IIE: Creating and Making Space in the “Room Where it Happens”

The IIE Higher Education Initiatives Team (L to R): Clare Overmann, Lindsay Calvert, Ashley Stipek, Hannah Galatoire, Cori Crisfield, not pictured: Sylvia Jons

When Jess & I started working on Study Abroad Day, we weren’t really even sure how to get started. IIE was one of the first contacts we reached out to when we realized we wanted to give this thing a go and see what would come of it. We are so grateful to IIE, especially Lindsay Calvert and Ashley Stipek for all of their support, and we are delighted to share this spotlight post highlighting them for what they have done to support Study Abroad Day, and all they are doing for the field of international education.

“Study abroad is for everyone!” says Ashley Stipek, a a Network Engagement Strategist with the Institute of International Education (IIE). “Too often we hear that people think studying abroad isn’t for them – because of their background, their life experience, and the barriers they see between them and leaving their home/present country.”

Throughout their history, IIE has been proudly creating space to bring together passionate international education professionals to ideate and continue to expand and enhance opportunities for international education experiences for all.

Eymmy Alejo-Machado, Generation Study Abroad Awardee, on her study abroad in Rio de Janeiro

Study Abroad Day evolved from a discussion about raising awareness of the impact that study abroad has – not just on individual students or institutions, but also on a more holistic and global scale, during a panel to read Generation Study Abroad (GSA) scholarship applications.

GSA was a five-year initiative of IIE to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of increasing and diversifying U.S. student participation in study abroad. Between 2015 – 2020, over 800 Commitment Partners worldwide pledged to expand study abroad opportunities and participation. Collectively, this initiative made a significant impact in a short period of time.

Ashley shares that “Study Abroad Day gives us an opportunity to come together across teams and focus on how we can elevate and celebrate study abroad. Sometimes it is easy for us in the international education field to think that the benefits of studying abroad are obvious. But study abroad deserves its own day to specifically call out the values of such experiences, share our stories, and hopefully, inspire more people to have life-changing international experiences for themselves.”

La’Shaye Bishop, Montclair State University, received her first passport through the IIE American Passport Project.

IIE has been celebrating Study Abroad Day every year since it began in 2020! Some of their previous celebrations included launching the IIE American Passport Project in 2021, which makes grants to U.S. colleges and universities in the IIENetwork to help Pell-eligible, first-year students obtain their passport. Their goal is to help 10,000 students by the end of this decade to overcome what is typically a primary barrier and start their path to study abroad. It’s not just about providing the money to apply, having assistance with the application teaches them how to approach complex administrative processes throughout their lives. The institutions who receive the Passport Project awards also provide dedicated advising to these students to help them understand the variety of ways to study abroad and find one that best fits their goals and needs. So far, the Passport Project has awarded 80 institutions across the U.S. to support 2,000 students.

After the GSA initiative concluded, IIE decided to continue their centralized effort to share the many resources and information about study abroad that had been and continue to be generated in support of expanding study abroad. For Study Abroad Day 2022, they launched the Generation Study Abroad Resource Hub, organized into collections for students, parents, and educators. Everyone is welcome to use and share!

This year IIE is highlighting the significant impact that study abroad has on employability and developing career skills. #StudyAbroadMatters social posts share key findings from their Study Abroad Matters report. For example, 81% of students who had studied abroad believed it had an important impact on their transferable job skills. Also, Courtney Temple, IIE’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, wrote a blog entitled ‘Study Abroad, Experiential Learning, and Skills Development – Creating the Global Mindset That Will Take You Far!’  about her experience and research on how study abroad links to career opportunities.

IIE will continue to share resources, opportunities, and expertise to empower and enable more and more people to study abroad. Now the IIENetwork membership is the ‘room’ where IIE convenes and supports organizations, institutions, and individuals who are continuing to advance study abroad. Members are global advocates for the power of study abroad and international education, and they are proud to share their expertise and passion to help them achieve their goals.

Follow @IIEGlobal on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as find the Institute of International Education on LinkedIn, to stay tuned to their updates and announcements.

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