International Experience and Skills Deemed Critical for College Graduates Entering New Global Economy

DALLAS, Nov.A 18, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ --A Bright Light Volunteers has joined the Institute of International Education's Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans to gain international experience through study abroad programs. This is one of more than 800 commitments announced by IIE. IIE's Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling and diversifying the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Bright Light Volunteers has long been a champion of equal access to programs that cultivate global leadership and citizenship via experiences abroad. In fact, in 2017, over 75% of their student population served came from rural, Title 1 schools- a segment of the population severely lacking in opportunities to participate in programs such as those provided by Bright Light Volunteers. Under the new partnership, Bright Light Volunteers will continue to take concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad to all students, regardless of socio-economic status or financial barriers. "All of those who have witnessed the life-changing 'shift of perception' that international service learning participants experience while on one of our programs understands that our future is global and that our student population needs access to global service learning programs and opportunities in order to adequately navigate our current socio-economic landscape and become the productive global leaders and citizens that are essential for the future of our global community," Catherine Greenberg, Founder and Co-Executive Director remarks. Generation Study Abroad partners to date include 450+ colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country and around the world, as well as 20+ governments, 50+ education associations, 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. IIE launched Generation Study Abroad in the belief that the number and proportion of today's students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, approximately 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career, according to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade. "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." #### About Bright Light Volunteers Bright Light Volunteers is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, designed to empower program participants and community partners through education and service. Specifically, our programs adhere to global service-learning best practices, which combine community service with both experiential learning in the field and online coursework through our university partner. Our vision is to make the world a brighter place by creating a more peaceful, just, interconnected world where global challenges and opportunities are met by educated, compassionate, global citizens and leaders. About Generation Study Abroad IIE's Generation Study Abroad seeks to significantly increase study abroad participation by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing programs. Generation Study Abroad will sustain an ongoing dialogue about the need for more students from all backgrounds and in all fields to gain international experience. This includes research to identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, communications to share strategies and best practices to increase study abroad, and fundraising to mobilize additional financial resources. About the Institute of International EducationThe Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.SOURCE Bright Light Volunteers
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