UST Commits to Boost Study Abroad
The University of St Thomas-Houston has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world.
The University of St. Thomas-Houston and the Study Abroad Office is committed to achieving this goal by implementing new programs targeting freshman students; adding nontraditional destinations; and including different programs such as nursing and the sciences.
Over the years, UST frequently has been ranked in the top 20 master’s schools in the United States for undergraduate study abroad participation in annual surveys by the IIE.
"As part of our commitment to educating leaders of faith and character, UST encourages students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities in order to develop leadership skills in a global setting," said Dr. Dominic Aquila, UST provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
Why Generation Study Abroad?
IIE is launching Generation Study Abroad because the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career.
With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues.
“Study Abroad is a life changing experience every student must have,” said Dr. Ulyses Balderas, director of the UST Study Abroad Program. “I have seen how students come back with greater confidence, and better understanding of the host culture. That international experience is highly valuable in today’s labor market.”
Study Abroad Benefit, Edge in Job Market
According to a recent CNN Travel article on studying abroad, “Finances, time constraints and safety are some of the challenges U.S. students face when deciding to spend a semester or two overseas.”
In the past academic year, about half of the UST students participating in a study abroad program received a partial scholarship to make the trip more accessible.
Globetrotting during or after college could give recent graduates an edge in the job market, which continues to be one of the toughest on record for 20-somethings.
“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” said Dr. Allan Goodman, president of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”
Study Abroad at UST
The UST Study Abroad Office emphasizes the importance of global awareness and believes that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education.
For example during the 2013-2014 academic year, 73 students will participate in short-term and long-term study abroad programs in more than seven countries. This summer, the UST Study Abroad Office is offering faculty-led study abroad programs to: Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico and Italy. Destinations for Winter 2014 and Spring and Summer 2015 will be announced by the end of the Spring 2014 semester.
In addition, UST has bilateral exchange agreements with more than 13 institutions around the world and is currently exploring the possibility to add more. As part of these agreements, students can go for one to two semesters abroad.
UST Study Abroad programs offer invaluable experiences
On a recent UST study abroad trip to Taiwan, the UST student delegation met with Taiwanese President Mr. Ma Ying-jeou in recognition of the successful educational and cultural exchanges between UST and Taiwan.
Students going to Mexico this summer will meet Dr. Miguel Messmacher, undersecretary of revenues, and have the opportunity to ask about fiscal reform in Mexico implemented by the Ministry of Finance. Students will have a chance to visit different companies including the Volkswagen plant in Puebla. Other activities include visiting museums and a field trip the Teotihuacan pyramids.
Generation Study Abroad Makes a Commitment
IIE has committed $2 million to this initiative over the next five years. For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative and a complete list of commitment partners, visit: www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.