Abroad101 Student of the Week #21- Danielle Gille

Image of Italy


image of Danielle Gille

Abroad 101 Student of the Week, Danielle Gille

This week’s Abroad101 Student of the Week Honor is given to Danielle Gille, a sophomore at Viterbo University who is a devoted altruist and dedicated to volunteering in her community! Danielle is majoring in biology and is planning on traveling to Italy this Spring (Assisi and Rome to be exact!). Danielle was selected based on her GPA and involvement on campus to participate in the Franciscan Servant Leadership seminar, which is a week long program. This will be Danielle’s first trip outside of the United States, and she hopes to visit significant historical sites and learn more about one of her role models, St. Francis! Check out her Mission here.

The Abroad101 Student of the Week initiative awards a student who created a Mission for a study abroad program on GoEnnounce with a donation to their fundraiser. Learn more about this partnership from Abroad101 CEO Mark Shay and GoEnnounce co-founder Melissa Davis here.

We’re making weekly donations to #studyabroad fundraisers! We hope you can help us assist these students in reaching their goals to make their travel dreams a reality. Visit here to help with this mission. To find out more about Danielle’s study abroad program in Italy, visit here.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad101-student-of-the-week-0021-danielle-gille/

Good Vibes for Good Times – A thank you for your host family



You’ve been sleeping, showering, and munching away in your host family’s home for a few months and now it’s time to say thank you. Surely by now you’ve learned to say gracias but don’t forget to show your American side too! In this country we clearly LOVE to give gifts to one another so why not share that with the world? And more importantly, why not say thank you to the folks who’ve cooked and cleaned for you for the last few months?

I’ve been wracking my brains for a way to come up with a solution for this dilemma. For many of you out there in the big blue world time could be running short before your flight takes off! I hate the feeling of that kind of pressure. It’s a cross-cultural catch-22 that has no simple solution! You obviously don’t want to be cheap with your ‘thank you’ gift but you also shouldn’t want to empty your life savings in a souvenir shop. The solution? Be thoughtful and share your culture as a way of thanking your host family.

This advice came to me by way of my girlfriend who spent four months in the breathtaking Aix En Provence region of France. She says make it personal and make it cute. If you hail from Vermont, why not bring along some of that Maple Syrup I’ve heard about so much? It should be something that defines your region and something that you can share with each other. Food items are a great idea, but if you’re from Philadelphia, like me, putting a Cheesesteak in your carry-on is nothing but silly. International customs and security might even prevent you from bringing food into the country at all so be sure to check beforehand. Think about photos, books, and souvenirs from your home that you think might look good on a Spanish mantle somewhere in Madrid.

Finally, nothing says ‘thank you’ quite like the words themselves. So make it known how you really appreciate all the opportunities made possible by your host family. Buy a real Thank You card and write your message out on paper. Ink has this funny way of being nostalgic and touching. It’s more personal than an email, and could even ensure that another student in the future gets the chance to experience a foreign land like you did. There’s an awful lot of wrongdoing and nasty vibes in this world and young people of this generation have the chance to spread positivity and good feelings all over the globe through Study Abroad. So pay it forward for the next student and make your host family feel as welcome as you did.


– Mark Melchior

image of mark melchior

Mark Melchior has a B.S. in Television and Film Production from the Park school of Communications, Ithaca College, and is a contributing writer and staff Sommelier at Abroad101. While he’s not telling you how to quell your travel anxieties you can find him at the local record store, stuck in traffic, or quietly eating a slice of pizza. He is based in sunny Los Angeles, CA.

Connect with Mark through LinkedIn. 



Cool Program of the Week – Total Chinese Immersion

image of guy looking at food in china


CET Academic Programs: Harbin – Intensive Chinese Language

Chinese is the most widely used language in the world and there’s no better way to learn it than immersion.

This week’s COOL PROGRAM OF THE WEEK makes each student pledge to speak only Chinese while on the program, which is why we think it’s cool.


Long considered CET’s “gem”, the Harbin program attracts students who are up to the challenge of true immersion into an environment with few English-speaking foreigners. Students abide by a full-time language pledge and explore Harbin, a location chosen for its standard Mandarin, with Chinese roommates. The curriculum, perfect for students with research interests, includes one-on-two drill classes, small group electives and student-designed independent study classes–a student favorite.

Abroad101 Newsletter for Program Providers – Fall 2014



Welcome back!

Abroad101 continues to make strides toward our goal to become a core component of the international education experience.  We enter the important fall recruiting season with great optimism and lots of positive news:

  • Our web traffic is up and continues to be on target, with over 70% coming from the United States and over 40% from universities
  • The number of universities requiring their students to use Abroad101 is once again growing
  • Review volume is on pace to exceed last year’s thanks to increasing numbers of review invitations coming from advisors
  • Social Media syndication is going strong as student reviews, photos and program news draws followers, likes and clicks which in turn generate inquiries
  • Our internal “Best Data” initiative has led to nice growth in search engine positioning, page views per visitor and time spent on site

 As a program provider, we hope you will make Abroad101 a component in your marketing and promotion.  Below are some suggestions on how to get the most out of Abroad101:

Get Listed in Abroad101’s new “Search by Subject”

Abroad101 is pleased to announce that the ability to search for programs by academic subject area is now been added to the site.  Students and advisors can now “search by subject” using our Advanced Search option: http://www.studyabroad101.com/programs  As we continue to expand this new capability, look for subject area portals to come next.  Subject portals will join countries and cities as our major content gateways.  Subject focused directories and content will help us draw students and advisors who are less interested in a particular destination and more focused on a specific area of study.

As a provider we strongly encouraged you to take advantage of this new opportunity by updating your listings on the site.  The 238 subjects “roll-up” in a listing structure (taxonomy) provided by the US Department of Education.  Each program on Abroad101 is limited to 10 fields of study, which for large programs means you may need to choose more general categories or select the most popular academic areas for your US students.

For Abroad101’s existing advertisers, the good news is that there is no extra charge to advertise in subject directories.  Featured Listings, our base-level advertising, will match on subject keywords in the same manner as city and country meaning you’ll get more exposure for the same cost.  For programs whose main selling feature is subject area, these new positions will be a place for them to stand out.  If you are considering advertising with Abroad101, we hope this is what you’ve been waiting for!

More Reviews will Boost your Directory Position

In any of our directories, programs are displayed based on our listing algorithm that favors those with recent reviews.  Since reviews are what draw people to Abroad101, having your programs better positioned in the directories should generate more inquiries.

Over 90% of the reviews on Abroad101 are the result of an invite, 20% of those come from providers.  The “Invite Tool” on your account dashboard makes the invitation process easy.  Simply paste in a list or recent student email addresses and a few steps later, the process is underway.  We recommend you use our Invite Tool as it includes a link back to find the program, sends timely reminders and won’t send a duplicate reminder if the home university advisor already sent an invitation.

Other incentives for you to draw reviews include Cool Program of the Week, which is drawn from new reviews and promoted on our blog and in our Social Media.  The annual Abroad101 Rankings are another reason to draw reviews.  In February, Abroad101 will again release our rankings whose results are compiled from review data.  We expect that the threshold for a program’s consideration will be at least 20 reviews, so drawing reviews will help your programs qualify for the ranking and the subsequent publicity and recognition.

It’s still not too late to invite spring and summer students to submit reviews.  Some have found that waiting a while allows time to be more reflective writing their review.  Letting some time pass may help them generate a well-rounded, thoughtful and complete review.  It’s never too late to invite reviews!

Put the Abroad101 Ratings Badge on YOUR website

One great way to leverage the reviews in your marketing is to put a ratings badge on your program web pages.  Our Program Widget is a small block of computer code that pulls the latest ratings score in an attractive badge graphic on your web site.

This same logic applies to your university partners who may have their own directories of pre-approved programs.  Encourage them to put the Abroad101 Ratings Badge on their pages so that their students can see your results and click to read the reviews.

Installing the badge on a website is not much more difficult than adding a photo.  Simply visit the Program Widget page on Abroad101, ender the size of the badge you want, the name of your program and copy the resulting block of code for your website.  The badge refreshes constantly, so once the code is in, you don’t have to worry about updating it.  Get the code here

Give Your Students “The Study Abroad Advantage”

Abroad101 has launched an initiative called “The Study Abroad Advantage.”  Designed to help study abroad alumni gain an edge in the job market, the project aims to connect students and employers.  Students start their advantage with a capstone summary of their education abroad published on Abroad101 (aka review), which will then be shared with prospective employers who have indicated a bias toward those with an international education experience.

The core of the project is a group on Linkedin called “The Study Abroad Advantage.”  The group was created at the beginning of September and was joined by over 250 students in the first 5 days.  Students in the group link their study abroad review from their Linkedin profile.  Employers and job recruiters are invited to join the group and to network with these globally minded students.  Discussions and announcements further help students with their search and showcase their talents and abilities.

We encourage providers to participate and to engage your alumni in this effort.  If you have an active alumni group, please bring “The Study Abroad Advantage” to their attention and invite them to join.  Your alumni leaders are also welcome to join the group and may be helpful in creating discussions around topics related to using education abroad to get ahead a career.

Abroad101 for University Advisors

Abroad101 is promoted publicly as the first and largest study abroad review website; but behind the scenes more than 30 colleges and universities require their students to complete evaluations in order to receive credit for their education abroad experience.  A growing number of universities think of Abroad101 as software and a way to manage all their international program evaluation needs, an add-on to their enrollment management system and a gateway to their university course evaluation system.  In your account dashboard is a report called “University Approvals” which will show which advisors have selected which of your programs for use in their pre-approved programs list.  While this is far from comprehensive, it is a nice place to look to see who is endorsing you.  It will also give you a chance to get some insight on the university as each university has a portal on Abroad101 from where you can see their full pre-approved program list.  Type the desired university in the free form search at the top of Abroad101, select ones with the university icon/designation and you’ll land on their review summary page.  Click the pre-approved programs tab to see more.

For more on our advisors outreach, you are welcome to read our recent advisors newsletter

The Benefits of Advertising and Abroad101’s Social Media

Abroad101 is a free service to students, their parents, academic advisors and administrators.  To serve these constituencies, we also make our directories open to all providers and foreign universities.  Free Listings are the foundation of our website and allow anyone who offers programs to American college students a chance to reach the target audience of Abroad101.  Our business is funded by advertising revenue designed to provide extra visibility and better results to those who give financial support to Abroad101.  We pledge to give advertisers good value to their investment in Abroad101 and are working to extend the reach of our platform in many ways.

Featured Positions Abroad101 directories provide extra exposure for your programs and eye catching run-of site display ads can highlight other aspects of your offerings and build your brand.  Advertising on Abroad101 is results driven – ads drive traffic to your program page that acts as a landing page, further filtering inquiries and sending you qualified candidates.   Overall, our advertisers report 5% conversion on their Abroad101 generated inquiries and a cost per lead that has built some very loyal partnerships.

We also know that searching the web for programs is not the business it once was and that to succeed today, you need to spread your message to reach students, so Abroad101 is syndicating content through Social Media now more than ever.  4-8 times per day we are feeding program, review, or editorial content into our social media networks and using our leverage in these outlets to highlight our advertisers.  We kick off any new advertiser relationship with program postings in Facebook including a boost based on related keywords.  We push recent reviews and program highlights from advertised programs in very opportunistic and spontaneous ways.  Recent examples included celebrating advertiser programs in Korea for the Chuseok holiday and promoting our clients with programs at sea for International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

If you’re not part of this, see what you might be missing at:





Advertising is per program, per year and we have a variety of ways to work within your budget.  We can take credit cards, invoice you quarterly or pro-rate your first order to match your fiscal year.  If you are interested in a price quote, please contact sales@abroad101.com or download a copy of our advertising guide

Abroad101 on the Road

Abroad101 will attend, exhibit and present sessions at a number of conferences this fall.  We hope to see you at:

  • NAFSA X-XI in Albany, NY
  • NAFSA III in Fort Worth, TX
  • NAFSA VI in Lexington, KY
  • ISEP Conference in Arlington VA
  • CIEE Conference in Baltimore, MD.

 Don’t Forget the Abroad101 Blog

Lastly, if you hadn’t noticed, the Abroad101 blog has come back to life.  There you will see guest postings from professionals in the field, our crowd funding initiative called “the Abroad101 Student of the Week” plus additional news and numbers from Abroad101.  Where else can you find news like this?

  • Emily is the most common first name of students who study abroad
  • University College London is the 2nd most popular direct enrollment institution
  • CEA is the 4th most popular provider.

With 2-3 postings in an average week, it’s worth a periodic visit to blog.studyabroad101.com for some engaging reading and lighter side of the news.

We thank you for taking the time to catch-up on the activities of Abroad101 and for your support.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your comments, suggestions and overall feedback as we work to help everyone get more from education abroad.

Mark Shay, CEO

Abroad101 Student of the Week – #20 Emily Grace

image of emily grace


This week’s Abroad101 Student of the Week Honor is given to Emily Grace, a true humanitarian and a senior at the University of St. Francis. Emily is majoring in nursing with a minor in Spanish. Having already participated in several volunteer mission trips in high school and college, Emily is devoted to helping people from all walks of life.  During high school she traveled to assist Hurricane Katrina victims and then again to help individuals living in the impoverished town of Hopkins Park, IL.  During the summer of 2012, in college, Emily traveled to Sucre, Bolivia to work with individuals in the local daycare centers, hospitals, and orphanages. Then the following spring break, she went to Biloxi, Mississipi to once again assist hurricane victims.

image of Emily Grace - Abroad101 student of the weekNow Emily has been accepted to an International Service Learning Program, to provide nursing care to poverty-stricken populations in Belize. She will travel there this December and is looking for some assistance to help her get there.  Learn more about this incredibly admirable study abroad trip here!

The Abroad101 Student of the Week initiative awards a student who created a Mission for a study abroad program on GoEnnounce with a donation to their fundraiser. Learn more about this partnership from Abroad101 CEO Mark Shay and GoEnnounce co-founder Melissa Davis here.

We’re making weekly donations to #studyabroad fundraisers! We hope you can help us assist these students in reaching their goals to make their travel dreams a reality. Visit here to help with this mission. To find out more about Emily’s study abroad program in Belize, visit here.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad101-student-of-the-week-0020-emily-grace/

Study Away: NYC as a Destinations for Art Students

Just about every college freshman dreams about a semester abroad, most catalogs and university web sites show various options. Surveys of high school seniors show that most expect to study abroad during their college years, but for many students, going abroad is just not possible or practical. Students get immersed in their studies, their extra-curricular activities, efforts to build start their career building, and let’s not forget their social circles. Then there are some students who for a variety of reasons can’t leave the country. They may be foreign students who worry about re-entry or they may have other reasons not to stray too far from home.

For those students who just can’t go abroad, there’s still hope, it is an option commonly called “Study Away.”

Study away is growing in popularity and have none of those hurdles in getting a foreign visa or being overseas at the wrong time. You can study in some pretty cosmopolitan international cities like New York or Washington, DC.   While there’s no visa required to study in New York, wander some of the neighborhoods and you might think you are in China, Israel, Russia or Philippines. Want to teach English, help foreigners transition to US culture, these big cities with large immigrant populations may have some of the same intrigue as ones overseas.

And then there are the cultural aspects of these international hubs. If you are an art student, how could you NOT want to spend a semester in New York for example? New York City is a mecca for art lovers, and with over 100 museums, many of them world-famous. Even if you lived in NYC and visited two museums per week, it would still take you about a year to fully experience the city’s art scene. So what’s a student who has boundless passion for art but limited time in the city to do?

Enroll in a Semester Away program in New York City!;
Below is a list of four NYC destinations that will provide art lovers and art students a representative sampling of what the city has to offer:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image via Flickr by Monica Arellano-Ongpin

You can’t discuss art in NYC without giving The Metropolitan Museum of Art its due. The largest museum in the United States and one of the 10 largest in the world, The Met houses a permanent collection of more than 2 million works. In addition to its myriad artworks and artifacts, the museum offers classes, lectures, concerts, and workshops.

The Met marks the beginning of the city’s Museum Mile, which is a mile-long portion of Fifth Avenue featuring nine museums. On sites like Gogobot, you can find hotels near the Mile so you can devote as much time as possible to touring its venerated institutions.

The Guggenheim

Hosting over one million visitors annually, The Guggenheim is home to an expansive permanent collection of contemporary, early modern, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist work. Its unique cylindrical building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is considered an architectural landmark. The Guggenheim is different from most other institutions because it does not compartmentalize its collection by era or medium. Rather, it presents the works as an integrated whole.


FIGMENT NYC is the result of the efforts of thousands of artistically inclined renegades to catapult art out of the climate-controlled, rarefied air of galleries and into hands of the people. FIGMENT is a free, completely volunteer-powered participatory art event that takes place on Governor’s Island during the summer. This summer, visitors can play mini-golf on a course designed by artists, interact with sculptures, and play in a tree house designed for all ages.

The Cloisters

A branch of The Met, The Cloisters museum and gardens feature medieval European art and architecture. Located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters is a peaceful way to experience old Europe without enduring a transatlantic flight. The building itself was built from various pieces of European abbeys that were disassembled and sent to New York City in 1934. The art, which comes mostly from the 12th to 15th centuries, features notable works like the Cloister Cross and several Flemish tapestries.

If you visit the Central Park Met, you’ll receive a free one-week pass to The Cloisters. Likewise, admission to The Cloisters also grants you same-day access to The Met’s main campus.

It’s hard to do New York City’s art scene justice in one trip, but these four destinations are a great start. From artsy mini-golf to medieval tapestries to seven-ton Egyptian sphinxes, you’ll get a delightful taste of NYC’s best art.

Excited for more, to explore a global directory of study abroad programs in art, we encourage you used the advance search option at Abroad101.


Guest Posting from Victoria Moretti, a professional writer from the UK who contributes to Abroad101 from time to time. Victoria loves to write about businesses and macro economic affairs that move the needle. Her other loves include travel, long walks and flat whites.


Students with Disabilities Studying Abroad

image of woman in wheelchair on beach with arms raised in victory

Frequently Asked Questions:
For the Parents of Students with Disabilities Studying Abroad

From the perspective of a parent, it’s difficult enough when a child leaves the nest for the first time to attend a college or university. It’s especially worrisome when that child has a disability, though and worse still if he or she wants to travel abroad. Parents express a number of concerns such as their child’s safety, whether their child will have financial assistance, and whether their child will receive appropriate accommodations while abroad. We seek to address some of the more common concerns by providing reassurance and advice for finding the appropriate answer for your individual situation. We understand that each student’s case is unique, but we know every student should have the opportunity to study abroad!

● Will my child be safe while abroad?
Safety is every parent’s first concern when their child expresses interest in studying abroad. This is true whether or not the child in question has a disability. Unfortunately, a person with a disability may stand out as a target, a potential victim. This is as much the case within the United States, however, as it is abroad. In some cultures, persons with disabilities are actually less likely to be targeted than other individuals. Regardless, it’s important to be responsible and aware, whether at home or in a foreign country.
There are several tips that can help insure a student’s safety while studying abroad. First and foremost, it is important that a student be aware of the culture to which he or she will travel. As a parent, this knowledge may also help you feel more secure in your child’s trip. Watch the news and be aware of ongoing issues. Consider checking The U.S. Department of State travel warnings.

Discuss your concerns with your child and set up a regular system for communication. A student studying abroad should always tell someone his or her whereabouts, whether visiting a tourist spot or going out to eat. It is also a good idea to make copies of important documents such as passports and driver’s licenses/state IDs and keep them in a safe place in the case of theft. Finally, consider signing up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates from the embassy in the country your child is visiting.

● Will my child lose his/her SSI benefits while abroad?
Under normal circumstances, a person receiving Social Security Income, or SSI, becomes ineligible if he or she spends one calendar month (or 30 consecutive days) outside of the United States. A student, however, may continue receiving benefits while abroad if it can be demonstrated that:
● he or she was eligible to receive benefits in the month prior to studying abroad,
● the period of study does not exceed one year, and
● the absence is for the purpose of conducting studies as part of an educational program
Certain specific documentation will be required to prove the legitimacy of the study abroad program and the student’s need to study in a foreign country. It is advised that you begin this process as soon as your child has selected a program. More information can be found at the following links:
Eligibility for Students Temporarily Abroad: Overview
Eligibility for Students Temporarily Abroad: Case Processing

● Will my child receive financial assistance?
A major concern for many families is how their child will make ends meet while abroad. The cost of living can vary greatly from one country to another. In some instances, studying abroad may be more affordable than spending that same time in the United States. In other cases, fluctuations in exchange rates can turn a semester abroad into a somewhat larger­than­expected investment. It is important to note, however, that many scholarships exist for students interested in study abroad.

Study Abroad programs often offer scholarships, and everyone who applies for the program is eligible to apply for the scholarship as well, often by filling out a few extra documents. There are also international scholarships aimed at students who are planning to study abroad. One such scholarship is the Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
If your child already receives financial aid through his or her home university, he or she may be able to receive that financial aid package while abroad. The financial aid advisor of your home university will be able to provide accurate information.
Finally, many Study Abroad programs offer in­ country assistance in this regard by providing assistance for any program participants who want to work while abroad. For example, those who teach English abroad are sometimes given the option of having a tutoring job to make a little extra income. The bottom line is that, if your child does a some homework, he or she will not be left stranded financially. The Study Abroad and international scholarship programs are there to help.

● My child has never flown before.
The next concern that parents express is how their child will arrive safely at his or her destination. First, any passenger with a disability can contact the airline and request assistance, and someone will be available to help the passenger with luggage, through airport security, to the appropriate departure gate, and on and off the plane. The passenger must be specific about what assistance is needed and the airports where it will be needed. Flight attendants are friendly and are there to provide assistance to all passengers during the flight. Your child can also connect with someone participating in the same program who is willing to provide assistance and book flights together. However, the airline should still be notified of your child’s needs just in case.

● Will my child receive the necessary accommodations?
Another concern that parents express is whether their child will be well­accommodated in the host country. It is your child’s responsibility to ensure this by communicating with the Study Abroad program and advisors as well as the disability support office of the home university. All parties must have a conversation and develop a plan for reasonable accommodations, which will depend on your child’s needs and what the program can provide. It would also be a good idea for the program to connect your child with anyone he or she will be working with in the host country so that they too can be notified of your child’s needs. Finally, your child should research the perceptions of his or her disability in the host country to find out how people will react to him or her, as well as any organizations in the host country related to his or her disability that may be of service. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not exist outside the U.S, so the host country is not legally required to provide the necessary accommodations on that premise, but people everywhere are generally friendly and willing to help out when asked in any way they can. To learn more about requesting and receiving accommodations, visit Mobility International.

● I am concerned for my child’s health.
The Study Abroad program is aware of this concern and may provide health insurance coverage to all participants. One popular company is iNext travel insurance. If the Study Abroad program does not provide health insurance, your child can sign up for iNext as an individual. It is also worth checking if your child’s current insurance will cover him or her while abroad.
Before leaving, your child should also be up to date on immunizations. This can be done at the on­campus health center at your child’s home university or through a family doctor. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a list of any additional immunizations recommended for travel to the host country. Finally, if your child gets sick while abroad, he or she will be well taken care of. The in ­country coordinator is available in case of emergency. If your child is living with a host family, they should be notified as well.

As parents, it is important to remember that your child has considered all of this and may be as anxious as you are. While you can help, you must also remember that it is your child’s responsibility to insure his or her own accommodations, safety, and financial support.

This document was prepared as part of an initiative by Abroad with Disabilities to encourage and support the opportunities of students with disabilities to enjoy the experience of studying abroad. AWD offers no legal advice and each person is individually responsible for ensuring their own safety.

Cool Program of the Week – Travel to China


University of Northern Iowa: Dongguan – UNI Summer Camp in China

Summer camp with college credit, that’s this week’s Cool Program of the Week – If you missed it this year then plan for next summer!


Students are given the opportunity to travel to China and facilitate English context in a summer camp in Dongguan City, China, 50 miles from Hong Kong. Participants will work with elementary to college-aged Chinese students to develop their English language skills while earning up to five UNI credits.

Students also spend a few days touring in Beijing, Guilin and Hong Kong, giving them a true cultural experience. See the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven, visit Yin Ping Shan Mouth Peak and the Summer Palace at the Kunming Lake, enjoy a boat ride down the Pearl River and walk the Great Wall!

What You Need To Know About University Life In the UK

For many people going off to a university, it is the first time they will be leaving home for a sustained period of time. The prospect of being in a new environment, combined with being at a new stage in life, and a new level of education, can be scary and exhilarating. If going to college in a different city in the US isn’t exciting enough, where better to spend a semester (or even your entire course) than at a university in the UK. A recent report on Ranstad Education tells us that there are now 500,000 university places in the UK, which is 30,000 more than were available last year. In other words, if you want to have the bragging rights to studying in a UK university city like London, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh or St. Andrews, there has never been a better time to make the move.

This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Life at college in the UK is a big change. Adapting to life in London or Manchester, for example, is an order of magnitude above life on an American campus. Here are some tips on what you need to know about university life in the UK in order to succeed.

Debts and Student Loans

Most students going to university on both sides of the pond usually end up with lots of student debt. Unless you have parents with deep pockets, you’ll be one of them too. Tuition fees in the UK have risen dramatically in the past years, from £3,000 to £6,000 a year, and in some cases, to the full £9,000 – the maximum the state currently allows. This, combined with one’s living expenses, adds up to a lot of debt.

If you intend on ditching life in the US for a few years studying in the UK, then you can get assistance for this from the government. Do bear in mind that while there have been large scale and extremely vociferous protests at the rise in tuition fees in the UK (the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, nearly lost his job because of it), they can still be substantially lower than they would be in the US. Something worth considering…

It Is a Learning Curve

Going to a university is both exciting and frustrating. If this is your first prolonged stint away from home, it can be a challenge without having your parents around. It is also expected that as you meet other people, you could be self-conscious, doubting your skills and even questioning your academic and social abilities. It can be tough, but you will adjust.

Expect certain commonalities in student life. While fraternities do not exist to the same extent as they do stateside, UK universities are extremely social places. You should be warned, though, that there is a real drinking culture in the UK, more so than the US. It’s worth keeping this in mind. You will be invited out and you will be expected to drink… a lot. If you are by yourself, this can put you in difficult social situations, particularly if you do not want to participate.

It’s All about Balance

If there were one word, which would describe a solid and sustainable approach to student life, it would be balance. You will have to learn how to balance your academic activities with social interactions. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on how to strike the best balance, but most would agree that too much of anything can be destructive. See the above.

One piece of advice would be to seek out and participate in activities you enjoy. There is no shortage of things to get involved in whether you are into sports, travel, politics, etc. Most student unions will run an information office where you can find out more.

You Will Make New Friends

It’s perhaps one of the biggest draws of doing at least part of your courses overseas: making new friends. Most large UK cities are extremely cosmopolitan places. You will be exposed to a wide range of cultures, languages and interests. This is true even outside London, which has become more of a global city in the same ilk as New York.

You won’t be the only American there, which should be reassuring to those who may be more tentative in terms of integrating with foreign cultures. If you do want a slice of home, find a group of American students you can mingle with too.

Remember to Study

It is important to make the most of all aspects of university life; the independence of living away from home, the challenges of your academics, the intense social life, the emotional ups and downs. But remember to study well. Remember the primary reason why you are at university, and remember the sacrifices you have made to have the opportunity to go there.

As a reminder: If you are looking for semester or sort-term programs in the UK, we invite you to search the Abroad101 directory of Study Abroad programs in the UK.

Guest Posting from Victoria Moretti, a professional writer from the UK. Victoria loves to write about businesses and macro economic affairs that move the needle. Her other loves include travel, long walks and flat whites.


Abroad101 Student of the Week #19 – Asheley Buchwalter

image of Asheley Buchwalter

Abroad101 Student of the Week – Asheley Buchwalter

This week’s Abroad101 Student of the Week Honor is given to Asheley Buchwalter who is a sophomore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Asheley is majoring in both psychology and criminology. She plans on attending graduate school where she hopes to specialize in treating victims of traumas. Asheley wants to go abroad to the United Arab Emirates so that she can take special courses not offered at her school. Not only will these credits be factored into her dual baccalaureate, they will also help her pursue her dream of receiving her doctorate in clinical psychology! You can learn more about Asheley’s fundraising Mission here!

The Abroad101 Student of the Week initiative awards a student who created a Mission for a study abroad program on GoEnnounce with a donation to their fundraiser. Learn more about this partnership from Abroad101 CEO Mark Shay and GoEnnounce co-founder Melissa Davis here.

We’re making weekly donations to #studyabroad fundraisers! We hope you can help us assist these students in reaching their goals to make their travel dreams a reality. Visit here to help with this mission. To find out more about Asheley’s study abroad program in the United Arab Emirates, visit here.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad101-student-of-the-week-0019-asheley-buchwalter/