HPU joins coalition to double number of students who study abroad

March 03, 2014

 Generation Study Abroad

HONOLULU — Hawai‘i Pacific University has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. HPU — the only Hawai‘i institution signed on to the initiative at launch — has committed to increasing its number of students who study abroad over the next five years.

Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences. HPU is among the lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world.

Building on its nearly 100-year commitment to study abroad, IIE has committed $2 million of its own funds to this initiative over the next 5 years.

“At HPU, we strive to prepare our students to become globally competent citizens and leaders and believe that a study abroad experience provides students with the skills to do so.  More than 50 students go abroad to more than 21 countries every year,” said Melissa Matsubara, HPU director of Study Abroad & International Exchange Programs.

HPU offers more than 300 program options in more than 65 different countries through direct exchange agreements with partner schools, faculty led programs administered by the HPU, as well as in conjunction with organizations such as AIFS, CIEE, Global Education, GlobaLinks and SIT.

More than 50 percent of HPU students who study abroad receive scholarships, and more than 90 percent of them also apply their financial aid to study abroad, she added.

“As one of the U.S.’s most diverse universities, HPU is committed to providing our students — both undergraduate and graduate — with exposure to and experiences with other cultures and providing students with ever expanding international scholarly and social communities,” said Geoffrey Bannister, HPU president.

More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and several foreign governments, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations, have also pledged to support the goals of the initiative. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively seeking the participation of corporations and the business community. 

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

IIE is launching Generation Study Abroad because the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 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 released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. 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.  

With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues. 

For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, go to: