North­eastern has received a grant through the U.S. Depart­ment of State to leverage its global lead­er­ship in expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion by helping three uni­ver­si­ties in Latin America and the Caribbean bol­ster their study abroad and stu­dent exchange programs.

The grant, spon­sored by the San­tander Uni­ver­si­ties divi­sion of San­tander Bank, is part of the Obama administration’s 100,000 Strong in the Amer­icas ini­tia­tive, which aims to strengthen bi-​​national rela­tions and better pre­pare young people for the 21st-​​century global work­force. The goal of the ini­tia­tive is to increase the number of U.S. stu­dents studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000 by the year 2020 and send an equal number of Latin Amer­ican and Caribbean stu­dents to learn and train in the U.S.

We are delighted that North­eastern Uni­ver­sity received a grant through our sup­port of Pres­i­dent Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Amer­icas ini­tia­tive,” said Eduardo Gar­rido, director of San­tander Uni­ver­si­ties US. “The 100,000 Strong pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents to be leaders in our global work­force by broad­ening their knowl­edge of other coun­tries and cul­tures. As a local bank with a global pres­ence and a com­mit­ment to higher edu­ca­tion, we under­stand the value study abroad pro­grams have in enriching stu­dents and our economy.”

North­eastern will partner with three institutions—the Uni­ver­sity of the Andes in Chile, the Fon­dacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, and the Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies in Trinidad—to help them build the foun­da­tion nec­es­sary to sus­tain and grow their expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion pro­grams long term. This includes cre­ating online man­uals and webi­nars to help these insti­tu­tions strengthen their study abroad and exchange pro­grams, as well as designing work­shops that address stu­dents’ needs on topics such as housing, health, and safety.

Uni­ver­si­ties play a crit­ical role in preparing global cit­i­zens,” said Joseph E. Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern. “Northeastern’s lead­er­ship in expe­ri­en­tial learning at the nexus of higher edu­ca­tion and the global economy gives us a unique oppor­tu­nity to help other insti­tu­tions do the same.”

Sup­ported by the grant, North­eastern will also create an online peer-​​advising net­work of “vir­tual embassies,” in which stu­dents inter­ested in study abroad at the three partner uni­ver­si­ties could gain insight from stu­dents who’ve already par­tic­i­pated in inter­na­tional learning expe­ri­ences. Those vir­tual embassies, mod­eled after Northeastern’s suc­cessful stu­dent ambas­sador pro­gram, would be linked to the State Department’s existing stu­dent advising cen­ters in those countries.

I believe the State Depart­ment rec­og­nizes North­eastern as a leader in global edu­ca­tion, as evi­denced by the wide range of inter­na­tional expe­ri­ences our stu­dents can engage in,” said Susan Ambrose, senior vice provost for under­grad­uate edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­en­tial learning. “Through this grant, we are working to leverage our global co-​​op pro­gram to develop and strengthen inter­na­tional insti­tu­tional part­ner­ships around the world, to enable more of our stu­dents to study abroad in ways that enhance their learning skills.”

Under Pres­i­dent Aoun’s lead­er­ship, North­eastern has made a strategic deci­sion to expand its sig­na­ture co-​​​​op pro­gram glob­ally. Since 2006, the uni­ver­sity has increased global co-​​​​op oppor­tu­ni­ties by 345 per­cent. Stu­dents have par­tic­i­pated in expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties, including co-​​​​op at Northeastern’s 3,000 employer part­ners, as well as study abroad and research in 114 coun­tries and on all seven continents.

North­eastern is one of nine higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions in the United States and Latin America to receive $25,000 grants from San­tander Uni­ver­si­ties for study abroad and exchange pro­grams as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Amer­icas initiative.