Abroad101 Fall 2019 News for Education Abroad Advisors

Thank you for taking a few minutes to catch up with Abroad101, the study abroad review website.  Around this time 13 years ago, the founder of Abroad101 started on his study abroad experience. Like so many, his story is a powerful tribute to the impact of Education Abroad experience, and like so many, that experience unlocks something that nobody could have predicted at the time.  

Today a company carries on the founding vision of providing students a platform on which to share their story. As an advisor, you call it a program evaluation, a parent considers it as review and the student will hopefully think of it as a capstone. Abroad101 is a company that does just one thing, deliver a platform to advance study abroad. At Abroad101, we have found a way to do this free of charge for the users, drawing support from program providers and host universities in the form of advertising and sponsorship. Here are some ways in which you can support us and the greater study abroad community:

Have You Seen Your Students’ Study Abroad Reviews Lately?

Each day Abroad101.com receives dozens of program evaluations from students that have been invited by either their home university, their provider or their host institution. We publish each review as a complete web page and tally them in listings by program, provider and host institution and also in portals for each home school. As of today, 37,608 student reviews are active on Abroad101 making it the largest source of study abroad stories. Visit the site, enter your school name in the search box in the top menu bar and see what your students have to say!

Moms & Dads Use Abroad101

The target audience for Abroad101 is American college students looking for a semester, summer or short-term abroad. We list third-party, exchanges and faculty-led programs. Parents of prospective study abroad students are a big portion of our traffic. Based on Google Analytics data, we estimate that 20-25% of the visitors to Abroad101 are parents, searching on the keyword “reviews” and trying to learn more about the options their children are considering. 

As an advisor, you will find that your recommendations are validated when prospective students and parents read reviews. Providers will often use reviews in their discussion with students and parents as they find a well-informed student makes for a more successful student. Reading reviews will help parents become more comfortable with study abroad and to help them set expectations on what lies ahead. We hope you’ll mention Abroad101 Reviews in your parent communication and you could also add a link of your Abroad101  “Homepage” on your own website to better prepare all. ( https://www.studyabroad101.com/university_widget )

How to Get Students to Write Reviews?

So often we hear that it is hard to get students to do anything, let alone spend 20-30 minutes on a review. This is especially true when students feel that the activity has no benefit for them.  However, they are inclined to share their stories if the exercise gives them a chance to tell their story, and that is exactly what they do on social media for hours a day! Think of a review as social media for study abroad and a place for students to showcase their story and the process allows them to talk about themselves.

If the student believes the review is good for them, they will generally participate.  That takes some groundwork before they go abroad and as they prepare to return. One idea to get more engagement is to incorporate a review in your re-entry programming and use the review process as a step toward preparing the students to share their experience with others. Just like career counselors who tell students to prepare a good resume for a job search, we hope that study abroad advisors will help their students prepare for their return home by guiding them to submitting a thorough and candid review.

Using Abroad101 as Free Program Review Software

A number of schools already use Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software as it was designed to draw an insightful student expose of their time abroad. These evaluations are great for future advising and orientations and great for the returning students. The service is offered free to American colleges and universities, supported by advertising from program providers and foreign universities. The software offers:

  • Capability to approve/disapprove reviews
  • Invite Tool to improve participation
  • Graphs and Reports to tally student responses
  • Manage an approved programs list
  • Option to list faculty-led programs or select in-house programs
  • Compare your results against others
  • Add custom questions to the standard review (can be kept private for internal use) 

The Abroad101 team is happy to answer any of your questions by email or phone. We also welcome the opportunity to walk you, and members of your staff though the system with an online demo of the back-end features of Abroad101 to see if our free program evaluation tool is right for you. The demo will show how you can see reports, compare your results with other institutions, set pre-approved/recommended programs and add custom questions to the standard Abroad101 review. Abroad101 also has promotional material for you to share with your students, so please let us know how we can help you.

Happy Fall!

Abroad101 Providers Update for May 2019

It was thirteen years ago when a motivated, idealistic study abroad student returning to Boston from a semester in Australia came up with the idea that his experience should not be just etched in his mind, it should be shared with the world. 

With some help from some entrepreneurial friends, they started a business with the goal to be the “Trip Advisor for Study Abroad.”  Soon there was a website, some technology, staff and the business known as Abroad101 got started.  You can still see “Review One

Recently we published Review 44554 and are on a pace to publish 6,000 reviews this year.  The business had its ups and downs, having succeeded by keeping its focus on providing students a forum to tell their story and helping universities and providers manage that process in a responsible way. 

Meet Phil, our new General Manager

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Philippos Kollitsis as the new General Manager for Abroad101. 

“Phil” is an experienced, professional businessperson who will be working from the Ledra Capital offices in Nicosia (Cyprus) and New York.  Ledra is the majority shareholder in Abroad101 and remains committed to the future of Abroad101.  Phil has served as CEO and as a Board Member of several companies over the last twenty years and has been an advisor to Ledra.  He too was an international student, earning two degrees from Lancaster University in the UK.   We are excited to welcome Phil on board to our team.

Phil will be at NAFSA and will be stopping by booths.  You can also arrange to meet him at the University of Nicosia’s booth #1131.  We invite you to stop by early in the week to pick up an invitation to UNIC’s 10th Annual Med Party (Wednesday, May 29 – 6:30pm – 9:00pm) and to attend the A101 Happy Hour immediately prior, at 5:30PM, both at City Tap House Penn Quarter on 901 9th Street NW. Register to attend by clicking here.

Do Reviews Matter?

Please take a moment to remember the last time you booked a hotel, chose a movie or show in a theater, picked a restaurant, or bought a product online.  Did a review guide your decision?  If these small decisions were influenced by reviews, then we’re sure you’ll understand how something as complex as an education abroad experience needs reviews. 

Also consider how reviews actually better serve the parents of students.  From our traffic analytics, we see that 20-25% of our web traffic comes from visitors who are 40-50 years old (parents).  We know parents are key in the decision-making process and the feedback we get from parents shows a hunger for candor and interest in using reviews to endorse or approve their student’s program choice.  While you may have testimonials on your website, independent, third-party reviews can be powerful additions to your marketing.

Candor is Key

People come to review sites looking for balance to the always-positive websites, brochures and in-person presentations.  They know things aren’t perfect and want to understand what may be imperfect about a given location, program or host.  Quite often the visitors to Abroad101 are coming to validate their earlier discoveries and because of this, we see a significant portion of our traffic from parents and other adults who support students.  Students may be drawn to the ratings and comments about food and social aspects of a program, while parents see value in ratings and comments about safety and cost.  The 38 questions in the Abroad101 review give everyone something to discuss with plenty of examples to engage in a meaningful dialog and hopefully break some stereotypes about other people and other parts of the world. 

The vast majority of students who study abroad have an overwhelmingly positive experience, which is reflected in the reviews.  Those that struggle and report negative things will actually help future students prepare and set their expectations.  We hope you’ll bring these reviews to the attention of future students so that they can put things in perspective.  Costs in London are high, academics at Oxford are hard, petty crime is rampant in Paris and the food in Ghana is, well, … different.  Knowing these things before a student goes away may make a big difference in how they prepare. 

For Parents, knowing what the risks are is actually reassuring as they can then help their child prepare. When parents inquire to you about programs and ask for referrals, direct them to Abroad101.

Advisors discuss issues over and over, but with reviews the students are learning from their peers and for the schools that require reviews of their students, the  indirect peer advising seems to really help.

Please encourage your students to read the reviews as part of their pre-departure preparation and push them to be candid in their reviews when they return.  Students can start their review at http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

Reminder About the Display Algorithm:

Most visitors to Abroad101 will end up in a directory of programs.  We list programs by city, country, academic program as well as by provider and host university.  For those university partners who select the “approved programs” option, we create a directory as well.  Anytime there is a list, it is ordered based on our proprietary display algorithm which is designed to recognize recent review volume and quality of reviews.  

The algorithm has an impact factor that lessens the impact of older reviews and formulas that reward reviews that contain photos, complete descriptions and a range of review scores.  We do this because Abroad101 is first and foremost a review website.  People come looking for reviews and we want to highlight recent and well written reviews.

Student Inquiries:

Recently we have seen a rise of bots sending Spam email through our inquiry form.  We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to solve this problem; we hope to have it fixed soon.

It’s Free for Schools

We offer Abroad101 to American colleges and universities as free study abroad program evaluation software.  It is fully functional SaaS that manages inviting students to submit reviews, an approval process, approved program lists, graphs and benchmarking reports and the ability to export reviews for further analysis.  Using our unique serial number, schools can also link reviews to their student information systems or TerraDotta.  University partners can also add unique questions to the 38-question base review and also choose not to publish some of them. 

Our business model gives program providers and foreign host universities the option to pay to promote their programs through advertising.  A large portion of that revenue goes to support software services allowing colleges and universities to use Abroad101 without subscription fees.   We ask that our partner schools look favorably upon the organizations who appear in the “Featured Program” positions as a thank you for the free software. 

Added Benefits of Advertising:

If goodwill is not compelling enough for you to support Abroad101, we have designed the site so that advertising on Abroad101 will bring you more inquiries, improve your conversions and raise the brand and visibility of your programs.  Featured Listings start at $500/year and we offer generous volume discounts for multiple programs and display advertising. 

We also give extra emphasis to reviews from advertised programs in Abroad101 ‘s Social Media channels.  We post excerpts of reviews in our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels and are open to extra boosts for program news and highlights as part of an advertising package.

Meet Phil at NAFSA or Schedule a Call

If you’d like to arrange a meeting with our new general manager, please email him at philippos@abroad101.com to arrange a good time/place to meet.  

We look forward to re-connecting soon!

Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Spring 2016

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webWe appreciate you taking a few minutes from your busy day to catch up on the happenings at Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website.  As we wrap up another semester, we start by reminding you to send review invites to returning students through your account on Abroad101.  You can also guide your students to start their reviews here: http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

The Latest Study Abroad Rankings:

For the fifth year, Abroad101 has tallied student reviews and produced “The 2015 Study Abroad Rankings.”  The rankings recognize the study abroad programs and locations rated highest by American students who have studied abroad in the last year. The rankings also reflect the dynamic nature of study abroad and identify up-and-coming destinations and program types in addition to top programs and providers.  From this year’s data we found that big cities are in, programs are touring, and more American students are studying abroad on programs coordinated by their home universities.

You can read the press release or view the latest rankings

As advisors, you can help improve the study abroad rankings by encouraging your students to tell their story and submit a review.  Each review counts toward the rankings and contributes insight about the whole of study abroad: from academics to food and from cost to the friendliness of the destination.  Please remember, rankings are an indicator of quality, not a measure of quality, and it is in the spirit of transparency that we publish the rankings. 

Review and Parents: Helping Set Expectations:

About 25% of the visitors to Abroad101 are parents searching for more insight into their children’s options. It is no secret that parents are increasingly involved in their children’s college education, and study abroad is no exception.  Reviews are a good way to redirect parents’ inquiries about programs and also as tool to help set expectations about a particular host university, host country, or provider.  Each Abroad101 review has 38 questions including star ratings on 9 different program aspects.  Put a review in front of a family and you’ll see the eyes of the student got to the social (or food) ratings, the mother to the safety ratings and a father to cost ratings.  This is more than just a stereotype; it demonstrates that reviews serve multiple audiences and deliver multiple perspectives.  Abroad101’s reviews are designed to foster conversation around the options and build a better sense of awareness before making the final choice.  As the old adage goes “An educated consumer is the best customer.”  For mom and dad, they think of study abroad as a product and themselves as a consumer.  Considering everything else that is rated and ranked it is only natural for parents and students to consider study abroad reviews.

Reviews and Re-entry:

Often we hear that it is hard to get students to do anything, let alone spend 20-30 minutes on a review.  This is especially true when students feel that the activity has no benefit for them.  However, they are inclined to share their stories if the exercise gives them a chance to tell their story, and that is exactly what they do on social media for hours a day! 

If the student believes the review is good for them, they will generally participate.  That takes some groundwork before they go abroad and as they prepare to return.  One idea to get more engagement is to incorporate a review in your re-entry programming and use the review process as a step toward preparing the students to share their experience with others.  Just like career counselors who tell students to prepare a good resume for a job search, we hope that study abroad advisors will help their students prepare for their return home by guiding them to submitting a thorough and candid review.

If you have a formal re-entry process, you can tie that to your Abroad101 results in a number of ways.  Within your account dashboard you can export the reviews of your students.  Those reviews have an email address and a serial number.  You can enter that serial number in your enrollment or student information systems to fulfill a requirement, or you can create a process for the student to do so.  If you are using Terra Dotta for example, we encourage you to tie the returnee phase to a questionnaire with that serial number.  Read more about linking Abroad101 and Terra Dotta Software.

What can be Better than Abroad101’s Free Software?

Since 2007, Abroad101 has been suggesting that program evaluations and online reviews can be the same thing.  A number of colleges and universities have already adopted Abroad101 as their program evaluation platform.  Today Abroad101 is the largest publisher of these powerful study abroad testimonials, yet some institutions feel that the system isn’t right for their needs.

To serve the market better we created Abroad201, a combination of software and services that provides a full range of customization and publishing options for your program evaluations.  With Abroad201 you can take those paper-based forms and turn them into meaningful data.  You can manage the publication of some or all of the reviews to wherever you want them displayed and whomever you want them shared with.  You can take the results and turn them into reports, benchmark them as you choose, and greatly enhance your reporting capabilities.

Abroad201 is a cloud-based software program and service with fees that vary depending on the level of service.  Abroad101 is free software that will remain standard in function and purpose.  Pick whichever tools meet your budget and your goals.  If you’re interested in learning more about Abroad201, please visit the new product website and sign up for a presentation call or an online demo.

Talk to us:

For those of you attending NAFSA, please stop by and say hello.  We’ll be at Booth #1133.

Every university has an account on Abroad101.  If you’d like more details on accessing yours with the option of a private online web demo, please contact support@abroad101.com

 

Happy Spring!

Mark Shay

Abroad101  /  +1-610-357-4648  /  mark@abroad101.com

www.StudyAbroad101.com

Abroad101 Releases the Latest Study Abroad Rankings

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Big cities are in, programs are touring, and more American students are studying abroad on programs coordinated by their home universities. These are some of the statistics revealed in this year’s study abroad rankings by Abroad101.

New York (April 6, 2016) – Abroad101, producers of America’s first and largest study abroad review website, released the fifth annual Study Abroad Rankings today highlighting the success of international education. The rankings recognize the study abroad programs and locations rated highest by American students who have studied abroad in the last year. The rankings also reflect the dynamic nature of study abroad and identify up-and-coming destinations and program types in addition to top programs and providers.

Notable in this year’s rankings was a shift in popularity toward programs operating in big cities, especially in Europe, which hosted 12 of the top 16 programs. The broad reach of study abroad is reflected in the Top 5, which featured programs in China, Czech Republic, Spain, Costa Rica, and Australia. In addition to rating programs, the Study Abroad Rankings also identify the “Most Livable Cities.” Students are currently favoring large cities, contrary to last year’s rankings featuring smaller college towns.

The Top Ten Most Livable Cities for study abroad are:

  1. London
  2. Florence
  3. Rome
  4. Beijing
  5. Paris
  6. Dublin
  7. Madrid
  8. San Jose, Costa Rica
  9. Sydney
  10. Gold Coast, Australia

Since students often attend programs run by organizations outside of their home university, the Study Abroad Rankings also identify the Top Study Abroad Providers:

  1. The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)
  2. IES Abroad
  3. Sol Education Abroad
  4. API (Academic Programs International)
  5. The Asia Institute
  6. ISA (International Studies Abroad)
  7. Loyola University Chicago
  8. CEA
  9. IBS (International Business Seminars)
  10. CAPA: The Global Education Network
  11. AIFS
  12. SAI Programs
  13. IFSA-Butler
  14. CISabroad (Center for International Studies)
  15. USAC

With more than 1,700 evaluations published on Abroad101, IES Abroad has received the most reviews of any provider and an overall rating of 4.6/5. The quality and quantity of these student reviews demonstrate the success of IES Abroad, crowning the company as a top provider as well as host of two top programs. CEO of IES Abroad Mary Dwyer stated, “At IES Abroad, we are dedicated to increasing accessibility to study abroad, while maintaining the highest levels of academic excellence and student health and safety in the field. We greatly value student feedback, and appreciate so many of our alumni taking the time to share their authentic program experiences with others.”

Student feedback like this is used by advisors to help future students find programs. Each year Abroad101 highlights destinations for the budget conscious; these rankings are often dictated by shifts in currency.

This year’s list Budget Friendly” Study Abroad Destinations:

  1. India
  2. China
  3. Tanzania
  4. Morocco
  5. Thailand
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Peru
  8. Ecuador
  9. Ghana
  10. Chile

Also highlighted in the rankings are “Top Non-Traditional Countries for more             intrepid students:

  1. Ghana
  2. Cuba
  3. Tanzania
  4. Turkey
  5. Morocco
  6. Switzerland
  7. Russia
  8. Romania
  9. Jordan
  10. United Arab Emirates

The overall top program honors go to Loyola University Chicago and The Beijing Center. According to Katie Rooney, Senior University Relations Coordinator, “The Beijing Center has it all – top-notch academics, unique travel experiences, immersion with the local community, and an array of co-curricular activities that really round out the student experience. Students have the opportunity to make the most of their time in China, and they can’t stop talking about it when they come back.”

The Top Study Abroad Programs are:

  1. Loyola University Chicago: The Beijing Center
  2. UPCES – Study Abroad in Prague
  3. IES Abroad: Study Abroad in Granada
  4. Sol Education Abroad: Heredia – Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
  5. The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Gold Coast – Bond University
  6. API: Lorenzo de Medici , The Italian International Institute
  7. CEA: Rome, Italy
  8. Round River Conservation Studies – Patagonia, Chile Program
  9. CAPA The Global Education Network: Dublin – Study or Intern Abroad
  10. IES Abroad: Study in Amsterdam
  11. European Study Center: Study Abroad in the EU
  12. DIS Copenhagen: Semester
  13. Regent’s University London: Study Abroad in London
  14. University of Evansville: Study abroad at Harlaxton College
  15. PRESHCO: Study Abroad in Cordoba, Spain
  16. Sant’Anna Institute: Sorrento – Live, Learn and Immerse in Italy

The rankings also reflect the ongoing change in study abroad with the rise of several specialty programs and providers and a wide variety of program formats. “Study abroad continues to be a dynamic field with innovative offerings from a steady flow of new organizations” says Mark Shay, CEO of Abroad101. “This year’s rankings give prime examples of this shift as we see the popularity of touring programs rise as well as programs offered through partnerships between universities and providers. We also see the rise in popularity of internships as part of study abroad program formats.” To see the full list of Top Study Abroad Programs, click here – http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/rankings

Students continue to flock to summer study abroad programs, and this year’s “Top Summer Programs” list includes an incredibly diverse mix of options and destinations featuring The GREEN Program as the top choice. Founder Melissa Lee states, “As a millennial-driven company, we are thrilled that GREEN alumni champion our fresh take to study abroad. Created by students, for students, we strive to provide social impact-minded participants with the career-enhancing global experiences that not only fit into their rigorous academic schedules, but also allow them to check awe-inspiring adventures and authentic cultural experiences off their bucket lists.”

There is no better way to get to know a new culture than tasting fresh, local food, and with over 300,000 American college-age students studying abroad each year, Abroad101 pays homage to millennial foodie culture by highlight “Top Foodie Cities.” Four of the top ten cities were in Italy (Florence, Rome, Milan, and Bologna), another two were in France (Paris, Aix-en-Provence), and two were in China (Beijing, Shanghai). These delicious destinations go above and beyond by winning students’ hearts, minds, and mouths as part of this high-impact educational experience.

“We produce the study abroad rankings as a way to overcome some of the objections that parents and families may have and hope that highlighting other aspects of the experience will bring more students to experience different cultures and different perspectives” says Mark Shay, the CEO of Abroad101. “Young, open minds are the key to a peaceful and prosperous future and giving them the chance to have cultural immersion experiences is life changing. We need more students to study abroad and it is the mission of Abroad101 to capture these life-changing accounts and publish them. Our tools help capture these personal triumphs and turn alumni stories into examples of the benefits of study abroad so that we can draw more students abroad” concludes Shay.

 

About Abroad101:

Founded in 2007, Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website and program evaluation software. This innovative platform serves past and future students, parents and advisors through its market-leading online evaluation tool. Under the direction of their academic advisors or program providers, students complete thorough online evaluations hosted by Abroad101 with both quantitative and qualitative responses. For the 2015 rankings, more than 6 thousand evaluations were processed and 1,262 different programs received reviews.

To learn more, visit http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/rankings

 

It is harder to study abroad than it is to get admitted to college

education and friendship concept - happy students giving high five at school

What’s wrong with this title?  Unfortunately it is state of study abroad in America today.  For all involved this is not an indictment to their intentions, rather the unfortunate state of the “industry.”  

If you are student, and you’ve encountered the maze of qualifications, pre-approvals and other barriers to study abroad, we feel your pain.  If you are feeling down, helpless there is hope – consider summer study abroad.

If you are an advisor, stuck behind a desk, wrangling with forms, clunky computer systems and byzantine procedures, we feel your pain.  We hope you will read Abroad101 CEO’s article on “How to Fix Study Abroad” and join efforts to make information simpler to navigate, more visible and easier to share.

If you are a study abroad administrator, or leader, we appeal to you to make study abroad more open, accessible and achievable.  In Europe, the Erasmus Program makes it very easy to attend a university in another country, and many do.  Mobility seems to be a key part of university administration and university life.  In the US, we are not making much progress and we hope you’ll take a few minutes, read “How to Fix Study Abroad” and work to make the little things simpler so that we can make the big things easier.

Abroad101 joins the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative

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First and largest study abroad review website commits to increase study abroad participation by doubling it’s tuition crowd funding initiative

February 25, 2015 Abroad101 has joined the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to help more Americans to gain international experience through study abroad programs. This is one of more than 450 new commitments announced by IIE.

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad seeks to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Abroad101 has been helping advance study abroad since 2007 through the publishing of study abroad program reviews, detailed first-hand accounts of students experiences abroad. Since that time, more than 23,000 reviews have been published on StudyAbroad101.com, the field’s most comprehensive directory of study abroad programs.

Under the new partnership, Abroad101 will take concrete, action-oriented steps to expand opportunities for study abroad by doubling its financial commitment to the Abroad101 Student of the Week enterprise. Started less than a year ago, this study abroad tuition crowd funding initiative helps an ambitious and deserving students boost their fundraising efforts by contributing cash, endorsement, and a social networking push. By linking the student’s fundraising campaign to reviews, the Abroad101 Student of the Week uses the success reported by previous students to help the aspiring students draw support from their friends and family.

Abroad101’s CEO Mark Shay points out that many parents and family members who may not have gone to college or studied abroad themselves have a hard time understanding the benefits of an international experience. According to Shay, “Every day, dozens of reviews are added to Abroad101, and each tells a story of a young person’s individual triumphs and set-backs; testimonials to their learning and self-improvement. Abroad101 is committed to helping bring study abroad into the mainstream, one student at a time. We strive to not only help them find the best fit program, but also take those experiences and help them jump-start their careers.”

As of November 2014, Generation Study Abroad partners to date include over 300 colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country and around the world, as well as 13 governments, 16 education associations, 67 international partners, and 56 study abroad, K-12, and social network organizations who have committed to specific goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad. Commitments include actions to diversity the population of students who participate in study abroad and provide additional financial resources to make this possible.

IIE launched Generation Study Abroad early this year in the belief that the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career, according to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says Dr. Allan Goodman, President of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

 

About Generation Study Abroad

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad seeks to significantly increase study abroad participation by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing programs. Generation Study Abroad will sustain an ongoing dialogue about the need for more students from all backgrounds and in all fields to gain international experience. This will include research to identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, communications to share strategies and best practices to increase study abroad, and fundraising to mobilize additional financial resources. IIE will also hold a Summit on Generation Study Abroad on October 1-2, 2015 to engage stakeholders in higher education and all commitment partners.

 

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 Abroad101 directory of study abroad programs is the most comprehensive database in the field today. To learn more, visit: http://www.studyabroad101.com

 

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

 

Winter 2014-2014 Advisor Newsletter

Abroad101-reviews-logo-web

Advisors Update from Abroad101 – Winter 2014-15

Greetings from Abroad101,

It’s the first anniversary of the new management team at Abroad101 and we want to sincerely thank you for your confidence and support.  We’d like to take a few minutes of your time and remind you of the various features of Abroad101, and hope that as the semester ends you will find ways to use it in your work in advancing study abroad.

Abroad101 is all about reviews and ratings, so we thought we’d put you to the test.  Please rate yourself on what kind of Abroad101 advisor you are, and don’t worry we’re not going to publish the results; this is just an exercise to help you understand the full power of our systems and the potential opportunities for you.

The What Kind of Abroad101 Advisor Are You Quiz:

1-Star User:

  • Subscribe to Advisors Newsletter
  • Aware of directories, occasionally refer prospective students to validate their choices

 2-Star User (all of the above, plus):

  • Reference Abroad101 reviews in pre-departure orientation sessions, especially for health and safety and travel tips
  • Refer prospective students to peer reviews in info sessions and campus presentations
  • Have an Abroad101 Advisors account and have logged into your dashboard
  • Encourage students to submit reviews to any review website on their return
  • Include Abroad101 postcards in resource library
  • Follow Abroad101 in Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, etc.)

 3-Star User (all of the above, plus):

  • Updated your university profile on Abroad101 though your Advisors account dashboard
  • Use the Invite Tool to encourage some or all of your returning students to submit reviews on Abroad101
  • Encourage students to join “The Study Abroad Advantage” and promote reviews through student’s Linkedin and social media
  • Link to Abroad101 from your department’s web page
  • Include reference and links to Abroad101 in email newsletters to students and parents
  • Re-tweet and Like any of your university’s activity on Abroad101’s social media

 4-Star User (all of the above, plus):

  • Create pre-approved/recommended programs lists through your advisor account dashboard
  • Read and approve/disapprove reviews
  • Encourage students to submit crowd funding initiatives through GoEnnounce the partner in Abroad101 Student of the Week
  • Use Abroad101 University Widget on your department’s web pages
  • Highlight The Study Abroad Advantage in your department’s collaboration with Career Planning and Placement Services
  • Let faculty-led and summer program administrators know about Abroad101, help them secure Provider accounts on Abroad101

 5-Star User (all of the above, plus):

  • Install Abroad101 Program Widget in your department’s own program pages, including Terra Dotta, Horizons and AbroadOffice directories.
  • Use Invite Tool to require reviews of all students making Abroad101 the official program evaluation tool at your institution
  • Submit faculty-led and “in-house” home student only programs to Abroad101 directories for review
  • Export review reports each semester and build statistical archive of student performance
  • Utilize comparison graphs for university accountability and share Abroad101 generated statistics with university’s senior leadership

 5-Star PLUS User (all of the above, plus):

  • Integrate the Abroad101 API tools into your student information system to collect reviews automatically
  • Publish Abroad101 reviews on your website
  • Use Abroad101 data and case studies in presentations at Academic Conferences and include Abroad101 in those sessions

The above exercise was designed to show you that Abroad101 is more than just a pretty website, it is a platform to capture and share the study abroad experience.  It takes a concept as simple as a review, and turns it into something very powerful by taking advantage of a standard set of questions, a sophisticated publishing system and a set of tools built specifically for advisors.  You will get a lot from Abroad101 if you invest some time and effort into harnessing its great potential.  The system is designed to be Fast – Free – Easy.  The rest is up to you.

Now is the time to Send Review Invites
As students from the fall semester return home, now is the perfect time to send the invitation to submit reviews.  It is our experience that students will submit reviews when invited, but rarely on their own.  Over 70% of all reviews on Abroad101 come from the invitation of advisors, so please login to your account, use the Invite Tool and get those reviews flowing.

Remember, it’s never too late to draw a review so if you’ve not sent an invitation in a while, or you tried other means than the Abroad101 Invite Tool, please come back and use the Invite Tool for summer and even spring of 2014 participants.  The Invite Tool is smart enough not to send invites to student who have already been invited and won’t send a reminder to those who have already completed a review.

Also note that reviews collected in 2014 or the result of an invitation issued from Abroad101 in 2014 will be considered for our annual rankings.  Send your invitations by December 31 and those reviews will automatically be entered into the rankings process.

Improving Review Participation
A few key words will impact participation.  Request/Require is the big one, indicating that you require reviews will likely drive more students to submit reviews.  To help improve the quality of those reviews, your message might also include the idea that submitting a review is good for the student.  Feel free to use or paraphrase this text:

  • Your review will be published on the Abroad101 website and will become its own webpage.  This creates a great place to showcase your experience and use it to open doors to your career.  Employers are looking for people with an international background and your review on Abroad101 is a perfect place to jump-start your career.  We suggest you view the review as a writing sample and a chance to show the real you.  Show future employers and recruiters that you can be constructive in your criticism, take responsibility for your outcomes, be reflective and be forward thinking.  State your new worldview and use the review as your place to shine.

Our experience shows that invites issued directly through our tool have a higher yield rate, perhaps it is the reminders or perhaps it is the link specifically to the submit review form (as opposed to finding the program, then clicking the “review” icon).  When invitations go out from our system, they average 15% completion rates when the request reviews button is selected, much higher if the “require reviews” button is selected.

If using your own means to draw reviews has response rates that are much lower, perhaps you might consider running one set of names through our system and another set through your direct list and do analysis on their conversions; A/B Testing as we like to call this process.  It may also help conversions if, in your external message, you provide a link directly to the page to start submitting a review:
http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/new

Reviews Are Social Media:
Like other forms of Social Media, Abroad101 is designed for sharing.  Reviews on Abroad101 are given a unique and permanent web address, provide comment sections and are distributed through a number of outlets.  On Abroad101, reviews are summarized by program, by provider, by home institution and by host institution (if applicable), each with their own fixed web page address.  Reviews are streamed to third parties through electronic feeds, software widgets and our associated community pages on Facebook and Twitter.

As you manage your own marketing and promotion efforts on campus, we hope you will utilize the Abroad101 content as much as possible.  As our “What Kind of Abroad101 Advisor Are You Quiz” highlights, there are ample ways to take data from Abroad101 and filter it to your student audience (web links to your university portal on Abroad101, web links to specific program pages, widgets, RSS feeds and APIs.)  Turning these into Social Media posts of your own is one way to utilize Abroad101 as Social Media content for your office; featuring programs and reviews are others.

Each day Abroad101 pushes several programs and up to half a dozen reviews into our Social Media networks.  The Cool Program of the Week and Student of the Week are two popular items to share with your social media followers.  We also put programs from our advertisers out as Social Media content, we hope that you will share some of these as well.  Reviews with their catchy titles and photos can themselves be fantastic content for your Social Media.  If you aren’t following us, please do.  Then when good material comes across your account, please like it, share it and use it to keep your followers engaged.  Reviews are Social Media and are most beneficial when shared.

Facebook.com/Abroad101
Twitter.com/StudyAbroad101
Pinterest.com/StudyAbroad101
Instagram.com/StudyAbroad101
The Study Abroad Advantage on Linkedin

Check Out Our sessions:
Abroad101’s CEO, Mark Shay presented sessions that outline these topics in further depth.  You can download the session slides from our blog:
ISEP Conference: “Social Media & Web Marketing Tools for Marketing and Advising”
NAFSA Region X/XI: “Why Require Student Reviews”

Working Closer with Abroad101:
We are eager to help you advance study abroad on your campus.  We want to see more students abroad and we want those that go be better informed beforehand and help them turn that experience into a career building stepping stone afterward.  We are delighted to help you do the same and are available to answer any of your questions by email or phone.  We also welcome the opportunity to walk you, and members of your staff though the system with an online demo of the back-end features Abroad101.  Please send an email to support@abroad101.com to take the next step.  Also feel free to use this account to nominate colleagues for our newsletter or offer them a free Advisor account with Abroad101.

And, as always, your comments, questions and feedback are welcome.  Thanks for a great year; the best is yet to come!

Thanks!

Mark Shay
CEO, Abroad101
mark@abroad101.com
+1-212-321-0928

Abroad101 Announces “The Study Abroad Advantage”

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Join the Study Abroad Advantage on LinkedIn

Putting the Ideals of Study Abroad into Practice, Abroad101 Announces “The Study Abroad Advantage”

International education software company extends its platform to help students advance their careers.

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New York, NY (PRWEB) October 06, 2014

Abroad101 has launched an initiative called “The Study Abroad Advantage.” Designed to help college students gain an edge in the job market after graduation, this collaborative effort involves students, college advisors and prospective employers. Students start their Advantage with a capstone summary of their education abroad published on Abroad101. This review is logo_prwebthen shared via social networks and other outlets with prospective employers who are looking for students with international experience, foreign language skills and the maturity that comes from being overseas.

Study Abroad is widely considered advantageous in the job market. Mark Shay, CEO of Abroad101.com stated, “The goal of The Study Abroad Advantage is to put this theory into practice by providing a platform for students to showcase how they have grown and matured while overseas. For employers, The Study Abroad Advantage is a place for HR departments, hiring managers and recruiters to get a glimpse into the personality and character of the student as a prospective employee.”

Connecting the two is a group on Linkedin called “The Study Abroad Advantage.” The group was created on August 30 and was joined by over 250 students in the first 5 days. Students in the group link to their study abroad review from their Linkedin profile as a reference point, while employers and job recruiters use the group to connect and network with these stand-out students.

Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, is an early supporter of The Study Abroad Advantage. Trinity has a vibrant study abroad program and requires returning students to complete a program evaluation through Abroad 101. Nancy Ericksen, Assistant Director for Study Abroad in the International Programs Office at Trinity, says, “The future is here. With the reality of technological advances and a growing global economy, I believe that the student with international experience has an advantage in preparing for the world of tomorrow. Using The Study Abroad Advantage, our students can showcase their experience and use it in opening contact with employers – leveraging that to start their career.”

Employers are increasingly turning to the web to investigate candidates, discover how well they communicate and present themselves added Martin Tillman, President of Global Career Compass, an international consulting practice focusing on the impact of study abroad on student career development: “There is much evidence (in research conducted by both academics, private companies and research organizations) that the value-added of international education experience to a students’ career development is diminished if students cannot clearly articulate the impact of that experience. The Study Abroad Advantage is a nice way for education abroad advisors and career service counselors to harmonize their professional skills with technology to enhance the value of study abroad for their students.”

The Linkedin group is just the beginning according to Abroad101’s Shay: “We are looking forward to working with university career centers and placement offices as well as large employers to find innovative ways to help these creative, ambitious and now mature students turn their real-world experiences to leap forward in their career development. The core philosophy of The Study Abroad Advantage is to provide a platform to channel the energy and idealism fostered by international education into organizations in need of talent.”

About Abroad101
Founded in 2007, Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website that also gives universities a software tool for evaluating their exchange, faculty-led, third-party provider, volunteer and internship programs. Focusing on American college students looking for a semester or term abroad, this innovative system connects past and future students, parents, advisors and program providers. As part of the platform, the Abroad101 directory of study abroad programs is the most comprehensive database in the field today. To see the study abroad rankings rating and reviews visit http://www.StudyAbroad101.com

Read this Press Release on PR Web

Social Media & Web Tools for Marketing and Advising

2014 ISEP Conference Hero Image

ISEP Conference

Thursday, November 13, 2:15 – 3:30

Potomac Ballroom D

As International Offices we are dedicated to advancing and internationalization plan because we believe in the transformative nature of global experience for students.  How much of that plan is influenced by our students and how often are we willing to meet our students on their own terms?  This session will explore the importance of leveraging student feedback in planning.  It will also challenge the traditional office-based approach to advising and demonstrate web-based platforms for engagement.

Presenters:

Joseph Burrow, ISEP

Duleep Deosthale, Admissions Table

Mark Shay, Abroad101  – Download presentation:  ISEP Session – Social Media

http://isepconference.wordpress.com/

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.