NMC joins Generation Study Abroad initiative

Northwestern Michigan College commits to doubling student participation in short-term faculty-led study abroad by the end of the decade.

Generation Study Abroad logoTRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College 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 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. NMC has greatly enhanced study abroad programming during the past two years and this year sent 80 students to six different countries on faculty-led study abroad experiences. Jim Bensley, a humanities instructor and NMC’s director of International Services and Service Learning, says, “Students who have the chance to experience an unfamiliar culture return with a much deeper understanding of societal structure, political division, historical content, and the way we can work together to solve common problems. In addition, those who take advantage of NMC’s Global Opportunities Scholarship — an educational gift initiated in 2012 by NMC President Tim Nelson and his wife, Nancy Johnson — are able to access funding that allows them to consider an international opportunity early in their college experience and which often helps to establish a future career direction involving additional intercultural interaction.”

Under the new partnership, Northwestern Michigan College will take concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad including:

  • Enhance international curricular integration with international modules, components and dedicated learning activities
  • Increase community funding for the Global Opportunities Scholarship
  • Offer diverse opportunities abroad for specialized areas of study (renewable energy, unmanned aerial systems, water studies, and marine technologies).
  • Partner with established local foundations involved in overseas service opportunities
  • Continue to promote student participation in the Global Endorsement
  • Focus on additional program development with our current partner institutions in China
  • Increase interdisciplinary options with overseas partners, specifically EARTH University in Costa Rica
  • Work closely with the Michigan Community College Association Center for Global Initiatives to increase multi-institutional study abroad opportunities.

“Northwestern Michigan College is excited to be a part of Generation Study Abroad, and we look forward to enhanced collaboration within our institution and at the state and national level to increase opportunities for students to experience and understand the world of their future,” says NMC President Tim Nelson.

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 diversify the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.

IIE launched Generation Study Abroad early last year in the belief that 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 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 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 will include 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. IIE will also hold a Summit on Generation Study Abroad October 1–2, 2015 to engage stakeholders in higher education and all commitment partners.

About the Institute of International Education

The 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.

Release date: July 13, 2015

For more information:

Jim Bensley
NMC Director of International Services and Service Learning
(231) 995-2527



Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination