Radford University joins effort to double number of students who study abroad

Radford University has joined the Institute of International Education (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. As part of the agreement, RU will also work to increase the diversity of the students who study abroad, ensure quality and remove barriers to participation.

According to Jeanne Mekolichick, interim director of the International Education Center, RU has developed its own six-part initiative to increase from its 2014 phalanx of over 150 RU students studying overseas. Nine faculty-led international trips are underway this summer and other RU students are traveling to Turkey, Greece, Costa Rica, England, Ecuador, Germany, Spain and Taiwan with affiliate programs and providers.

"Joining this international effort is a great thing for the Radford University community of students and faculty," said Mekolichick. "It provides additional resources, like scholarship opportunities and expertise, to strengthen RU's goal of graduating globally-educated students."

RU joins nearly 250 other U.S. colleges and universities from 46 states to ensure that students acquire the international experience needed to advance their careers in the global economy or to collaborate across borders to address global issues.  RU is also committed to the IIE drive to ensure that students from all backgrounds and in all fields of study have the opportunity to gain the valuable experience that comes from international study and cultural exposure. IIE has committed $2 million to this initiative over the next 5 years.

Among the RU activities in support of its Generation Study Abroad commitment are increasing exposure and promotion of international study abroad scholarship opportunities.  The grant awarded to the 2014 McGlothlin Award winners for undergraduate international study was increased from $500 to $1,000; the increase will continue in the future.

Another goal for the IEC is to systematically promote the IEC's exchange and affiliate providers in which RU students can pay RU tuition, fees while studying at one of eight RU exchange programs partners like France’s Blaise Pascal University or Japan’s Kansai Gaidai University. In such programs, Mekolichick said an international experience can be achieved with the addition of the cost of a plane ticket to a student's routine RU expenses.

"Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise," says Allan Goodman, IIE president. "Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders."

RU students can study abroad for a semester, academic year or as part of a faculty-led or other short-term program. RU students can enrich their academic experience and add international study to their resumes during the summer, spring break or during Wintermester. For more on the IEC and the array of opportunities available, visit the IEC online, drop by the office at Cook 105 or call 831-6200.

May 29, 2014