Using your study abroad experience beyond college

Guest Posting By: Missy Gluckmann, Founder of

Commencement-mania is here! It is that timeless season when students suffer from exhaustion, senioritis, relief and Facebook photo album induced nostalgia. Family and friends appear for celebrations, money is gifted and the job search is officially underway!

Students reflect on those moments that are impossible to replicate – the first time meeting a roommate, that first cafeteria meal (who will I sit with?), and the first class that required reading books and not chapters. For some, this will also include the first time getting on a plane to experience an academic program abroad. Memories will spill over…that first academic field trip on foreign soil, when you made your first “local” friend, the day you successfully ordered a coffee in a new language, and the first time you really understood that culture makes a difference. There were endless moments of learning and many were captured in your study abroad evaluation.

Being home for some time now, you have likely experienced re-entry shock – that feeling of discomfort, awareness, re-adjustment and sometimes plain ‘ol confusion that your home country is a bit harder to understand than you ever imagined! Please don’t worry – everyone goes through some form of re-entry – whether it is the mild kind (I miss the breakfast I ate abroad every morning) to the more difficult variety (I’m feeling straight up depressed and want to be abroad again NOW!) These videos may offer some comfort as you continue to reflect on your time abroad.

And now you’re home, constantly reminded that higher education is highly revered in the US. Being able to announce the job that you landed as a result of that degree or the graduate school that you were accepted to (hopefully, with a scholarship to enhance family bragging rights) is a rite of passage. The pressure that comes with the questions you hear daily – “You haven’t gotten a job yet?” or “Where are you interviewing?”- can make diving head first under the nearest rock seem like a completely reasonable move.

However, there are perks of this “down time,” despite the challenges of defining the next chapter of your journey. Without mainstream campus culture’s requirements of all-nighter study sessions, you now have time to reflect upon your education abroad experience and to revisit your published evaluation at Reading back to your program review can provide some powerful memories. You can re-examine what you learned abroad and how those lessons can help you as you consider the path ahead.

Reflecting upon your own written words from your review and your own re-entry, you are able to consider how you’d answer those same questions today. While revisiting your review, I’d recommend taking out a piece of paper (or journal, if you write in one) and asking yourself these questions:

1)    Where have I grown the most?

2)    What three words would I use to describe how I’ve changed as a result of this experience abroad?

3)    What three skills learned abroad am I most of proud? Why?

4)    What data and skills learned from academic classes and experiences abroad am I still applying in my daily life?

5)    Am I satisfied with my level of knowledge from my academic program abroad or do I wish to pursue more?

6)    If applicable, have I continued developing my host country’s language skills? If not, what can I do to move that learning forward?

7)    What critical incidents abroad would I process differently now with some time and space behind me?

8)    How have those lessons impacted who I am and how I respond under pressure?

9)    What would I expand upon in my written evaluation if given a second chance to write it?

Reflecting on your review through these types of questions provides an opportunity to develop new goals. For example, if you reached a low intermediate level of Spanish abroad, perhaps now is the time to sign up for a language exchange in your community or to take a free online language program such as at www.duolingo. Or if you’ve discovered that you really enjoyed learning about your host country’s indigenous population, you may want to explore diversity more at home through volunteering or watching documentaries on the subject from your local library.

Your study abroad review, if thoughtfully written, also creates an opportunity to market yourself during networking and interviews. For example, when someone asks you about your time abroad, you can share your reflection driven “elevator speech” and offer to share your published review to illustrate your writing and analytical skills. This dialogue also creates a natural opportunity to ask for a business card or a LinkedIN invitation.

Reflection is an art form and your skillfully written words from your education abroad review are the canvas where you chose to paint your initial thoughts of self and skill developed as a critical part of the journey of crossing cultures. As you march boldly into the world seeking a job or the next level of education, remember to use the wisdom gleaned from experiences abroad. They can be a bridge to creating more opportunities than you ever imagined!

About the Author: Missy Gluckmann is the Founder of Melibee Global, which aims to elevate the discussion about education abroad, culture, diversity and the lifelong path to global citizenship by offering trailblazing tools, speakers and professional development for the global education and travel communities. Raised in New York, Missy has lived abroad three times and traveled to dozens of countries. Missy currently resides in North Carolina and experiences culture shock there on a daily basis! She can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

Abroad101 Newsletter – Late Spring 2014




It’s a busy time of year those of us working in study abroad; students returning from spring semester abroad, new students for the summer term, production of promotional material for the next season of recruiting and the ritual of marketing and advertising budgets. Abroad101 looks forward to being included in each of these steps and thanks you for taking a few moments to review our progress.

Reviews are Good for Students
This is a message you’ll be hearing a lot more from Abroad101 – published reviews are good for the student! A well-written published review is a testimonial of a student’s experience abroad and should be used to the student’s advantage well after they return to campus. A well-constructed thoughtful review will give students an edge with employers, grad schools, and in other potential post-graduate opportunities. Reviews provide an opportunity to showcase the student’s writing, analytical skills and allows the student to make personal statements about the impact of their experience and personal discoveries. For the student, the power of a published review comes from both a reflection of the past and a pledge to the future. Links to it from resumes, cover letters and online profiles (like LinkedIn) should help the student better leverage the abroad experience in the future.

For the students leaving on summer programs, we suggest you include mention of the review process as part of the pre-departure orientation and in early stages of advising. Getting them thinking about reviews early in the term is never a bad idea!

Get More Reviews Through Tools in your Abroad101 Providers Account
As students complete their time abroad, we encourage you to invite them to tell their story and submit program reviews to Abroad101. Using the “invite tool” from your Abroad101 account portal is the most effective way to draw reviews as the links in our email messages make it easier for students to find their program. The system also tracks their progress sending them timely reminders to complete the process, if needed. Our invite tool produces much higher completion rates than your own email reminders or newsletters, plus using it will eliminate duplication if university advisors have already invited their students to submit a review.

Update/Bolster your Directory Listings on Abroad101: Get us Photos – “Search by Subject” is coming
Whether you participate with free or paid listings, summer is a great time to update your directory entries on Abroad101. Next to reviews, photos are the best way to improve the performance of your listings and photos of students in action are the most popular. Each listing on Abroad101 has one feature photo position; a thumbnail of the image shows in the directory and a larger version on the program page. You can upload a photo to this position and add up to 10 others for a slide show for each program through your account login/portal on Abroad101.

Today, most users navigate the site using city and country search options and links. Some users are drawn to the advanced search feature when looking for program options. This summer we will rollout a “search by subject” enhancement that will give users another tool to find programs that meet their academic area of interest. Updating your listings to include these details will help students find your programs. The directory features are available to all providers with free or paid listings.

The Student Lead API is coming
It’s been a few months since we began sending student inquiries directly to providers, and the response has been great. Student feedback has been positive too as this new process gets prospective students a quicker response. For our advertisers, soon the process will be even faster through our Student Lead API. This summer, the gateway will be opened and specs will be released detailing how you can get the lead data posted right into your CRM system when a student completes the form on Abroad101. Then, with a little bit of ingenuity you’ll then be able to auto-respond and communicate with the student seconds after they’ve sent the inquiry. That should impress students and really improve conversion rates!

Let us be Your Exclusive Review Provider
Our review management tool was designed for university advisors, but with a little modification we can make it provider friendly too. Our system is very flexible and our tech team very capable, so in exchange for us processing all your student reviews, we’re willing to offer some added features and functionality. There may be some modest cost, depending on your requirements but nobody knows review tools like Abroad101 – let us build something for you!

Did you know that over 30 universities require their students to complete reviews on Abroad101? Administrators at these universities are provided with extra tools to compare and report their students’ progress. Students meanwhile would love to have to do only one review and have it available to both the university and the provider. Our second API, scheduled for fall release will look to pass reviews to and from the Abroad101 system. It will make the single review a much smoother process and give providers a better way to display Abroad101 reviews on your website.

You can see the list of the standard set of 37 review questions here:

Doing our Part to Grow Study Abroad
Abroad101 is in a position to help expand participation in education abroad. By publicizing our ratings, rankings and reviews we give students and their families a sense of security in going abroad. With messaging centered on the future benefits of a well-crafted review, we will push the virtues of the international experience to employers, helping dispel some of the negative stereotypes of study abroad.

Another initiative is designed to provide direct support to students through a partnership we launched with GoEnnounce, an education oriented crowd-funding platform. The initiative sponsors one student each week, showcasing their mission to study abroad and proving them with a small amount of seed money. In turn, the families and supporters of the student will be asked to also contribute. Using reviews as an education tool, we intend to show those in the student’s direct circle some real life examples of the chosen program’s impact on similar young adults. When you see a link for our student of the week, please click it and please consider a modest contribution to help bring one more student abroad. One by one, step by step, we can build the numbers of students abroad and break down barriers that keep students from believing they can participate. Your contributions mean more than money; they are votes of confidence that ripple out to that student’s circle of support.

Your can read more about this initiative in the Abroad101 partnership with GoEnnounce press release –
or the “Crowd Funding for Study Abroad” article in The PIE News.

Visit the Abroad101 booth (#1048) at NAFSA
If you are headed to NAFSA, please visit the exhibit hall and visit Abroad101 booth to pick up a few of the soon to be collectable Abroad101 T-Shirts. Not only will we have the usual heavy-duty men’s style, we’ll have lots of WOMEN’S cut T-Shirts. Bring some home for the interns and they’ll be sure to update those free listings!

Stop by and say hello to both Mark and Sherry Shay, you’ll find us in booth #1048 at the back of row 1000.

Press Release: Abroad101 and GoEnnounce Launch Student of the Week Sponsorship

Two Pioneering Websites Join to Help Students Fund Their Study Abroad Dreams

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 08, 2014

GoEnnounce, a platform for students to “ennounce” and track their educational achievements and fundraise for goals, and Abroad101, the world’s first and largest study abroad review website have launched the “Abroad101 Student of the Week” initiative, designed to help more students study abroad. The partnering education startups are tackling one of the primary barriers to study abroad– cost.

Each week, a student who created a “Mission” for a study abroad program on GoEnnounce will be selected. Abroad101 will contribute cash to the selected student’s fundraising efforts and promote that student’s GoEnnounce page through Abroad101’s connections in the study abroad field. The student’s “Mission” will link to their desired study abroad program’s reviews on Abroad101 allowing the student’s followers (friends and family) to read and gain insight as to the student’s choice.

The first student selected as the “Abroad101 Student of the Week” is Natalie Bahr, a sophomore at Concordia University Texas, who was accepted to an intensive study abroad program in the heart of Shanghai, China. She will immerse herself in the culture and society, while picking up eight credits towards her degree. With dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, she thinks the knowledge and skills she will acquire on this trip will make her an even more effective teacher.

Melissa Davis, co-founder of GoEnnouce stated, “This project is an example of the power of an academically focused social media platform, in which a student’s followers can not only track the progress of the student, but also help contribute to the student’s goals.” Using a practice commonly referred to as “crowdfunding”, GoEnnounce gives students the tools to share a fundraising “Mission” with their network, and then collect donations online from the “crowd.” According to Davis, “The Abroad101 Student of the Week project will help many ambitious, hard-working students achieve their lifetime goal of studying abroad. Partnering with a well-connected company like Abroad101 will not only help individual students, but we also expect it to motivate additional students to start their own fundraising “Missions” to study abroad.”

Abroad101’s CEO Mark Shay points out that many parents and family members who may not have gone to college or studied abroad themselves have a hard time understanding the benefits of an international immersion. According to Shay, “We have more than 20,000 reviews on Abroad101, and each tells a story of a young person’s success, individual achievement and self-improvement. By bringing these experiences to the attention of future students and their supporters, we increase the awareness of the benefits of an experience abroad. Former students become virtual role models for future students and this helps draw friends and family to join the circle. It’s a very positive application of technology and social networking to help the dreams of tomorrow’s generation,” said Shay.

About Abroad101
Founded in 2007, Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website. Focusing on American college students looking for a semester or term abroad, this innovative platform connects past and future students, parents and advisors and program providers through its market-leading online evaluation tool. Abroad101 grew from one partnership at Tufts University in 2007 to over 215 college partnerships today. The Abroad101 directory of study abroad programs is the most comprehensive database in the field today. Click to learn more about Abroad101’s Study Abroad Programs, Rankings, Ratings and Reviews

About GoEnnounce
GoEnnounce gives students a place to tell their educational stories with their family, friends and mentors. It is a way for students to track and share their achievements, projects, and goals with their network to get the encouragement and financial help they need to succeed. All students’ school and extracurricular ‘ennoucement’ updates are saved in a social e-portfolio environment. A student’s followers can respond with likes, comments and even rewards into a college savings account. At anytime, a student can launch a fundraiser, to collect donations for goals and expenses. Click to learn more about the GoEnnounce’s social e-portfolio

Advisors and Providers: The Abroad101 Study Abroad Review Questions

Abroad101 has a 37-question survey of study abroad programs that has grown to be an industry standard. This review process is required at more than 30 universities and encouraged by providers and advisors at many others. As a standard set, these questions also give advisors and providers a means to benchmark their students against that of other institutions. In the spirit of creating best practice in the field, Abroad101 offers these time tested questions as a template for anyone looking to establish a review process for education abroad, we do hope that you will use our free tool to manage this process.

To start a study abroad review evaluation visit:

Download a pdf copy of our evaluation.


Advisors: Reminder to begin the Study Abroad Review process

Now is the best time to invite students to submit their study abroad program reviews. To manage this process we hope you will use the free service from Abroad101.

It’s Good for the Student:
Program reviews are not only good for home university advisors and program providers, but they are good for students. A well-written published review is a testimonial of a student’s experience abroad and should be used to the student’s advantage well after they return to campus. A well-constructed thoughtful review will give students an edge with employers, grad schools, and in other potential post-graduate opportunities. Reviews provide an opportunity to showcase the student’s writing, analytical skills and allows students to make personal statements on the impact of their experience and personal discoveries. For the student, the power of a published review comes from both a reflection of the past and a pledge to the future. Links to it from resumes, cover letters and online profiles (like LinkedIn) should help the student better leverage the abroad experience in the future.

It’s Good for the Advisor:
Thorough program reviews provide the ideal resource for good advising. Reviews that cover all aspects of the experience from pre-departure preparation to student accommodation, academic environment and safety can help the advisor stay current on program quality, the level of provider service and serve as an indicator to the success of future students. It is our experience that most students will resist surveys (it is human nature), so it is the advisors job to insist, because it is good for the student.

A published review with photos and personal statements and can lead the student to a degree of closure and as well as help them think about how their experience will benefit their future. Students will later come to realize the investment in time was well worth it, and may even thank you for it. Once the process gets established, future students come to expect the same and reviews will become part of the education abroad experience at your institution. In less time than it takes to reclaim their luggage from their return flight, a review charts a big step forward in their post-abroad future. At Abroad101 we provide the field’s best review management platform for advisors and we offer it free of charge.

It’s Good for the University:
More than 30 colleges and universities require their students complete a review on Abroad101. This gives them data for each student with the ability to export reviews as well as look at compiled statistics on performance. With reviews administered by Abroad101, university administrators now have a tool to measure the success of their study abroad enterprise and trend it over time.

It’s Good for the Provider:
Reviewing providers by individual program pushes the field to be attentive and accountable, and is a pro-active step to assure quality. The 37-question Abroad101 review looks at all aspects of the abroad experience and lets those who are with your students know that someone is looking and somebody will be reporting on their performance.

Abroad101 is a Name You Can Trust:
Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website. Now under the leadership of experienced professionals, you can trust us as a resource to help improve the field of education abroad. Abroad101 is the result of a lot of feedback from the field and now after 5 years of operations we not only have the most advisor friendly system, we have over 20,000 student testimonials published. Abroad101 has state-of-the art design, reliable data systems that are always monitored and a focus on service, so please join us.

Start Inviting Students Today!
If you already have an account with Abroad101, we remind you to use our “invite tool” to send your returning students their invitation to complete their Abroad101 review. Using this tool makes it easier to find their program and sends them timely reminders to complete the process. Our invite tool produces much higher completion rates than other email reminders.

If you think you have an account and lost your access (login or password), send an email to and we’ll get you active again.

If you don’t have an account, the process is Fast – Free and Easy. No contracts, service agreements or lengthy set-up. Simply send a request by email to and you’ll quickly be online. Please include your university email address and your job title and we’ll send you access to your portal and instructions to get started.

Talk to Us!
Most of the functions and features of Abroad101 originated from feedback from students, advisors and administrators. We are eager to build a better study abroad experience through Abroad101 and welcome further comments and suggestions. We also are more than happy to walk you through the site with an online demo or a phone call. PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact us:

By phone: +1-212-321-0928
By email:
In Person: At NAFSA, booth #1048

Follow us on:


Thank you,

Mark Shay

Student Advice: How to Settle in quickly during your first week at university

Guest Blog Post:
For those studying abroad for a semester you’ll no doubt want to settle in as quickly as possible to get the most from your time at university, and those eager to get their fill of overseas student life will no doubt be ready and raring to go.

However, when you finally get a few minutes to relax from the perils of filling in forms, organising your student accommodation and working out where the nearest bar is, reality of the whole situation may kick in and it can be quite nerve wracking. Knowing what to expect and having the standard worries and concerns can get a bit much.

During your first week you’ll be meeting people, trying out all the new places and learning all about your course. Therefore making the most of this week is a really good idea to set yourself up for the rest of your time there.

Here are a few of our tips for making your first week one to remember for all of the right reasons:

1) Be open to new things
There will be so many opportunities to try new things in your first week so you should try and be as open as possible to trying new things to get the most out of your experience! A great way to bond with your new housemates in your student flats in London with Urbanest and other great halls is to check out all the local clubs together or all the themed nights out. This can be a great ice breaker and you’ll get to learn all about the amazing night life in your new city. If you hear of something that doesn’t normally sound like your thing, give it a go as it can be a great opportunity to meet people and surprise yourself.

2) Do your best to avoid the dreaded ‘freshers’ flu’
Freshers’ flu is said to affect 90% of students during their first few weeks at uni even when it’s not Freshers’ Week! Do your best to avoid becoming one of them by keeping your strength up, eating lots of fruit and vegetables and taking vitamins. Freshers’ flu is usually due to lots of alcohol consumption so don’t be afraid to take a night off from all the partying if you’re feeling unwell, and make sure you get plenty of rest. There’s more on freshers’ flu here.

3) Try to avoid spending all your money
Whilst it can be tempting to have a massive blowout of your bank balance during your first week, it will be less exciting when you have to survive on next to nothing until your next loan instalment. Aim to set a budget and don’t take your bank card with you on nights out as alcohol can make you feel surprisingly generous, and you don’t want a nasty shock the next day when you check your account!

4) Get involved with societies
Every university has a huge amount of different societies available for you to try and they’re a fantastic way to meet new people. Moving to a new university in a new country can be daunting but getting involved with clubs and societies can really help you settle in. Don’t worry about whether there’ll be something you enjoy – trust us; there will be!

Steve Fleming is a guest contributor from London as you can no doubt tell by his English!