During the 2011-2012 academic year, more than 280,000 American students studied abroad. But that number is not high enough for those who understand the benefits that young students can get from time spent in other countries.
In July, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced that it would join the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative. The initiative is attempting to double the number of American students studying abroad by 2020.
UNL has 550 to 750 students who study abroad every year. The number fluctuates because of economic and international issues, said Dave Wilson, senior international officer and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNL. Wilson said UNL’s goal is to increase the number of students participating in its study abroad programs by 20 percent in the next five years.
Today’s study abroad experiences are much different from programs of 20 or 30 years ago, Wilson said. Instead of being primarily tourist activities, the programs are more academically focused.
“At UNL, we’re focused on not just studying abroad, but also to research, intern or do service abroad,” Wilson said. “That’s why we call our office Education Abroad, not study abroad.” . . . .