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Waubonsee Partners in Initiative to Boost Study Abroad

Waubonsee Community College intends to send more students overseas in coming years.With the intent of deepening and broadening the educational and cultural learning opportunities available to students, Waubonsee has signed on to partner with the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative.

Launched March 3, Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative to mobilize resources and commitments from a coalition of employers, governments, associations and others toward the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.

More than 150 institutions of higher education from 41 states have already agreed to partner with the IIE Generation Study Abroad Initiative, including large state and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. The initiative has also earned the support of key international bodies, including the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and foreign governments and organizations in China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.

At Waubonsee, the commitment to Generation Study Abroad will include a pledge to triple the number of Waubonsee students annually studying abroad, in destinations that could include France, Ireland, Spain, Costa Rica, Austria and England.

To support this goal, Waubonsee has pledged, among other items, to create awareness and opportunities for underrepresented students to study abroad by increasing study abroad scholarships, hosting study abroad workshops each semester, and creating more opportunities for students to interact with study abroad counselors at Waubonsee’s campuses in Sugar Grove and downtown Aurora. Additionally, the college intends to enhance its web page devoted to study abroad programs, providing prospective study abroad students with information and short testimonials from Waubonsee alumni about their study abroad experiences.

And, Waubonsee intends to create programs to prepare students before their departure and help returning students reenter local society.

“Our college will turn our study abroad program from a passive opportunity into a proactive program, seeking and recruiting students,” said Dr. Melinda James, Waubonsee’s Vice President of Student Development.

Waubonsee will continue to partner with the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs, a consortium of almost three dozen higher education institutions in Illinois and Wisconsin, to facilitate its study abroad programs.

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