Why require student reviews? Ten ways program evaluations can advance study abroad on your campus

why require reviewsMireille McLaughlin of Wellesley College and Stacey Thebodo of Middlebury College joined
Mark Shay of Abroad101 in a session to help study abroad advisors and managers understand how publishing reviews can boost education abroad on campus.
Presented on Wednesday October, 29, 2014 the session description read:

Education Abroad program evaluations are increasingly important in the eyes of administrators, risk-managers and university supervisors.  Students, parents and academic advisors look for similar information in the form of program reviews.  Combining the two into a unified platform that is required by all students is an ideal and is happening at a growing number of institutions.  By engaging the students to be the center of a review platform, a number of education abroad goals can be achieved.  This session looks at ten ways that program evaluations can be used to serve the many stakeholders interested in education abroad.

Session slides are located here –NAFSA conference presentation Why Require Student Reviews

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND. THAT IS THE QUESTION

Restaurant signboardPerhaps you’re sitting there staring at the computer worried about money. I know the feeling because I just graduated school a few months ago. But if your money troubles are study abroad related than you have a unique situation to exploit. For my study abroad bound friends it’s likely you’ve discussed where you’ll want to visit that isn’t where your host family resides. One former study abroad student I know was able to meander from France, through the Netherlands, and into Italy’s Venizia (or Venice). Traveling outside of your study abroad city is definitely to be encouraged.

Every town, whether you’re traveling in the vast Australian Outback or the frigid city of Moscow, has a little bit of a different flavor. I can’t stress enough that Study Abroad is your chance to explore and step outside of your comfort boundaries. Sounds an awful lot like a college acceptance brochure, eh? In lieu of your chance to spend freely and dabble in the not-so-oft seen treasures of this world I’m offering just a few tips of how to save cash so you can spend it wisely.

First tip is to plan way in advance. Fortune was not a favor of the man who dropped everything to go sailing from Spain. Planning ahead does the favor of telling us where we’ll already be spending money so we don’t have to constantly count how much is left for fun things. Keeping a watchful eye on your particular currency exchange rates will help too.

Let’s talk about food. I love it and I love going out to eat. My Koreatown home in Los Angeles offers many Korean BBQ’s and Taco trucks that I’d love to indulge in every afternoon and night. Yet, much like most people, I must brave the kitchen and make my own confections in the interest of saving a little cash. This should be your norm as well. Just go to the grocery store instead of going out to eat every night on vacation. Let’s say you’ve made it to Paris for the week. Good luck paying for French wine by the glass and little omelets every morning without going broke. Do yourself a favor and maybe look up some localized recipes and explore the town market before opening your wallet for a little extra fromage.

So you’ve got an itinerary and a way to save on food. But where to stay? As a student you probably won’t be staying in any Trump hotels or fancy shmancy accommodations. That is, unless you feel like and can, spend the money on it. For those of us tight on a budget but oozing with adventurous sentiments we can always go to hostels. I know Eli Roth had his version of one but in reality they aren’t so bad. You’ll meet some interesting travelers, take selfies in the shared rooms, and even have a little kitchen to cook your own meals. That way when the weekend comes you’ll have fun times lined up and cash to back it.

– Mark Melchior

 

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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. 

 

Abroad 101 Student of the Week #0025 – Alexandra Van Cleef – Studying in Seville Spain

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Abroad101 Student of the Week, Alexandra Van Cleef

Our abroad 101 winner this week is Alexandra Van Cleef, a junior at Texas Christian University. Alexandra is currently double majoring in strategic communications and Spanish, with a minor in business. She stays very active at TCU, being an event planner for her schools student government, highly involved in the community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and as a resident assistant! Her future goals include a career in International Affairs, starting off in Washington D.C. in the State Department, and then eventually moving abroad to work on policy between America and other countries.

Alexandra has recently been accepted to study abroad this spring at UPO in Seville, Spain. This trip will not only enhance her Spanish speaking skills but also will give her the opportunity to travel Europe and explore various cultures. While in Seville she will also be matched with a local Spaniard who wants to learn English, this way they can both improve their language skills. We think this educational trip is a great opportunity for Alexandra and can’t wait to see her adventures! You can check out Alexandra’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 studying in Seville, like Alexandra, visit the Abroad101 program page.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad-101-student-of-the-week-0025-alexandra-van-clef/

How to find the perfect apartment when studying abroad

how to find the perfect apartment - student mundialMillions of students leave home every year heading for colleges and universities around the world. Almost every one of them goes through a difficult ordeal in searching for accommodations far from home. Some exchange programs include housing, whereas others do not, leaving you to find a place independently. Well that’s a great thing, because it gives you freedom to choose where you want to live and with whom. Let’s go through all the ins and outs (and what have you’s) of finding the perfect flat when studying abroad!

Why live off campus?

The first decision to take. The advantage of living on campus is that you don’t have to commute, you always have your buddies around, hopefully there’s a great student vibe with lots of activities going on and sometimes it’s cheaper than renting your own place. However, some campuses are located outside the city center, the dorms aren’t always in such great shape, you don’t get the same freedom as living by yourself and on occasion you might get matched up with unpleasant roommates.

But! if you rent a place by yourself, you really get a taste of grown-up life. If you’re still living on campus in the US, it’s a great experience to have this trial of living on your own. You also have the perk of renting a place together with friends or your future classmates, thus avoiding nightmare roommates. You can choose any location you want, whether it’s a cool hipster neighborhood or if you’re looking for a more exclusive and quiet area, it’s all up to your preferences (and budget of course).

Getting started on your flat hunt

First of all, do your research about the different neighborhoods of the city. Either buy a city guide, borrow one from your college library, or search for your destination on WikiTravel. They have free neighborhood guides for many cities around the world, giving you a rough idea of what’s your best fit.

Make a budget to determine how much you can spend on rent. Don’t forget to consider factors such as transport: even if you spend less on your flat, you might end up paying more in the end if you must buy a bus pass or frequently must cab it home after rowdy late nights out.

Next, start looking at what’s available in your new home town. Here are a few options:

  • Check out Classifieds sites like Craigslist where Landlords can list available rooms, but be careful of fraudulent advertisements.
  • Look for different groups on Facebook (try searching for “Apartments in Barcelona” or “apartments in London” and variations thereof.
  • Real Estate Agents offer strong local knowledge since they have staff in the area. They are usually more suited for students who are already in the city. It’s hard to find or use their services until you’ve actually arrived. Keep in mind that you may be charged a commission for their services.
  • Conside a student focused website like Student Mundial that only shows you budget-friendly alternatives, lets you contact the landlord directly, prevents fraud by escrowing payments until after move-in and it’s FREE to use the service.

Once you’ve found a few flats you’re interested in, contact the landlords and schedule viewings during your arrival week. During your first week, one option is to crash on a friend’s couch if you know any locals in the city, or otherwise stay at a hostel to meet other travelers. That way, you won’t feel lonely (since chances are that you don’t know anyone in your new city yet) and you get some time to explore the city and pick the neighborhood that best suits your personal taste. Make sure to ask the people working at the hostel for any advice when it comes to housing.

What to watch out for

Be careful with paying deposits before you’ve actually seen the place in real life with your own eyes. It’s a common scam all over the world that landlords you meet online will ask you to wire (anyone who mentions Western Union – completely avoid!) a deposit even before arrival, but upon arrival your new landlord is nowhere to be found. Sure, sometimes it’s legit, but not always, so be careful.

With a service such as Student Mundial you can relax. You only need to pay the first month rent, which is escrowed until you arrive. The money is only transferred after you move in and everything is ok. That way you can focus on enjoying your new city!

Make sure to get a written contract in a language that both you and the host understand (most probably English), signed by both parties. Keep it as specific as possible (duration, rent, deposit amount and so on). If the landlord doesn’t provide you with one, there are plenty of good free templates if you Google it – just make sure it’s for the country you’re going to. Insist on having it written since it’s the only evidence that will hold up.

Finally, when viewing the apartment, look for a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher. Make sure that there’s no mold in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen (tip: check under the kitchen sink, that’s a common place). If the apartment is on the ground floor, make sure there are sturdy locks – better safe than sorry!

Ready to move!

Now you’re all set and ready to find your dream apartment in your new home town.

Ana is guest blogging on behalf of Student Mundial. She is currently working in mind and spirit for international students and focused on new trends around Social Media. She defines herself as a cultural translator collecting smiles around the world.

Feel free to contact the author at hola@studentmundial.com. If you have any questions or additional useful advice, please share it in the comments below!

Studentmundial.com is a platform that helps students to find housing when they travel away from home to study. Their network lets students meet potential flatmates, other students attending the same school, and offer spare rooms. The team members are graduates from all over Europe with a wealth of study and work abroad experience. Student Mundial ensures the security of the student’s payment and the reliability of the property provider by escrowing the booking payment. They add elements of trust thanks to their 7 years of experience, user-written reviews and premium SSL payment system. And the best thing is: there’s no cost for the student! Here are her best tips for finding your dream apartment for your study abroad.

 

Abroad 101 Student of the Week #0024 – Kaitlin Morrison

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Kaitlin-morrison Abroad101 Student of the WeekThis weeks Abroad 101 Student of the Week winner goes to, Kaitlin Morrison. She is a junior at Castleton State College, majoring in global studies with a big interest in history. Kaitlin is a Dean’s List student and has dreams of working for the US Embassy one day! Since she has always lived in a small town, her recent acceptance to study abroad in Rome, through a program offered by International Studies Abroad (ISA), has left her ecstatic about the opportunity to get out in the world and expand her cultural knowledge! She will be spending five months in Rome this upcoming spring semester and is looking forward to enhancing her communication and leadership skills. With this trip being so expensive, Kaitlin has started a fundraising Mission (in addition to the loans she’s already taken out through VSAC) to help pay for some of her expenses. You can 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 studying in Rome, like Kaitlin, visit the Abroad101 program page.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad-101-student-of-the-week-0024-kaitlin-morrison/

 

Your Future Career: Describing Leadership Qualities Gained from Education Abroad

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Higher education has become increasingly about career paths and landing a flashy job. While I don’t always agree that this is the primary goal of education (I think it is to practice the life skill of learning and reflecting), we all do need a job. Hopefully, we want a career that is fulfilling and allows for us to be a catalyst of positive change in this world. Students who have been abroad for study, volunteer, internship, teaching or some other endeavor, have a much better understanding of the impact that can be made on the world and how important it is to reflect on the skills that were gained as a direct result of going abroad.

The challenge is how to step away from the ubiquitous buzzwords we hear every day when we talk about education abroad and to dig much deeper than that. Today, I’m going to offer up some tasty ideas about how to link your experiences abroad with something much powerful to a potential employer than what we often hear – “it was transformational.”

I recently came across “4 C’s of Leadership,” in describing the mission of Columbia College in South Carolina. These four Cs intrigued me because they are critical to leadership (and therefore a meaningful career), but they are also the skills that often emerge for those who have gone abroad – whether they be realized after days, months or even years of reflection on the overseas jaunt. However, the C words are typically not what a study abroad alumni communicates upon returning home.

Allow me to link these 4C career boosting leadership qualities to adjectives that are often shared by sojourners:

  • Courage: “Though often associated with fearlessness, courage is more of a willingness to take action despite fear.” Let’s face it, it takes guts to leave your country, campus and identity for a period of time to step out of your comfort zone. Going home during spring break and partying with friends and sleeping in is the easy path. Those who go abroad do exhibit courage, which they often illustrate by sharing how “life changing” it was when they return home. Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, education abroad morphs us from being a tad fearful to courageous – and this indeed is life changing. Using the language of courage is much more specific and tangible in an interview than that overused and non-specific “life changing.”
  • Commitment: From the values standpoint, Columbia College uses the word commitment to “describe the process of exploring communities, examining their values and goals, and choosing from among them.” As a future leader, one needs to be able to open the mind and heart to exploration of ideas, values and goals. This requires patience and an understanding of how decisions ultimately impact not only constituents and clients, but the greater world. When returning from abroad, students are often encouraged to claim the magical badge of global citizenship. (Global citizenship is not possible after a short study abroad experience, but it can put you on the lifelong quest of global citizenship –which I explained in this piece in more detail.) For the purposes of connecting the dots today, I believe that the use of the word “commitment” is much more illustrative of what we too often claim to be global citizenship. Instead, we can express that we are committed to the process of exploration, examination of values and pursuit of goals that contribute to a greater world for everyone.” This too offers more clarity than dropping the lofty “I’m a global citizen now” claim to a prospective employer.
  • Confidence: I’ll veer away from Columbia College for a moment and focus on this simple definition instead: Confidence is a trust in your own abilities. Interestingly, increased self -confidence is a term that is often expressed by those coming home. That is pretty straight forward. However, sojourners also typically express their confidence by stating that they are now more “flexible.” Time abroad does create daily opportunity after opportunity to embrace flexibility. When you have finally mastered the tube in London, you will inevitably experience a tube strike. You have to figure some other mode of transportation out, even if it means that you have to pull out a map and walk a few miles to your flat or try a bus you never planned on stepping on. Those humbling experiences, when you are forced to be flexible and quickly realize that you CAN work through those little challenges, can and do build confidence. So when tempted to describe how flexible you are, instead also relate it to your level of confidence. This is something all employers are seeking, particularly in those who are “green” to the full time employment scene.
  • Competent: Let’s return the Columbia College mission. It describes competence as “the ability to identify and pursue specific opportunities for change, to plan and implement specific actions.” This series of skills are often described by returned students as “productivity” – or achieving results. For example, a student who has returned from an internship abroad may tell you that s/he was very productive abroad, but could instead be telling you (and those s/he is interviewing with) that time abroad enhanced his/her competency instead. Productive sounds like a skill for the worker bee, competency sounds like the skillset of a future leader. Competency also offers the ability to explain areas of competence such as enhanced cross-cultural skills, improved language skills, awareness of accounting practices used abroad in an internship, different methods of academic research, improved understanding of power dynamics and so much more.

What other over used terms are you hearing out there in the study abroad sphere? How else can you see linking these terms with employer friendly language?

 

 

About the Author:

Melissa Gluckmann, contributor to the Studyabroad101 Blog and founder of Melibee GlobalMissy 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 Cool Program of the Week – University of Canberra, Australia

COOL PROGRAM OF THE WEEK:

Direct Enroll with University of Canberra

Study and work in Australia’s National Capital, named Australia’s most livable city in 2014  –

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/university-of-canberra-canberra-direct-enrollment-exchange

Study Abroad or Exchange gives you the opportunity to attend the University of Canberra (UC) for one or two semesters while gaining credit and increasing the value of your degree.

Program Highlights include:

  • Living on campus at the University of Canberra (UC) means living just footsteps away from the resident kangaroos.
  • UC offers hands on, practical learning and offers you a choice ofover 3,000 classes to choose from!
  • We are a world-ranked university in the TOP 5% of the QS World University Rankings 2013-2014

READ MORE: https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/university-of-canberra-canberra-direct-enrollment-exchange

Abroad101 Student of the Week #23 – Nicholas Bradley

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Abroad101.com Student of the Week, Nicholas Bradley

This week’s Abroad101 Student of the Week Honor is given to Nicholas Bradley, a junior majoring in health science and minoring in Spanish at Castleton State College! Nicholas is planning on traveling abroad to Spain next semester, where he hopes to gain new insights into his chosen field by examining how different cultures approach the delivery of healthcare services. Nicholas, who is the treasurer of his school’s Spanish club in addition to his Spanish minor, will also be strengthening his language skills by immersing himself in the culture of Spain. To make the most of his time abroad he also plans on volunteering at a local healthcare organization, such as a orphanage or a healthcare center, to get hands-on experience that will further his future career. Check out Nicholas’ Mission to learn more!

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 studying in Spain, like Nicholas, visit Abroad101.com’s Spain page.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad101-student-of-the-week-0023-nicholas-bradley/

Most Desired Places to Study Abroad

Web traffic is a great indicator of where students are wanting to study abroad and in this year’s Abroad101 back-to-school where students want to study abroad index, Asia and the Pacific nations are at the top, Europe still popular.

Four of the top 5 countries were in Asia / Pacific, 7 in the top 20.  These include Australia at #1 with a 22% increase in traffic, South Korea at #3 with a 30% increase in traffic and New Zealand at #5 with a 37% increase in traffic .  Japan saw a modest decline and China saw a pretty significant decline (-35%).

As for the always popular destinations in Europe, where 8 of the Top 20 countries are found, traffic was down 3%, fueled by #7 United Kingdom’s 33% drop and #14 France’s 27% decline.  Central Europe was a bright side for Europe with the Czech Republic showing a huge 74% growth and Switzerland growing at 22%.

Abroad101 offers these statistics as an indicator of what’s new in college study abroad and where trends in enrollment may go.  Where students actually do go may differ greatly from this list, which we recognize is a very different topic of conversation.  What drives these trends, is something we only wish we knew!  Do you have any ideas?  Please feel free to comment on trends in study abroad.

COOL PROGRAM OF THE WEEK:

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Thailand – Summer in Chiang Mai

Old cities are not unique to Europe – This week’s COOL PROGRAM OF THE WEEK comes from Thailand’s Chang Mai, a city founded in 1296, now a modern vibrant city and a great place to study abroad.

http://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/the-education-abroad-network-tean-thailand-summer-in-chiang-mai

Spend a summer in Chiang Mai, the cultural heart of Thailand famous for its temples, enduring traditions, jungle-covered mountains complete with hill-tribe villages and elephants. Chiang Mai combines the best of Thailand as a modern city with great shopping and nightlife but also a place that has kept alive the traditions and customs of this diverse and fascinating culture.

READ MORE: http://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/the-education-abroad-network-tean-thailand-summer-in-chiang-mai