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Mar 04, 2014 11:59 AM EST

Nationwide Campaign Hopes To Double U.S. Students Studying Abroad By 2019

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There are many reasons to study abroad in college -- and there are several clear reasons not to. For one, spending a semester in a faraway land typically costs extra money on top of regularly paid tuition. At the University of Chicago, for instance, it costs an additional $5,050 (includes fully furnished housing but not meals) to study a semester in Greece. At Hamilton College, where I attended, students can apply for financial aid, but Hamilton College would not be considered the norm, for liberal arts institutions are typically more accommodating to abroad programs (smaller class sizes and more flexible schedules help), according to the Huffington Post.

In the United States, reasons against international study have trumped reasons for it more so than other countries, where "hundreds of thousands more international students annually come to the United States to study than the U.S. sends abroad," according to the Huff post.

Citing abroad programs as a crucial, but under-appreciated facet of career enhancement, the Institute of International Education has begun the Generation Study Abroad campaign designed to double the number of American students who annually study overseas (or over-borders) by 2019, the Huff Post reported. Around 300,000 students went abroad during the 2011-12 school year, or 10 percent of all college students. The Institute's goal is to average 600,000 five years from now.

In order to target lower incomes students who may be dissuaded by the price, the IIE intends to raise money for a fund dedicated to providing financial assistance and other resources. They've also pledged $2 million towards the cost of the campaign, including such expenses as advertising, salaries, travel costs, etc.

"Over the next 5 years, Generation Study Abroad will reach out to educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to encourage purposeful, innovative action to get more Americans to undertake an international experience," the IIE wrote on their website. "Putting IIE's resources behind this campaign highlights the commitment to increasing study abroad that has been so much a part of the Institute's mission for our first 95 years."

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