Study Abroad Rankings Released by Abroad101

Student reviews determine highest rated study abroad programs, locations, providers, and more.

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 25, 2015

Abroad101, America’s first and largest study abroad review website, released its fourth annual Study Abroad Rankings today in partnership with StudentUniverse, the travel booking site for students. The rankings are the result of compiled evaluations from US university students who attended short-term, credit-bearing study abroad programs overseas. The 2014 rankings recognize the study abroad programs and locations rated highest by American students who have studied abroad.

Study Abroad has many options including a range of program size, scope, and location. This breadth of programming is reflected in Abroad101’s study abroad 2014 rankings. The majority of the top-ranked programs are in Europe with Italy having three. The list also includes three top-ranked programs in Australia and two in China. Sydney was the only city with two top programs.

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Download the Program Rankings Poster

The Abroad101 2014 Top 10+ Study Abroad Programs, including the program’s provider are:

1.    Sol Education Abroad: Study Abroad & Spanish Immersion in Heredia
2.    The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Gold Coast – Bond University
3.    American College Dublin
4.    IES Abroad: Programs in Vienna
5.    Loyola University Chicago: The Beijing Center
6.    Santa Reparata International School of Art: Florence
7.    Northwestern College: Romanian Semester Program
8.    Sant’Anna Institute: Sorrento
9.    University of New South Wales: Sydney
10.  Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai – International Business in China
11.  Duke in Istanbul
12.  CEA: Rome, Italy
13.  DIS – Danish Institute for Study Abroad: Copenhagen
14.  CAPA International Education: Sydney Study or Intern Abroad

Provider rankings thumbnail

Download the Provider Rankings Poster

In addition to the highest rated programs, Abroad101 released a list of Top Study Abroad Providers, the organizations that operate these programs. Top honor goes to SOL Education Abroad, an organization that specializes in Spanish Language programs. Upon hearing the news, co-founder Esteban Lardone said: “When we started Sol Education Abroad our mission was very simple: to treat our students the way we wanted to be treated when we studied abroad. Ten years later, our mission has not changed and it is heartwarming to see this reflected in the students’ reviews.” Lardone continues with “The high ratings are the result of our onsite directors who work night and day for our students and our Austin headquarters team. We would like to thank our affiliate and partner universities for directing great students to us. Most of all, we would like to thank each and every student that has decided to take a leap and explore the world through our programs.”

The rest of the Top Providers, listed in order, are: The Education Abroad Network (TEAN), CAPA International Education, IES Abroad, CEA, Academic Programs International (API), AIFS, SAI Programs, USAC, Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), The School for Field Studies (SFS) and CiS Abroad.

A strong area of growth in study abroad has been through summer programs, which allow students added flexibility on what they study, and enhance elective courses with the powerful impact of immersion in the subject area. The variety of summer programs is demonstrated in the list of Top Summer Abroad Programs:

1.    ThisWorldMusic: Music, Arts and Culture in Ghana
2.    The GREEN Program: Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad (Iceland)
3.    New York University: NYU Summer in Dublin
4.    Forum-Nexus: Forum-Nexus: Tour Across Europe
5.    Hanyang University: Seoul – International Summer School

Jeremy Cohen, Founder & Director of the top rated summer program, stated “We are deeply honored to see this recognition from our students, and view it as a tribute to ThisWorldMusic’s hard-working staff, both in the U.S. and in Ghana. Special thanks to the Dagbe Cultural Institute in the village of Kopeyia for welcoming us into the community and enthusiastically sharing traditional West African music, dance and culture with these students.” Ghana, host to this top summer abroad program, was also on the list of Top-rated Non-Traditional Countries and Top Budget-Friendly Destinations.

Thailand was voted most Budget-Friendly, followed by India, Ecuador, and Peru. Favorable shifts in the value of the dollar are one reason these countries were rated so highly. Smaller cities dominated the Most-Livable Cities list with Gold Coast, Wellington, Heredia, and Alicante leading the students’ choices. Even food comes into focus with Thailand’s Chiang Mai edging out two traditional Italian favorites for the Top Foodie City. The rest of the rankings along with review highlights and program listings are now available at:

“With study abroad becoming more of a part of college life, Abroad101’s unique way of capturing program evaluations and publishing them in the popular review format is helping break down barriers and increase opportunities for students” says Mark Shay, the CEO of Abroad101. “Students look for and trust the opinions and experiences of other students, and the compilation of review ratings serves as a useful tool in their decision-making. Reviews also give students and their parents/advisors insight into what to expect while away. We see the rankings as an important way to celebrate what is working in study abroad; reading the first hand accounts of student successes abroad show the positive impact study abroad has on students” concludes Shay.

“Studying abroad not only shapes a person, but is often cited as one of the most memorable experiences of their lifetime,” said Mike Cleary, chief commercial officer, StudentUniverse. “Our mission is to make global experiences possible for students and youth. This involves helping students travel abroad cheaper, allowing them to go further and spend less. It also involves flexibility. Students may not know their exact return date when they go abroad. The pricing on our one-way fares helps students travel flexibly, without breaking the bank. We are proud to partner with Abroad101 on such an important facet of student travel.”

Under the direction of their academic advisors, students complete thorough online evaluations hosted by Abroad101 with both quantitative and qualitative responses. With a database of over 23,000 evaluations, the Abroad101 rankings provide an in-depth tally of student opinion on study abroad programs. For the 2014 rankings, many thousands of reviews were processed and 1,472 different programs received reviews.

The following is the full winners list:

Top Foodie Cities:

  1. Chiang Mai 
  2. Sorrento
  3. Florence
  4. Madrid
  5. Cordoba
  6. Milan
  7. Gold Coast
  8. Aix-en-Provence
  9. San Jose
  10. Pune

Most Liveable Cities:

  1. Gold Coast
  2. Wellington
  3. Heredia
  4. Alicante
  5. Dublin
  6. Melbourne
  7. Dunedin
  8. Beijing
  9. Oaxaca
  10. Bratislava

Budget-Friendly Countries

  1. Thailand
  2. India
  3. Ecuador
  4. Peru
  5. Morocco
  6. China
  7. Ghana
  8. Mexico
  9. South Africa
  10. Turkey

Non-Traditional Countries:

  1. Iceland
  2. Ghana
  3. Peru
  4. Thailand
  5. Cuba
  6. Norway
  7. Panama
  8. Hungary
  9. UAE
  10. Botswana


About Abroad101:
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 resulting Abroad101 directory of study abroad programs is the most comprehensive database in the field today.

About StudentUniverse:
StudentUniverse is is the world’s leading travel booking site for students that offers unique pricing and terms on flights, hotels and tours. Our unique pricing and terms are negotiated specifically for students, and some deals are also available for 18-25 year olds, through contracts with dozens of world-class partners and more than 70 airlines worldwide. StudentUniverse’s Travel Services department manages bookings for groups of 10 or more.

StudentUniverse launched in 2000, and has headquarters in Boston and offices in London, Toronto, New York and the Philippines. StudentUniverse believes that travel is essential to a modern education. Millions of students use our service every year. For real-time updates on StudentUniverse, follow our corporate Twitter, LinkedIn and Corporate blog and download our mobile application.

Abroad101 Student of the Week #41 – Katie Bounds


Netherlands-Grand Valley State

Katie BoundsThis week’s  Abroad101 Student of the Week comes to us from Grand Valley State University. Katie Bounds is a student athlete who is majoring in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. She even has an emphasis in Spanish! Katie enjoys working hard and has future career aspirations to done day join the secret service or homeland security.

Being adventurous and a go getter by nature, it’s no surprise that Katie has been dreaming  of studying abroad and learning about new cultures! And it looks like that wish is coming true, as she has recently been accepted into a program in the Netherlands to study geography and planning. Katie is very grateful to have this opportunity and plans to use this experience to jump outside of her comfort zone! We think traveling and living in the Netherlands will do just that, don’t you? Learn more about Katie and her Mission to study abroad 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 study abroad fundraisers! We hope you can help us assist these students in reaching their goals and make their travel dreams a reality. Visit here to help with this mission. To find out more about studying in the Netherlands, like Katie, visit the Abroad101 program page.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at:

How Teaching English in Foreign Countries Expands Your Horizons


teacherIf you would like to experience life outside your comfort zone and enhance the lives of others as you meet challenges head on, teaching English in foreign countries can be the catalyst that expands your horizons and renews your commitment to making the world a more interesting place. Once school is over and you decide that you would like to make a difference in the world you should consider teaching English in a location where you can truly make a difference. Let’s take a look at how working to teach people in foreign countries English as a foreign language can help you to grow and develop as a person.

Teaching English in Foreign Countries Allows You to Travel


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If you enjoy experiencing travel, eating new foods, enjoying different cultures, and having life experiences that are second to none, teaching in a foreign country can be just the solution that you need to stretch you beyond your current growth. With the money that you earn from your teaching job you can also travel around the country to visit the major attractions and engage in activities that are offered in this location.

Expand Your Personal Growth by Teaching English in Foreign Countries

When you decide to leave your comfortable and familiar surroundings you can use the opportunity to redefine who you are and the beliefs that you hold dear. Working with children of any age or corporations which have a strong desire to learn English as a foreign language can help you to determine where you’ve been in your life and the path that you want to take from this point forward. Enabling corporate executives to use their own wisdom instead of using translation software which isn’t always reliable will provide you with a level of satisfaction that is rewarding in itself. You’ll be able to focus more on the things that really matter to you, to read more about things that interest you, and to concentrate on your own personal growth and development.

Make a Difference in the Lives of Others by Teaching English in Foreign Countries

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Image courtesy of images/

As you help others acquire English proficiency and reach some of their personal goals you will feel a tremendous satisfaction; by enabling others to get what they want you make a difference in their lives that directly impacts your own life. You will be a positive force in the lives of your students so be sure to accept this responsibility with a commitment to excellence and integrity. Making a difference after your TEFL Academy training will demonstrate to you the value of taking this step toward helping others in a life-changing manner.

By Teaching English in Foreign Countries You Can Follow Your Dreams

Do you dream of visiting foreign lands and seeing those attractions that you once viewed in your school books as a child? Do you think there is more to life than assuming a role and staying in once place forever? Following your dreams is a simple accomplishment if you take a job teaching English in a foreign country. You can spend your leisure time exploring the countryside, enjoying the cuisine, and learning about the culture of the land.

It’s never too late to expand your horizons; taking that first step toward learning new skills and talents for teaching English abroad will be one that you come to think you should have made months ago.


Guest Plog Post from: Suzi McKee

Suzi McKee is an honor graduate of the University of Maine and has spent the last 43 years both teaching English on the secondary level and supervising the English as a Second Language for her public school system in Tennessee. For the last five years, Suzi has also worked as an Independent Journalist for companies around the globe writing blogs as well as content and marketing pieces. In her spare time, Suzi enjoys riding with her husband on their Harley-Davidson through the mountains of East Tennessee and North Carolina.



Short Term Study Abroad Programs in UK on a Budget: Money Saving Tips for Those Who Want to DIY This Summer


For an incredible experience in the UK, many students choose to spend several months studying abroad for an unforgettable way of exploring a new location and seeking out adventure. Those who visit the location can enjoy trying different types of cuisine, traveling to nearby countries, and learning about the history of the location. To enjoy a short-term study abroad trip, there are a few ways to afford the cost and save money while you’re there.

Enroll Directly

Money saving DIY tip #1 is tuition. During the school year your home university has exchange partnerships, but nearly all of them do not apply over summer. Your financial aid package and loans generally do not apply over summer either, but don’t despair, many foreign universities offer what is commonly called international summer schools on their campus; some will even operate multiple themed programs and a few will even offer them in other cities. The University of Westminster offers a popular one in London; you can see others by using Abroad101’s advanced study abroad search and selecting, program length = summer and provider = Direct Enrollment, or typing “International Summer School” in the search box at the top menu of Abroad101.

Visit the Grocery Store

Although it may be a dream to spend your time dining over Cornish pastries or fish and chips each day, it’s important to limit your time at local cafes to save money. Opt for visiting a nearby grocery store each week so you can cook your own food. Instead of feeling deprived by avoiding local restaurants, you can allow yourself to dine out every few days so you can still enjoy the culture and meet a few locals in the city. Meals are also a great way to socialize and you might want to get 3 or 4 people in a supper club where each week one of the members cooks for the group and acts as host. It’s a nice way to deepen friendships, save money and have a nice meal.

Find a Host Family

One of the most expensive parts of studying abroad is the cost of room and board. Instead of spending a significant portion of your budget on booking a hotel or apartment or living on the campus, opt for staying with a host family. It will allow you to learn more about the culture, have a tour guide in the city, and learn more about the country’s customs. They may also cook for you. There are networks of host family placement services, your host university may have some recommendations or a referral service.

Use Public Transportation

Although it may feel like an inconvenience to rely on public transportation while traveling to and from school each day in the UK, it will allow you to have more room in your budget for other costs. Purchase a pass for the tube and consider using a bike to get around for areas that are of a short distance. Sometimes the overland rail system may be cheaper than the underground so check out both options and ask about student passes, again through the international office of your host university.

Rely on Skype

To maintain communication with friends and family who are back home during your time abroad, rely on Skype to have face-to-face interaction for a free way of communicating. You can also purchase a calling card for a cheaper way of making phone calls instead of relying on your cell phone.

Find a Part-time Job

One of the most common ways to afford living abroad for a short period of time is to find a job where you can work an average of 20 hours a week. The fact that you speak English will be a plus so think about being a tutor or instructor to non-English speakers, even at nearby schools. Many education positions are available through Randstad Education where you can assist with tutoring or teaching.

Use Student Airfares to Travel

While rail is common in the Europe, rail is sometimes not the cheapest way to travel. There are lots of budget airlines operating to the UK, but beware of the hidden fees as they charge you for EVERYTHING! One way around this uncertainty is to book your travel through StudentUniverse who has specially negotiated rates with over 70 airlines worldwide and books hundreds of thousands of flights a year for groups and individuals. On top of the great fares, they have telephone support in case anything goes wrong

Hopefully you’ll cast aside your fears of cost and find a way to the UK this summer. There’s never been a better time to do this!


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.


Discover Incredible India


Our Cool Program of the Week – IISAC’s Semester India Program with Mar Ivanios College and Kerala University in Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala.

Discover Incredible India and off the beaten path Kerala, known as ‘God’s own Country’ blessed with sandy beaches, backwaters, lofty mountains, dense rain forests with unique flora and fauna. Students will use weekends to explore the wonders of the nature in Kerala, its culture, religious diversity and also to enjoy the tropical weather of one of the paradises of the world.

Participants enroll full-time for a minimum of five courses, leading to 15 transferable credits.

Find out more about how you can apply for this program at Abroad101:

Abroad101 Student of the Week #0043 – Rebecca Metzler

Rebecca MetzlerThis week’s Abroad101 Student of the Week is a sophomore at Texas Tech University. Rebecca Metzler is a pre-nursing major who plans on heading to nursing school and eventually pursue a career as a mid-wife or neonatal. She is currently a member of the Double T Health Service Corps which is an organization that not only exposes her to knowledge about the field of nursing but also hands on experience at local organizations in Lubbock! Outside of school Rebecca devotes a majority of her time to volunteering. You can either find her at UMC Hospital, where she works along transports or the Therapeutic Riding Center, working with children. Way to get involved in your community, Rebecca!

Rebecca will soon be studying abroad in Port Elizabeth, South Africa through ISA service learning! Through this program she will have the opportunity to become educated through volunteer work and workshops covering topics such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, community wellness, and early childhood development. Rebecca is ecstatic to participate in this program because she will be learning through hands on experiences and become more educated about African medicine and healthcare techniques.

To help make this awesome goal a reality she has started a fundraising Mission to help cover some of the costs of the program. You can check out Rebecca’s 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 study abroad fundraisers! We hope you can help us assist these students in reaching their goals and make their travel dreams a reality. Visit here to help with this mission. To find out more about studying in South Africa, like Rebecca, visit the Abroad101 program page.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at:

The Study Abroad Advantage reaches 2,000 members!


The Study Abroad Advantage is a Linkedin Group designed to help study abroad alumni bring their experiences to the professional market.  Students who have returned from abroad are encouraged to publish a review of their experience abroad and use this to highlight their ability to communicate, to use social media and their new perspective on the world.  In addition to a place to network with other study abroad alumni and alumni group organizers, the Group features postings on career development and advice on how to apply lessons from abroad to the professional world.  Prospective employers are invited to join the group to do some recruiting of the members and promote their firms.

The group hit a milestone last week with the 2,000th member, a student named Alexis Lupton from Brigham Young University.  We asked her to comment on her study abroad experience and she said “I am always willing to embarrass myself a little for the greater good.”  She went on to add more detail about her study abroad experience.

My study abroad experience was quite different than most, in that my study abroad was a travelling one instead of in just one city. We also did not have a traditional classroom. Our classrooms included: the UN, the U.S Embassy, Pepsico, UNESCO, and every where in between. My experience really taught me a lot about myself. I learned how important it is to step out of your comfort zone and really try new things. I saw the world from many different perspectives, from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral to the slums of Paris. Sometimes plans change unexpectedly and you just have to go with the flow (like our Morocco trip being cancelled and going to Vienna instead). I gained the independence to be able to do things alone even though it may have seemed a little unnerving, and you too, in the end, truly will not be let down. Overall the world is a fascinating place and my study abroad instilled a desire to always continue exploring. 

Alexis Lupton

Alexis Lupton – Student at Brigham Young University

If you’d like to connect with Alexis, you’ll find her profile on Linkedin: 

We invite you to get the study abroad advantage by joining and becoming active in “The Study Abroad Advantage” 

Overcoming Employer Skeptisim of Study Abroad


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Those of us who work in International Education see the rewards of students returning home from abroad. They are wiser, confident and more mature, and we naturally think that Study Abroad is a great step toward a rewarding career. As a student who has overcome all the obstacles that study abroad might put in your way, I’m sure you would agree that the eye opening experiences, greater independence and self-awareness provide a jump-start in your career. Unfortunately, there are many hiring managers and employers who don’t see it that way.

Study Abroad may not be the secret ticket to getting a jump-start in the career place. Many human resource professionals and hiring managers do not value experiences abroad when making hiring decisions, and while corporate and organizational leaders talk about the global workplace, your study abroad alumni card isn’t your FAST-PASS to the front of the line.

The following two quotes are just a sampling of some of the biases that exist against study abroad:

“People put ‘study abroad’ on their resume. I actually like when they don’t study abroad because that means they aren’t entitled.” – Millard Drexler

Millard “Mickey” S. Drexler is the current chairman and CEO of J.Crew Group and formerly the CEO of Gap Inc. He has been a director at Apple Inc. since 1999.


“Studying abroad can be a nice “add on” in theory, but it also can be a waste of time, or simply a good time, for an unfocused – and privileged – high school or university student.” And “And even the best programs will do little for an unmotivated student.” – Curtis S. Chin

Curtis S. Chin, the United States ambassador to the Asian Development Bank from 2007 to 2010, is the managing director of RiverPeak Group, an advisory firm.


Entitled. Privileged. We also hear that study abroad returnees are viewed as unmanageable, always with a cause, always want to change things and even anti-corporate. These are stereotypes and just like you had stereotypes of the place you visited before you left, you now have a label associated with you. How you handle this label and the associated bias will affect how your career unfolds.

Stress the workplace values when talking about study abroad

Now before you panic and sign up for grad school or an internship program or resolve yourself to teaching English in some remote corner of the world, there is hope. There’s work you need to do, but there’s real hope turning what some perceive as lemons, into lemonade.

Consider the following statements.

“Study abroad doesn’t count to an employer unless the job candidate can say how it has made them a better person, scholar, citizen, and professional…”  – Linda S. Gross, Associate Director of Career Services, Michigan State University

According to a 2012 survey of employers done by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University (MSU), hiring managers considered study abroad to be of “limited importance” in relation to recruiting new graduates. In fact, study abroad was ranked the least important of several college activities, with internships listed the most valuable activity.

So how do you highlight your study abroad experience?

Keep this in mind. Employers want creative, independent thinkers who can work in teams, take responsibility and get things done.

Think in professional analogies about your time abroad and how you overcame obstacles and how those prepared you for the workplace. How did you show leadership? How did you take responsibility? How did you pull together disparate people and get them operating as a team? How did you face long odds, overcome poor preparation and lack of support and achieve something notable? What got you out of bed in the AM and got you to avoid the distractions of the social and partying scene?

Do not simply talk about how great it was abroad, what wonderful friends you made and the amazing sites you’ve seen. If that is your focus the following is what an employer could think.

“I’m not interested in your life journeys. This includes your experiences studying abroad, even if you had an amazing time. Save these musings for late night dorm room chats with your best friend.”   By Katherine Goldstein cover_letter_writing_advice_how_to_write_a_cover_letter_for_an_entry_level.html

Instead, translate your experiences abroad into practical examples of how you have matured and can take on responsibility. If going abroad means you can enter into an honest conversation about how to take and offer criticism, then your experience has prepared you well. If you can articulate how lucky you were, how humbling the experience was and how you want to rise to serve, you have a real chance at breaking the privileged student stereotypes that surround study abroad. Hiring a study abroad graduate should give employers the confidence that they will get an employee who is a problem solver, a confident well-spoken team player who will be a loyal asset to the company.

Convey these messages while interviewing and you will now have The Study Abroad Advantage.

Feel free to add your comments below and join our initiative called The Study Abroad Advantage on LinkedIn and Twitter.