“An essential college experience”

Full confession here. I didn’t study abroad while in college, and I never really considered it, aside from an occasional fleeting notion. In fact, about the closest I got to an international experience was when the occasional new acquaintance would mistake my school (UConn) for that part of Canada bordering Alaska.

Eventually, I made it overseas, but not until I was almost 30, when my wife and I honeymooned in Florence, Italy, immersing ourselves in the wondrous art, culture and history of the birthplace of the Renaissance.

Edward L. Hutton

Today, more than a decade since my first (and still only) trip abroad, I’m continually amazed by the international experiences of IU Bloomington students and the ever-increasing study-abroad opportunities they are afforded.

Just a few weeks ago, the Edward L. Hutton Foundation generously gave $500,000 to IU to endow a new family scholarship that will provide needed funding for high-achieving students who want to study abroad, but don’t have the financial means to do so. The gift — the largest to date to benefit from a new IU matching program for international studies — was made in honor of the late Edward L. Hutton, a longtime benefactor of IU and the Hutton Honors College.

The Hutton Family Study Abroad Scholarship comes under the mantle of the Hutton International Experiences Program (HIEP), first piloted in 2000 and endowed, three years later, with a $9 million gift from Ed Hutton. Hutton credited his time living and working in Germany during and after World War II with his success in both life and business. The HIEP has benefitted more than 4,000 students since its inception and, with the new funding and IU match, will now enable 600 students to study abroad each year.

Through this and other programs, IU Bloomington has become more international than at any other time in its nearly 200-year-old history. Among more than 1,200 U.S. universities, IU Bloomington now ranks in the top 10 (eighth) in overall number of students studying abroad, according to the most recent Open Doors report released last fall. According to Open Doors 2011 data, a record 2,190 students enrolled in study abroad programs during the 2009-10 academic years. Between 1996 and 2005-06, study abroad by students on all IU campuses increased by more than 307 percent. Currently, one in four undergraduate students on the Bloomington campus has had a study abroad experience before graduation.

These are remarkable statistics, and they speak volumes about just how dramatically study abroad has evolved over in the years since I was an undergraduate, from — in the words of IU President Michael A. McRobbie — “a luxury to virtually an essential college experience.”

If you’re like me and are fascinated by and want to learn more about the international travels of IU Bloomington students, check out these past and present blogs from HIEP awardees.



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