Abroad101 Providers Newsletter – Winter 2017


Abroad101 begins its 10th year of serving the American study abroad market and we’re pleased to give you this latest guide to getting more out of THE Study Abroad Review website.

It’s All About the Reviews

Reviews, it’s what we do.  We just surpassed 30,000 published reviews on Abroad101.

 We congratulate other web sites for their community spirit, journalistic flair and general promotion of going abroad, that’s not us.  We’re a niche within our niche, we just do reviews.  Since 2007, nobody does it better.  Google agrees; put the word “reviews” and any relevant keywords in the search engine and you’ll see where we get most of our traffic.

Reviews are About the Students

Our survey isn’t 5 questions, like Yelp, or a place to “like” and “thumbs-up” a program. Each review on Abroad101 is a sincere effort to tell one individual story.  Each review answers 38 core questions, designed to walk a student through their whole experience.  Questions include star ratings and narrative sections to describe who they were before they went, how they grew and where their world view is now.  On average, a good review takes a student 15-20 minutes to complete.  Each review becomes its own webpage that students can share and link to as a point-of pride.  Students add photos, and some even include them in cover letters and CV’s as a career-focused writing sample and showcase.

This student-center approach is why a number of colleges use Abroad101 as their official program evaluation tool and why the reviews keep coming.  Home colleges even get to add extra questions to help in their data collection and reporting about study abroad.  Providers and host institutions can also add extra questions.

Reviews Engage Parents

Among those searching for insight on study abroad are parents.  Based on Google Analytics data, we estimate that 20-25% of the visitors to Abroad101 are parents.   Most parents aren’t looking to discover a program, they are looking to validate their child’s choice, or an advisor’s recommendation.  Parents look at reviews in a different way and may be exploring cost, safety or program administration while the student looks at academics, housing, social integration or food.

We recommend you use reviews in discussions with students and parents as a well-informed student makes for a more successful student.  Reading reviews will help parents become more comfortable with study abroad and help them set expectations for what lies ahead.  A number of program providers will actually link their website to matching program pages on Abroad101.  You can also link using the Program Widget or Provider Widget that add a badge-like graphic to the link.

Reviews Draw Quality Inquiries

Our traffic and user profile has stayed consistent over the years: vast majority American, nearly half of all coming from colleges and universities.  For students, coming to Abroad101 is a part of their research and we serve as a resource in their decision making.  The site is set-up as a place to compare programs and become well-informed.  We are not a lead generation site and only a small percentage of our visitors actually use our site to inquire about a program; however, those that inquire are very likely to study abroad.  The providers and foreign universities that actively engage with Abroad101 find that the inquiries they get from Abroad101 are significantly higher in quality and are more likely to turn into participants than leads that come from lead generation sites.

Reviews Bring Conversions

If you follow the logic so far, you will understand that visitors to Abroad101 may well be known to you and may already be in your CRM system.  Students start searching elsewhere for general information, form initial impressions and then come to Abroad101 to do further research.  Parents weight in, advisors endorse and this can all come while they are on our review website.  To capture this sentiment, the inquiry form on your Abroad101 program listing has a check box that says “I want to apply to this program.”  These inquiries come to you with the label = “app.”  When you get these, believe it!  They are ready to apply.  If the student is known to you, even better, as in the ad business we call this a “lead conversion”

The Secret to Success on Abroad101

THE number one thing you can do to raise the volume and the quality of inquiries from Abroad101 is to have plenty of reviews on Abroad101.  As we have said, people come to Abroad101 looking for reviews and to honor that, we display programs in our directory based on a formula that favors recent reviews.  Every time you see a listing of programs on Abroad101, the order of display is driven by this algorithm.  This includes the directories (city, country and study subject), your provider summary and even home school’s preferred provider lists.

To get to the top of these lists takes review volume.  There are other adjustments to recognize

review quality, but recent review volume is the biggest factor by far.  Being on top means visibility and visibility means results.  We display the number of recent reviews on the program summary, and the total number of reviews on the program listing.  As an example, the most popular program on Abroad101 is DIS’s Copenhagen Semester with 392 recent reviews and 799 total reviews.  You can see this reflected in one of our most popular subject directories and in this university’s approved program list.

The secret to being on top with Abroad101 is volume, not high score. 

The Not-So-Secret Path to Success

Abroad101 is supported by advertising and sponsorship from the people who run study abroad programs.   Ads are placed in key locations and will increase exposure, inquiry volume and overall awareness of your program.  It is no magic wand, but advertising works and you will see results for your investment.  You can improve the results of your advertising with more reviews as the two work well in tandem.  Contact us to learn more about this option.

Here’s to the Next 10!

A special thanks goes to those who have helped Abroad101 reach the 10 year milestone.  Our commitment to the field remains strong, our software and systems are reliable and there is good value for those that invest in Abroad101 as their review platform and part of their advertising mix.  As your partner, we look forward to the next 10 years of study abroad reviews.


Abroad101 News for Advisors – January 2017

As Abroad101 begins its 10th Year, we’d like to say Happy New Year and thanks.  Thanks to the many advisors who use reviews to assist students in finding programs and setting expectations.  Thanks to the many administrators who require their students to submit reviews as their official program evaluation; and thanks to program providers and foreign host institutions who buy the ads that keep the service free.  Here’s to the next 10 years!

It is 2017: When did you Last Update your Evaluation Process?

Programs will often have a process where they engage the students in a final day evaluation exercise.  Taking it one step further, and pushing the student to publish their evaluation as part of the re-entry process is something that helps everyone.  Using the review as the student’s official personal statement can turn the bland evaluation into a dynamic point of pride.  It’s a productive re-entry exercise when the student can put their feelings into words and describe their discoveries, growth, maturity and overall gains made while abroad.  Abroad101’s 38-question review is an effective means to do this.  Asking the students to bring their laptop, tablet or smart-phone to class is one way to assure high or full participation in the process.  We have others.

Paper Evaluations into Online Reviews

We recognize that even with today’s tech savvy youth and Wi-Fi enabled campuses, capturing evaluations/reviews online has its challenges.

  • It’s OK to collect your data via paper
  • It’s NOT OK to store your data on paper
  • It’s JUST WRONG to share your data on paper

If you have paper evaluations, we suggest you allow us to turn them into Abroad101 reviews.  For a modest account management fee and a very reasonable per evaluation fee, we will scan your reviews and allow you to take a big step to modernize your evaluation process.

Using Abroad101’s Dashboard Tools for Benchmarking:

Having summary date is good, using it to measure progress is even better.  Millsaps College has long used Abroad101 as the evaluation tool for its faculty-led programs and recently their SIO provided a copy of the report he used in their regional (SACS) accreditation.  In it, he described how he used Abroad101 and our “Graphs” report.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

“Prior to using Abroad101, the OIE used its own personal evaluation system. This was, for one, a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process for the already strapped staff. But more importantly: in order to more accurately compare statistics with overall study abroad experiences, to compare provider programs with Millsaps faculty­leds, and to more easily collect and interpret data, the OIE has decided to use Abroad101 as its evaluation source.”

“Perhaps most importantly, partnering with Abroad101 allows us to send comprehensive assessment/evaluations to our returned study abroad student, while minimizing the work for our extremely small office by streamlining the evaluation process for us. They also provide easy-to-use tools to assess the data from the completed evaluations.”

Each advisor account on Abroad101 has a graphs report.  You’ll find it on the left side of your account dashboard, toward the bottom of the tool list.  Click to generate a graph of one of the following ratings categories: Overall, Academics, Program Administration, Housing, Food, Social integration, Health Care, Safety. Cost of Living.  You’ll also see how your students rate against the 30,000 reviews across Abroad101.

Connecting Reviews to your Enrollment or CRM System

We have been working to get Abroad101’s process of program evaluation and our set of questions as a standard part of everyone’s study abroad.  The students give us a lot of data that a number of institutions are using in their analysis and management of education abroad.   Abroad101 is set up to pass that data to you in several ways:

  • The “Graphs” tool mentioned above also compares in more depth for program operators/providers.
  • “Export to Excel” function that creates a spreadsheet with all of the data collected in each review, including any custom fields that you have added.
  • “API” is a computer system linkage that allows your system to dynamically pull the review in using a unique API key and the review serial numbers.

The Power of the Review Serial Number

The Export and API functions are even more powerful when this data can get tied to the student’s account in your enrollment system.  Key to this linking is the Abroad101 review serial number.  Each Abroad101 review gets a unique serial number and if you enter that serial number after “/reviews/” it will redirect to the full program link.  As an example, serial # 29619 can be viewed here http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/29619

If the advisor or the student enters the serial number into your student information system, you can forever refer to the review.  We recently posted an article with one creative way the serial number can be utilized in Terra Dotta Software and similar systems.

Review them ALL – Faculty-led, Exchange and Third-Party!

Abroad101 allows you to manage program evaluations for each type of study abroad program, or them all.  For example, Abroad101 has more than 1,900 foreign universities listed on the site, each with a listing for direct enroll & exchange.  Through Abroad101 your students can review any of the 4,000 third-party programs or if you’d like, we can add your own to the 4,200 faculty-led/university-run programs in the directory.  University-run programs listed on Abroad101 even have the option to be listed as home-students-only which means they will be listed as closed to outside students.  You will still get all the advantages of Abroad101’s reporting, data collection and the publishing tool for students to generate insightful, powerful and career-boosting testimonials of their experience abroad.

It all Starts with an Invitation

To get any of these projects going, you do need reviews and the best way to get reviews is to invite, or require your students to submit one.  It has been our experience that students won’t take the time to review a program unless told to do so.  You can encourage them, offer them incentive, insist a published testimonial will be a good jump start to their careers, or tell them it’s required, but tell them something to make these tools work for you.  Direct or link them to the program page on Abroad101 where they will find a “Write a Review” icon or have them start here: http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/new

In the End, Reviews are Good for the Students

Student reviews will be published on the Abroad101 website and each will become its own webpage.  This creates a great place to feature experiences and use those experiences to open doors to a future career.  Employers are looking for people with an international background and a review on Abroad101 is a perfect place to jump-start career searches.  We suggest that you encourage students to think of a review as a writing sample, a chance to showcase who they really are.  A well written review can show future employers and other recruiters that the student can be constructive in their criticism, take responsibility for outcomes, be reflective and be forward thinking.  Students should state their new worldview and use the review as a place to shine.  If there are a couple pictures of community involvement or doing good deeds, this helps to really separate them from the pack.

Thanks for taking the time to explore Abroad101 a little further.  We’d welcome a chance to further demonstrate the system through a web demo.  If you are interested, please contact us to schedule a session or with any questions you have about your account.

Abroad101, THE Study Abroad Review Website.  Since 2007, Abroad101 is Fast. Free. Easy.


Abroad101 Ad Guide 2017

Ad guide header

Abroad101 adds a dynamic new form of content to the classic directory format to give students and advisors a powerful tool to guide their search for the ideal experience abroad. Advertising on Abroad101 is a cost-effective way to raise the visibility of programs, generate more inquiries, improve conversions and energize your Social Media.

Ad Guide 2015 cover image

Download the Abroad101 Ad Guide 2015

Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad website designed to help students, parents and advisors get the most out of international education. Inspired as the Trip Advisor® for Study Abroad, Abroad101 has grown to become a guide to research recommended programs, learn about destinations and find additional options. Students and their parents turn to the testimonials on Abroad101 to gain insight from past study abroad participants and validate their decision-making.

Please contact us to get started!

Mark Shay

+1 (212) 321-0928



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 can also download the Abroad101 Credit Card Order form and return by fax (215) 893-1785 or scan and email to accounting@abroad101.com

Master your Spanish with Abroad101’s Cool Program of the Week!

This weeks Cool Program comes from the Instituto Franklin, for 30 years a full immersive Spanish program outside Madrid.  Homestay gives you an extra push to master your Spanish and gives you a chance at some great home cooked meals.

The Study Abroad in Spain program offers an ample diversity of areas of study suited to every student. The program includes courses in Hispanic Studies, International Relations, Business Administration and International Business, Translation, Education, Journalism and Communication and Health Sciences.In addition to all these disciplines students can participate in a unique Internship Program and spend a full semester working in a company of their choice.

The Study Abroad in Spain program was established in 1987 with the mission of promoting academic collaboration between Spain and the US through specialized educational programs. It is specifically designed for international students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies in Spain.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:


Study Abroad 101 Cool Program of the Week in Prague – UPCES is it!


Prague is Dope! So says a recent review of the UPCES program which gets us to think, we should list this program as our Abroad101 Cool Program of the Week! Cool or Dope, being tied to the most famous of Czech universities and being located in a historic palace in Prague’s city center UPCES is IT!

prague-upces-reviewProminent scholars from Charles University teach UPCES courses in English. Course subjects include economics, international relations, sociology, history, political science, film, literature, philosophy, and Czech language. Students from a wide variety of majors and interests will greatly benefit from the UPCES academic experience.

UPCES students live in flats of their choosing with other students in the program. Flat choices are offered by the program and are located throughout the center section of Prague. Students do not just interact with the Czech people, but truly live amongst them in real Prague flats.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit: