Abroad101.com Cool Program of the Week in Florence, Italy


Middlebury Study Abroad in Florence, Italy!

Florence is a very popular destination with American students and students don’t always get a full language immersion, but this program requires it, which make it our Cool Program of the Week: https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/middlebury-schools-abroad-middlebury-in-florence

Middlebury is at the Palazzo Giugni, situated in the academic heart of the old city, an area bustling with coffee shops, bookstores, cultural clubs, and academic buildings. The Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Florence’s other main monuments are all within easy walking distance. Now a bustling city filled with piazze, cafes, and museums, the culture of Florence is ideally suited for student life.  And while Florence welcomes large numbers of international students each year, students at the School in Italy are noteworthy for their linguistic proficiency and their commitment to cultural immersion.

Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter Spring 2015

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webGreetings from Abroad101,

As the spring semester wraps up and thoughts turn to program evaluations/reviews, we wanted to reconnect and give you an update on the happenings at Abroad101.

What is Abroad101?

Abroad101 provides many services to many people, but first and foremost, it functions as a study abroad review website. With more than 24,000 reviews published on our website, StudyAbroad101.com, we are the first and largest collection of study abroad program reviews. Reviews are listed by home university, program and their provider, and/or host institution. Programs are listed in directories by city, country, and area of study.

The Abroad101 reviews are in-depth summaries of students’ time abroad; we like to think of them as “re-entry in a box.” In order to get students to think critically and be reflective, the standard evaluation is a 37-question survey that draws students through a series of prompts.  Each review is then published with its own unique web page, which pushes students to be forward thinking and showcase their experience to the world.

Reviews come to Abroad101 through invitations from advisors, providers, and host universities and from students who are eager to publish their story about their time abroad.  Home universities have the option of using Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software that allows some additional customization with extra questions.  This FREE SOFTWARE is cloud-based, requires very little maintenance, and comes to universities at no cost, thanks to the support and sponsorship of program providers and foreign universities looking to recruit students.  Advisors using Abroad101 now have a tool to compile evaluations by program, provider, and city, and to then compare them against a set of other universities that use the same 37-question set.

Reviews Are Social Media:

Once students publish their program evaluations, they become reviews; once these reviews are on Abroad101, they become Social Media. As Social Media, these formatted first hand accounts of experiences abroad become great points of pride for the students as well as great reference material for advisors, future students, and parents.  As social media, reviews have many uses, enabling:

  • universities to promote study abroad to their own students
  • students to research programs and view first hand accounts from their peers
  • parents to set their expectations
  • advisors to keep informed of outcomes and student satisfaction
  • university administrators to gather data.

Students are encouraged to share their finished reviews with their friends, family, and peers.  Students are also prompted to include their review in their Linkedin profiles and to reference their publication in cover letters and grad school applications.  The ability to include photos and writing samples can boost the pride a student takes in creating their review.  Each day, we push and promote at least half a dozen of our student reviews on Twitter and our other social media outlets.  When you see one of your student’s reviews, we hope you will recognize it, “like” it, identify it as a favorite, and re-tweet it.  It’s great content for your followers!

Using Abroad101 at Your University:

For advisors and university administrators, Abroad101 can also be program evaluation software for all or parts of your study abroad enterprise.  In addition to Abroad101’s ability to generate promotional content, there are a great number of tools designed to help you manage the study abroad evaluation process.  Updated daily, the Abroad101 directory of programs is among the best in the field. To use the system, you simply enter the email addresses of recent or returning students and the directory begins working for you.

Abroad101 also has a host of more advanced tools which allow for reviews to be fed back to your website or management systems.  This includes reviews fed to you individually through our API, a widget or in a file (spreadsheet).  Graphs are popular reporting tools that show how your students measure against other universities. We use the 0-5 Star ratings scales for overall satisfaction, academics, program administration, housing, food, social integration, health care, safety, and cost of living.

While most people associate Abroad101 with our comprehensive directory of third-party programs, colleges can also use Abroad101 to manage the evaluations for exchanges and faculty-led programs.  It is fast, free, and easy.  Every university is given a free account. If you don’t have one, or need assistance with your login, please email support@abroad101.com

Time to Send Your Review Invitations!

As students begin returning home from their spring semesters abroad, we encourage you to use this perfect opportunity to send the invitation to submit reviews.  Over 70% of all reviews on Abroad101 come from the invitation of advisors, so please login to your account, use the Invite Tool, and start collecting reviews.  By using our Invite Tool, you will make it easier for your students to start the process of creating reviews.  The system will also send timely reminders to students, excluding students who have already completed a review or who may have been invited by a provider or foreign host university.  It’s never too late to request a review. If you haven’t sent an invitation in a while, or tried using means other than the Abroad101 Invite Tool, please resend using our Invite Tool. It’s as easy as copying and pasting a list of student email addresses.

TECH TIP: If the student email addresses are in a spreadsheet, you can quickly load these into the Invite Tool if they are separated by comma.  A trick to comma-separate easily is to create a new column in the spreadsheet and use the Concatenate function.  =CONCATENATE(A1,”, “)  then “fill down” the column.  Next, copy the column and paste into the Invite Tool’s window on Abroad101.

If you’d rather have us load those addresses, feel free to send us a file with the email addresses of those you’d like to invite. We’ll load them into your account and start the process on your behalf.  Abroad101 is committed to the security and protection of student names and does not re-market or sell this data.

If you prefer to use your own method of communication, please direct students to find their program in the Abroad101 directory and use the “Write a Review” button to start the process.  They can also bypass the search process and start writing here: http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

Study Abroad Rankings Released 

Abroad101 released its fourth annual Study Abroad Rankings in late March. Designed to highlight the thousands of program evaluations and reviews that we collect each year, the rankings are compiled from rating scores in our student reviews. The rankings recognize top study abroad semester programs, top summer programs, and top providers.  Also highlighted are top non-traditional destinations, budget-friendly countries, most livable cities, and top food cities (remember, these are college students!).

To be considered for the rankings, programs must be listed in the Abroad101 directories and must have received a sufficient number of student reviews.  From the 1,424 programs that received reviews, our analyst crunched numbers, set thresholds, and used Bayesian Analysis with a Standard Deviation adjustment to generate the scores that determined the students’ choice winners.  We were quite pleased at the diversity of the programs that were recognized in this process and hope that the publicity this generates draws more students and their families to look at the breadth of what study abroad has to offer.

We’d like to thank this year’s sponsor, StudentUniverse, who offers academic group travel programs in addition to helping students save money on individual flights. They also offer some nice administration tools for program managers, please contact them for a rate quote

See You at NAFSA:

For those headed to NAFSA, we hope you will stop by our booth (#1203) and discuss how you can turn those once static program evaluations into a dynamic user voice that is in such great demand from students and parents alike.  Be sure to pick up this year’s version of our popular T-shirts and let us know a bit more about how we can help you.

We are also available to offer custom web demonstrations of our system for you and your team throughout the year. Please contact support@abroad101.com to schedule a 30 or 60-minute presentation using WebEx.

Happy Spring!

Mark Shay

CEO | Abroad101

+1-610-357-4648  |  mark@abroad101.com


A Truly Unforgettable Experience

5 stars5 out of 5
IFSA-Butler: Sydney – Macquarie University
Alyson A (Environmental Sustainability, Philadelphia University)

I could go on for days about all the things I learned and gained from being abroad, but I’ll try to keep it short. I learned a lot about myself as a person, what I like and dislike, as well as where I want to go in life. I became more independent, spontaneous, and laid back. I learned to plan ahead, multi-task, and accept that things don’t always go as planned. Studying abroad was the greatest decision I have ever made, and it will definitely be your greatest decision too!



Pay Your Abroad101 Invoice Online

For those with a current invoice, you can now pay online.  Click the “BUY NOW” button below which will take you to PayPal to process your credit card payment or you can use your PayPal account.  You won’t login to see your balance due in this system, so please enter the total amount due from your invoice and we’ll reconcile it once received.  We’ll then send you a paid receipt.

You can also download the attached credit card order form and return by fax (215) 893-1785 or scan and email to accounting@abroad101.com

Best Experience in Dublin


5 out of 5
ISA Study Abroad in Dublin, Ireland
A student (Geology/Earth Science, General, University of Utah)

I gained a lot of experiences from my time abroad. It was the first time I was away from home and it felt amazing! Everyone in Ireland is supper friendly and I took that attitude home when I came back to the states.


Top Study Abroad Foodie Cities in Abroad101 Rankings


Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai food is popular worldwide, so why not go to the source! Study abroad students rave about the cuisine in Thailand and it’s way of mixing sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes which balance together to give that distinctive taste of Thailand.

Why you should go:  “Man oh man, Thai food is scrumptious, and it was so fun to roam the street vendors looking for food” Jaiden D, Western Washington University

What you should eat: Eat EVERYTHING. It’s amazing and so cheap. Watch out for those chilis though!

Chiang Mai is RANKED #1 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Sorrento, Italy

This relaxed town on the Amalfi Coast, Italy’s “Coast with the most” is known for its fresh markets with abundant citrus fruit, wine, nut and olives. A draw for tourists and students alike, especially those interested in the hospitality field.

Why you should go:  “My appreciation for Italian food has gone through the roof.” Antonio S, University of Notre Dame

What you should eat: It’s Italy, there’s food everywhere! Where do I start?!  With so many options, the food opportunities are endless! Best I’ve ever had, go for dolce and gelato and il leone rosso

Sorrento is RANKED #2 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Florence, Italy

Florence is the heart of Tuscany and Tuscan food is known to be simple and abundant with local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled meats and especially white beans as the staple. Florence is one of the most popular study abroad destinations and from the reviews, food is a big part of the attraction.

Why you should go:  “The food does not get better than Italy!” Dylan N, The University of Texas at Austin

What you should eat: The food in Italy is out of control! Is there any explanation needed? The food is AMAZING? Gusta Pizza is a must. So is the very first gelato shop you come to when you cross the Ponte Vecchio (GET PINEAPPLE GELATO–it is the best here!)

Florence is RANKED #3 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Madrid, Spain

Known as a gastronomic paradise because of it’s incredible choices of food to eat and wine to drink, Spain’s capital has it all, from small portion Tapas to full course meals, a capital of amazing food!

Why you should go:  “Even as a vegetarian coming into a very meat- and fish- centered diet in Spain, I loved the food during my stay, both at home and out and about.” Savannah C, University of Iowa

What should you eat: Two words: Jamon bocadillo. And… A favorite thing is to go get tapas in town near the Plaza de Cervantes – a cold cerveca con limon and a plate of olives is one of best things about Spain.

Madrid is RANKED #4 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Cordoba, Argentina:

The traditional dishes of Cordoba have been greatly influenced by Italian and Spanish cuisine, not surprising when you discover that many Argentineans are originally of European descent. Argentinian take pride in their world famous “asados” (char grilled meat), pasta and the Argentinean empanadas – who can argue?

Why you should go:  “I am a vegetarian, which may seem strange since Argentina is known for loving meat, but my host mom made great food, and there were other options when going out to eat.” Bethany K, Morningside College

What should you eat: The Empanadas are AMAZING!!

Cordoba is RANKED #5 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014



Milan, Italy

Milan is the largest of the three of the Top 10 Foodie cities in Italy and according to student comments it’s 5 STARS every day!

Why you should go:  “Everyone knows that Italy is famous for their food and it certainly lived up to my expectations.” MacKenzie K, Bentley University

What should you eat: It’s Italy. Food is great, especially if you know where to go. In Milan definitely go for aperitivos.

Italian food is amazing! Try many different things, a favorite being gelato (anguria is a favorite flavor), and polenta.

Milan is RANKED #6 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Gold Coast, Australia

Your first thought of Gold Coast is beaches and natural beauty, but all those visitors gotta eat. According to one guide, there are 965 restaurants in Gold Coast, odds are you’ll find an American student in one of them.

Why you should go:  “it was really great to try all of the classic Aussie food (fish and chips, kangaroo burgers, sausage sizzles)” Andrea T, University of Dayton

What should you eat: Brekkie is big down there, and VERY good! There is everything you could think of. Guzman y Gomez is the equivalent to Chipotle, and there are many asian restaurants. Try all of the different types of food in Australia, like kangaroo meat and vegemite, and don’t forget the Tim Tams!

Gold Coast is RANKED #7 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Aix en provence, France

In the top food cities every year, Aix is a true culinary gem. Cafes once frequented by Cézanne and Hemingway are now popular hangouts for the creative study abroad students, others find hidden delights in the back street boulangeries.

Why you should go:  “French baguettes and cheese + all of the fresh foodstuffs from the market are what you dream of.” Kevin Y, Cornell University

What should you eat: Any of the sandwich shops in the city center are fantastic, but be sure to check out Mezzo di Pasta for a nice hot lunch and Nikolas for a great pita. Have fondu at “La Louge”, frog legs (delicious BTW!) at “Carrefour Cafe”, and an amazing French dinner at “Mas de la Pyramid”. Although expensive, food and cuisine in Aix tastes great, and is usually local-grown, and organic. Make sure to taste the Provençal specialties and visit the markets.

French food is heavenly. Don’t miss the macarons!

Aix en provence is RANKED #8 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


San Jose, Costa Rica

Local ingredients make Costa Rican cuisine so attractive and so affordable. Fresh fruit like no other place in the world: in drinks, on salads, mixed in Casado is just the beginning, a seafood paradise as well with fresh catches from the Caribbean and Pacific.

Why you should go:  “All the food was fresh and while I thought I would never want to eat beans and rice again I truly miss it.” Caitlyn T, University of Memphis

What you should eat:  San Jose has so much delicious fruit, it’s magical!  It isn’t Mexican food so don’t expect tacos, burritos, enchiladas and such everyday. Healthy in type and portions! If in San Jose, try Casa Mundo and La Musa Confusa!

San Jose is RANKED #9 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Pune, India

Reflecting a shift in demographics with more students from South Asia studying abroad, Pune brings the Maharashtrian thali to the Top Foodie list for the first time – you’ll be especially surprised at the deserts!

Why you should go: “I ate with gusto, because every food was new for me, and was very yummy.” Toniann M, Georgetown University

What you should eat: Restaurants in Pune are a great way to explore the city and culture through the immense variety of dishes. Moreover, the streetfood is a necessary component to Indian cuisine as well. Don’t be afraid of trying a new dish (even if you don’t know how to pronounce it), you never know if it might become your favorite one! Food is cheap, delicious, and full of surprises. Try everything!

Pune is RANKED #9 in the Abroad101.com Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Want to find out about the rest of the Abroad101 Rankings? Visit our RANKINGS page for Top Providers, Programs, Most Livable Cities and more . . .


Abroad101 Providers Newsletter – Spring 2015


It’s been 16 months since Abroad101 has been under new management, and as witnessed by the strong show of support at the recent Forum conference, we are happy to report that Abroad101 is back in full swing, with the best yet to come.  Here’s just a little bit of what’s been happening at the first and largest study abroad review website:

Study Abroad Rankings Released 

Abroad101 released its fourth annual Study Abroad Rankings in late March, designed to highlight the thousands of program evaluations and reviews that we collect each year.  The rankings are compiled from rating scores in the student reviews, which we use to recognize top study abroad semester programs, top summer programs, and top providers.  Also highlighted are top non-traditional destinations, budget-friendly countries, most livable cities, and top food cities (remember, these are college students!).

To be considered for the rankings, programs must be listed in the Abroad101 directories and must have received a sufficient number of student reviews.  From the 1,424 programs that received reviews, our analyst crunched numbers, set thresholds, and used Bayesian Analysis with a Standard Deviation adjustment to generate the scores that determined the students’ choice winners.  We were quite pleased at the diversity of the programs that were recognized in this process and hope that the publicity this generates draws more students and their families to look at the breadth of what study abroad has to offer.

student-UniverseWe’d like to thank StudentUniverse, our sponsor this year.  In addition to saving students money on individual flights, they offer academic group travel and have some nice administration tools for program managers.  Click here to learn more 

Update Your Free Listings, Add Videos:

There are 9,400 programs in the Abroad101 directory; over 1,500 of these are foreign university direct enroll and exchange programs, and more than 3,000 are defined as faculty-led programs.  Our team is constantly updating, adding, and revising listings, and we hope you will help us by visiting Abroad101 to review your listings and then send us updates.  Each listing can be updated through your provider’s account where you can revise descriptions, add academic subject areas, and upload photos.  If you forgot your login, please let us know at support@abroad101.com

To make your listings more attractive, please add videos.  You can embed YouTube-style videos in your Free Listings by adding the “iframe” text to the video field in your listing.  You can find the iframe text on YouTube by clicking the share icon, then embed, then copy that text and paste it into the edit screen in your Abroad101 account dashboard.  If that seems too daunting, feel free to email us the link to the desired video and our staff will take care of that for you.

If you need to have program titles changed, locations edited, or host universities added, our crew would also be happy to help.  Please send those details by email to support@abroad101.com 

Rich Snippets and Review Star Search

No, Rich Snippets is not a B-movie actor. Rich Snippets are extensions to site tags for search engines.  Abroad101 has added them to our site so you can now see review counts, a rating score, and an eye-catching star graphic by your Abroad101 listing on the major search engines. Type your program name and the word “review” into your favorite search engine to see Rich Snippets at work.  

Abroad101 joins Generation Study Abroad

Abroad101 has joined IIE’s Generation Study Abroad and our pledge to help double study abroad comes in the form of doubling our support for Crowd Funding and our “Abroad101 Student of the Week” project.  Each week we take a deserving student, contribute cash toward their fundraising and boost their efforts with publicity and recognition.  In addition, the referenced program reviews can help students in their fundraising by highlighting the experience of earlier students and helping friends and family become comfortable with the student’s goal.

Reviews are Social Media:

A well-crafted student review is a beautiful thing.  With photos, constructive criticism, and reflective and forward thinking writing samples, reviews from Abroad101 can be points of pride with which students can highlight and share their experiences. Abroad101 syndicates the best of the reviews of our advertisers through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; we also highlight the best photos through Pinterest.  Our Social Media Editor takes a highlight or a quote from each review and shares it, along with matching hashtags and tagged accounts, into our feeds to further extend the power of each review.  When you see one, give it a boost: like it, retweet it, tag it as a favorite.  If you haven’t caught the Social Media wave, start now with these Abroad101 networks:

How Long Can You Avoid Reviews?

According to the influential research firm Forrester, almost everybody reads reviews. Seventy-two percent of customers trust online opinions as much as they trust their own friends and family.

Nielsen, the famous information and measurement company, reports in their 2012 “Global Trust in Advertising Survey” that 70% of consumers trust online reviews from people they don’t know, which is up 15% from four years earlier. Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations, whether from strangers or from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. 

If you are still not convinced that reviews are the among the most important force in marketing today, please read this article from Forbes

Direct your returning students submitting reviews to your program listings and click the “Write a Review” button or http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

Year-End Advertising

As the fiscal year for most begins to wrap up, consider using any remaining funds to boost your presence on Abroad101 through advertising.  We can customize a campaign to meet any budget.  Advertising on Abroad101 not only generates more student inquiries, it boosts your conversion rates by adding exposure when students and parents are using the site to research and compare programs.  Contact sales@abroad101.com for more details.

See You at NAFSA:

For those of you who missed us at Forum, please make a point to stop by and see us at NAFSA (booth #1203) to collect this year’s collectable T-Shirt and discuss how you can turn those once static program evaluations into a dynamic user voice that is in such great demand from students, parents, and advisors alike. 

Of course, you don’t have to wait.  Please feel free to contact us at Abroad101 whenever we can be of service.

Happy Spring!

Mark Shay