Bethany College Joins the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College has joined the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans gain international experience through study abroad programs. This is one of more than 600 new commitments announced by IIE.

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Bethany College pledges to require all graduates from the class of 2019 and beyond to fulfill a Global Awareness core component. Additionally, Bethany will attempt to increase study abroad in all forms (for credit, not for credit, traditional semester, and short-term travel experiences) to 40%, doubling the College’s current study abroad rate by the 2020-2021 academic year.

Under the new partnership, Bethany College will take concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad. A change to the College’s liberal arts core curriculum occurred in the 2014-2015 academic year, which requires all students to take a series of courses that promote cultural awareness, international understanding and a global perspective. The college will also explore the feasibility of offering more short-term study abroad opportunities, particularly in the two- to four-week January and May terms, as well as encouraging more students to engage with academic clubs that travel abroad during spring break.

“Students who study abroad, even for the short term, show benefits,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Katrina D’Aquin. “Experiencing a new culture often provides a fresh perspective, encourages personal growth, and leads to a desire for more travel and intercultural experiences.”

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 The Business & Accounting Club and the Economics Club, pictured in Ireland, are two of many groups that spent Spring Break 2015 abroad.

Bethany currently has well-established affiliations with prestigious universities around the globe. Students have enjoyed semesters in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Japan, Spain and many more countries. Multiple clubs on campus also give students the opportunity to take short-term trips to various countries. The Business Administration & Accounting Club and the Economics Club has traveled to Switzerland, Italy and Dubai in recent years. The Spanish Club is planning a trip to Costa Rica next semester.

As of May 2015, Generation Study Abroad partners to date include over 400 colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country and around the world, as well as 14 governments, 25 education associations, more than 100 international partners, and 100 study abroad, K-12, and social network organizations who have committed to specific goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversity the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.

 “Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says 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.”

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.