, University officials are looking to have 50 percent of students graduate with international experience by 2019.

The goal is ambitious yet realistic given the University’s success in promoting education abroad. To improve on those efforts, campus officials are working to compile $1.5 million annually for scholarships to support student experiences abroad, UMNews reported.

In addition to the University’s efforts, the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board continues to support the efforts of Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, and Rep. Yvonne Selcer, DFL-Minnetonka, to create and pass legislation that would require more accountability from study abroad programs.

Students, colleges and the workforce stand to gain from more graduates with international experience, and we support the University’s efforts to promote study abroad education.