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.

The Study Abroad Advantage



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.


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 then 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 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. Click to learn more about Abroad101′s Study Abroad Programs, Rankings, Ratings and Reviews


Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Back to School, Fall 2014

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webNow Live: Abroad101’s Search by Subject

Abroad101 is pleased to announce its latest enhancement, the ability to search for programs by academic subject area. Originating from advisor and student feedback, we pushed providers to update their listings to include subject area and we have now released “search by subject” in our Advanced Search option: Students can now search 238 different fields of study, then select other criteria such as program length, country and city. As we soft-launch this new feature, look for the functionality to expand to other areas of the site in the coming months.

Abroad101 is More than a Pretty Website, it is an Education Abroad Program Evaluation Platform
Abroad101 is promoted publicly as the first and largest study abroad review website; but behind the scenes, more than 30 colleges and universities require their students to complete evaluations in order to receive credit for their education abroad experience. Think of Abroad101 as software, to manage all your international program evaluation needs, an add-on to your enrollment management system and a gateway to your university course evaluation system. In addition to the comprehensive directory of third-party programs, Abroad101 is also an effective platform for evaluating exchanges, faculty-led and consortia programs, along with service learning/volunteer and internship-for-credit programs.

Abroad101 works off a standard 37-question set survey that draws a student through a series of questions to get them to think critically, be reflective and then be forward thinking as they step through the review. Each review is then published with its own unique web page to showcase this experience to the world. Using Abroad101 gives advisors a tool to compile the ratings by program, provider, and city then compare the results to other universities. University administrators can have a single place for all education abroad data and reporting.

It is important for universities in this age of transparency to be forthcoming in the reporting of education abroad experiences. Publishing reviews is a big step in this direction. As the field’s first and largest review platform, using Abroad101 can quickly and effectively align your institution to these expectations. The software is cloud-based and is provided free of charge thanks to the support of leading program providers who advertise on Abroad101.

To request a free account with Abroad101, simply email your name, department and job title to We’ll create an account for you and then work with you to make sure all your endorsed programs are in our directory and provide you with ongoing support in using the system. In addition to the existing third-party programs already in Abroad101, we can also include your faculty-led and home student only programs as well as tie your exchange partners to your account on Abroad101.

Not ready to jump in, but want to learn more? Contact us to schedule an online demo of the back-end tools for our program evaluation and review platform. Send preferred times to:

Give Your Students “The Study Abroad Advantage”
Abroad101 has launched an initiative called “The Study Abroad Advantage.” Designed to help study abroad alumni gain an edge in the job market, the project aims to connect students and employers. Students start their advantage with a capstone summary of their education abroad published on Abroad101, which will then be shared with prospective employers who have indicated a bias toward those with an international education experience.

The core of the project is a group on Linkedin called “The Study Abroad Advantage.” The group was created at the beginning of September and was joined by over 250 students in the first 5 days. Students in the group link their study abroad review from their Linkedin profile. Employers and job recruiters are invited to join the group and to network with these globally minded students. Discussions and announcements further help students with their search and showcase their talents and abilities.

We encourage education abroad and career advisors to highlight “The Study Abroad Advantage” as yet another benefit of completing a well-crafted, thoughtful review on Abroad101. For students, the review should be a point-of-pride and a showcase of what they experienced and how they were affected and how they matured. More and more, employers are checking backgrounds on students and a linked, published education abroad review is a positive way to demonstrate the benefits of study abroad and to help jump start a student’s career.

Abroad101 on the Road
Abroad101 will attend, exhibit and present sessions at a number of conferences this fall. We hope to see you at:

NAFSA X-XI in Albany, NY
NAFSA III in Fort Worth, TX
NAFSA VI in Lexington, KY
ISEP Conference in Arlington VA
CIEE Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Postcards for your On-Campus Fairs
For those of you having study abroad fairs and workshops, we hope you will include Abroad101 in your plans. We have postcards and brochures available as handouts for your events and reference libraries, please email and let us know how many to send and a mailing address.

Don’t forget the Abroad101 Blog:
If you hadn’t noticed, the Abroad101 blog has come back to life. There you will see guest postings from professionals in the field, our crowd funding initiative called “the Abroad101 Student of the Week” plus additional news and numbers from Abroad101. Where else can you find news like this?

• Emily is the most common first name of students who study abroad
• University College London is the 2nd most popular direct enrollment institution
• CEA is the 4th most popular provider.

With 2-3 postings in an average week, its worth a visit to for some engaging reading.

Here are some of our more popular blog posts (some remain timeless):
Using your study abroad experience beyond college
Finding the perfect Host Family gift
Parents: What to do before your son or daughter leaves to study abroad

Abroad101 on Social Media:
Abroad101 is syndicating content now more than ever. 4-8 times per day we are feeding a recently reviewed program, notable review, blog post or popular directory page into our social media networks. Our campaigns for “Cool Program of the Week” and the “Jump Into Study Abroad” photo gallery help spread the word of the positive aspects of study abroad to a growing audience of parents, students and advisors. Our Pinterest boards are picking up some of the best photos and sharing them and now we’re also on Instagram. For alumni we’re using social media to help foster positive outcomes through initiatives like “The Study Abroad Advantage” and we need you to help spread the word. To make the Social in Social Media work, we ask that you bring our initiatives to the attention of your student office workers and student ambassadors and have them connect to us to help us share the good news about education abroad. Please connect to:

And of course, please don’t forget to add a good old fashion link to from your advising web page.

As always, we’re here to help. Please feel free to send comments, suggestions and your general feedback direct to me:

Mark Shay, CEO


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Top # of Direct Enroll and Exchange Student Reviews on Abroad101

chart of number of student reviews for direct enroll and exchange programs

Abroad101 Number of Student Reviews for Direct Enroll and Exchange Programs

Abroad101 contains reviews from students who study abroad with a variety of program types including those offered by third-party providers, faculty-led programs, internships and volunteer opportunities and direct enrollment & exchange.  These direct enrollment & exchange programs put students in foreign student housing, often with foreign student roommates; a full immersion in the foreign university campus.

These programs are not for everyone, but can be a great way to save money and go it on your own.  Based on the number of reviews of these programs, here are some of the more popular foreign host universities for study abroad with direct enrollment and exchange.  Search Abroad101 for these and nearly 1,500 other choices…

Summer 2014 Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter:


Ah Summer, the time to…
…invite recently returned students to submit their program reviews!  Last week alone, the Abroad101 system sent 1065 invites to students, coming from providers, advisors and host institutions.  Now is the ideal time for advisors and students to catch up on “paperwork” and reflecting on their recent education abroad experience is a perfect summer task.

Nearly 90% of the reviews on Abroad101 originate from an invite, making this a vital part of the process.  FYI – 70% of the reviews come from advisor invites, 20% from provider invites and the remaining reviews come from students who discover us on their own.

As a reminder, the most effective way to generate reviews is to use the “invite tool” in your account with Abroad101.  Using the invite tool not only makes it easy, it sends reminders to those that don’t complete a review and it doesn’t send reminders to those that do.  If your institution does not require reviews, you should expect that 15% of students you invite would complete a review.

Requiring reviews provides you with a wealth of data and tools to compare your students to the others that use Abroad101.  You can also add custom review questions to our standard set of 37.  You can see the review questions here:

Our latest guest blog posting identifies five reasons a students should complete a review.  We offer this to you as content to help students understand that completing a review is also good for the student, please read:
Also, tips on writing a good review:

New: Home Students Only Programs
For all programs listed on the Abroad101, we have a data field known as Program Management to help guide placement in the directories.  It has values of “Outside Provider”, “Direct Exchange” and “Faculty Led.” In response to feedback from advisors, we have added a new “Home Students Only” category that allows for a program to be listed and designated as available to only students at the home university.  Programs labeled as Home Students Only will still be listed in the directories for reviews, but they will not be open to inquiries from outside students.  This removes a big barrier for listing university programs that are not open to students from other universities and was added to support the growing number of universities that require evaluations through Abroad101.  If you would like your in-house or home students only programs added to Abroad101, please send them in a spreadsheet to:

Sharing Reviews – Part 1: THE WIDGET:
Abroad101 now has 2 widgets to bring our data to your web site. A widget is small block of computer code that when placed on your web page(s) easily displays review summaries on your page.

University Widget brings a list of the top reviewed pre-approved programs to your web site.  A box with up to 7 programs can be placed on your study abroad web home page or testimonials page that shows a sampling of the programs you designate as recommended or pre-approved.  Installing the widget is fairly simple:

  1. Visit:
  2. Choose your university, the width and the number of programs to display, click “generate code”
  3. Copy that code to your web page and insert in a way similar to putting in a photo or graphic

Program Widget is designed as a badge and creates a small sized icon that highlights an individual program’s star rating and number of reviews.  It is an ideal addition to your directory of programs and can feature a provider’s program or one of your own.  Installing the widget is even simpler than the university widget:

  1. Visit:
  2. Choose the width and the program to display, click “generate code”
  3. Copy that code to your web page and insert in a way similar to putting in a photo or graphic

Pre-Approved Lists:

To use the University Widget, you must also have created a pre-approved or recommended programs list.  To create a list:

  1. Login to your advisor account on Abroad101
  2. From your Administration Dashboard, under Program Listings, select Approve More Programs
  3. Search for programs using region, country, organizer (provider) and Load Programs
  4. Check the desired programs and click the Approve Selected button

For those of you that would like us to create this list for you, please provide us with a spreadsheet of recommended or pre-approved programs and email them to:

The pre-approved programs list is published on the Abroad101 home page for your university and is housed on the tab next to the summary of your student reviews.  Also, when your students visit the site and login, they will see these pre-approved programs highlighted as they browse the site, another benefit of using the pre-approved/recommended programs option.

Sharing Data – Part 2: THE API:
If the badges or content boxes aren’t enough, Abroad101 is delighted to announce its new API gateway.  We have created an advanced interface to automatically pass data (reviews and student inquiries) from our system to that of providers and universities.  API code and routines on your computer systems pull data from ours and post it where you’d like.  The data can go to your student information system, CRM system or back to your web site.  Documentation and your unique API Key can be found at the bottom left of your Abroad101 account dashboard, or here:

Training, Staff Development and private Webinars:
Your account on Abroad101 has basic information about using the system and suggestions for you to follow, but if you’d prefer a more personal touch, we’re available for training sessions either by phone or through a private Webinar.  Sessions take about an hour and can be scheduled at your convenience.  For more details, please contact:

Coming Soon: Search by subject!
Today the directories of programs on Abroad101 are organized by city and country.  By the time the Fall Semester begins, we will have a search by subject option and directories of programs by their subject area.  We have been working with providers to collect subject area data on programs and will reorganize the subject list in conjunction with the upgrade.  Look for details in our next newsletter.

Thanks to the Providers:
Abroad101 continues to offer its directory and publishing tools free of charge to advisors and students due to the support of our advertisers, the best of the study abroad providers.  The money they invest in advertising is the money we use to operate and further develop our industry leading program review and evaluation platform.  You will notice their support on the site through the Featured Programs listings.  Please encourage your students to use this part of the site and thank those providers; it’s because of them Abroad101 remains: Fast. Free. Easy.

Please don’t forget to follow and join our activity on Social Media:


Mark Shay

How to Fix the Top Pronunciation Errors Made by ESL Learners


According to the 2013 Open Doors on International Education Exchange Report, about 283,000 American students went abroad in a single year for academic credit. Many of them love the countries they visit, and they decide to return after graduation, opting to become English teachers to financially support their time overseas.

Completing on online master’s degree and earning TEFL credentials (like an online TEFL master’s program) can put students into the fast lane for English teaching positions. It also gives them the chance to return to America with both a master’s degree and teaching experience on their resumes.
One common challenge that overseas English teachers encounter is how to correct their students’ English pronunciation without making them afraid to speak in front of peers. To strike the right balance, ESL teachers should learn the most common pronunciation errors that students make along with simple strategies for correcting students without discouraging them.

What Are the Most Common English Pronunciation Problems?
According to ESL teacher Claudia Pesce, who works in Buenos Aires, Argentina, students who are learning to speak English deal with seven common pronunciation errors:man-woman-papers

  1. “Th.” Many students pronounce “th” the way that “th” is pronounced in the word “Thames.” Let students know this is the least common way to pronounce “th.” Also, when pronouncing “th” as in the word “three,” remind students that there is no vocalization during the “th” sound.
  2. The schwa. The schwa sound is the “uh” sound that is unstressed, such as the second syllable in the word “chocolate.” Many students try to pronounce every syllable instead of flowing over the schwa. Provide them with examples of the schwa and how to de-stress it in their speech.
  3. “L” vs. “r.” These consonants are often challenging to students from Japan and other Asian countries. Focus on tongue position and on mastering each sound individually before trying to mix “l’ and “r” in conversation.
  4. “V” vs. “w.” Another pronunciation common to native Slavic and other Eastern European speakers is to substitute a “v” sound for a “w” sound. Teach students to start by shaping their mouths to say “o” and then relaxing the lips to form the “w” sound.
  5. Silent “e.” Students may pronounce the word “not” and “note” the same way. They understand that the “e” is silent, but they don’t understand how it changes the pronunciation of the word. Practice with word pairs, showing them how the extra “e” magically changes the pronunciation of the vowel.
  6. Short “i.” Spanish speakers, for example, naturally pronounce the letter “i” as “ee.” When they read the word “sit” aloud, they may mistakenly pronounce it as “seet.” Again, use word pairs to help them practice the vowel difference between words like “sit” and “seat.”
  7. Silent consonants. English uses many silent consonants. For example, the “d” in the word “Wednesday” is not pronounced, but students may not understand why. Pesce suggests writing the word on the board and crossing out the silent letter. Speak the word, have the student repeat it, and then have the student write it down and cross out the silent letter.

How Can Teachers Make Corrections Without Discouraging Students?

Students can be self-conscious about grammatical errors, but they’re usually even more self-conscious about pronunciation errors. How teachers respond depends greatly on the personality of the students and on the emotional safety of the classroom. In a culture that is more deferential or in a classroom of quieter students, avoid asking the student to repeat the word multiple times. Also, avoid asking another student what the speaker meant to say.

student-at-chalkboardEven with more spontaneous and good-humored students, avoid making fun of a mispronunciation or allowing other students to mock the person who made the error. In all cases, teachers should avoid making fun of student errors, even if the student seems to have a self-deprecating sense of humor. Teachers can make notes of common pronunciation errors made by multiple students for the whole class to work on together. They can also jot errors on note cards and hand the note cards to individual students. In many cases, providing students with a checklist of common mispronunciations, particularly before a presentation, can help them to prepare beforehand and to avoid making pronunciation errors.

ESL teachers have to balance the joy of learning language with the necessity of correcting mistakes. By respecting students and providing specific learning strategies for errors, they can make learning fun while also fostering excellence.

Evaluations and Expectations : Tips for the Study Abroad Advisor

By: Missy Gluckmann, Founder of

If you’re a study abroad advisor, you will get the magnitude of this question:

How can you collapse many days worth of information on preparing for study abroad into
your short pre-departure meeting?

One could liken covering what is vital in a pre-departure meeting to solving the Rubik’s Cube with one arm tied behind your back. It seems to be a mission impossible!

Students on lecturerThe reality is that there is simply too much to cover and increasing pressure to talk about logistics of getting from point A to point B. (I won’t even get into the “necessary” paperwork that has to be checked before departure.) Couple that with the fact that pre-departure meetings are often scheduled during a busy time of the academic year and students typically don’t read the detailed packets of information that are thoughtfully provided, and you can be left feeling rather defeated in your role as a study abroad advisor.

Ideally, the goal is to set expectations and to transfer knowledge about culture. With the advent of open source evaluations, the advisor’s role of inspiring students to carefully consider what to expect when they’re abroad becomes much easier.

Perhaps Terrell Owens’ quote best sums up the value of expectations:

“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.”

Or at the very least, one hopes that your students will have a much better idea of what they’re stepping into!

Here are 3 steps to guide study abroad advisors in setting cultural and programmatic expectations for study abroad students:

1) Look to the past, first.
You’ve heard the expression, ‘you have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going’. This applies to setting expectations for study abroad too. Through the website, you can look up a specific program and read comments related to each category (such as housing, safety, food, etc.) as an initial starting point. What common concerns or feedback have students shared year over year via evaluations? Where have they rated fewer stars? Have they consistently commented about differences in housing and the type of food available at self-contained campuses abroad? Are there concerns about socializing with locals? Past evaluations will quickly surface common categories that students have felt motivated to share specific feedback about. These categories can translate into a roadmap for areas of focus in your upcoming pre-departure meeting, as these are the “hot buttons” that have come up time and time again, according to your customers (students). By looking to the past, we can see where we can set better expectations for the students (and their parents too).

2) Glean insights
Now that you know where to focus, you’ll need to carefully consider what students are saying about these “hot button” topics. Are the comments “one offs” or is there a pattern? Was the student particularly “picky” or was the feedback ubiquitous and verifiable?

I researched evaluations from one summer program in Quito, Ecuador – a place that I’ve been to twice – that carries a serious reputation for being unsafe. Here are a couple of comments that allow us to easily address expectations of safety :

“There is an overall inevitably high safety risk in Quito, however, I was
fine having taken proper precautions.

Another student candidly notes:

“Americans were definitely targeted but generally just for petty theft, nothing violent. I had my purse slashed and wallet stolen. A friend had his pocket slashed and wallet stolen. Both were on crowded city buses. However, these were the only incidents our group had, probably because we were given a very thorough briefing on safety. A group from another school that we encountered at one point said half of their students had been the victims of petty theft.”

These types of comments are incredibly valuable because they provide REAL accounts about what can happen in Quito. This also provides an opportunity to remind students that petty theft happens in their home country as well as in Western Europe (for example, my sister’s camera was stolen in a movie theater in Paris, France.) Theft happens. Setting expectations of how to avoid it by sharing comments like these is priceless. It opens the dialogue about what to pack (jewelry is completely unnecessary) and how to carry what you bring (put your money in a front pocket, skip the wallet and pocketbook, carry a slash proof travel pouch, the risk of taking crowded buses vs. traveling on public transportation during off peak hours).

Bold, truthful statements will help students (and parents) to set realistic expectations. They’re the kind of banter that is not included in marketing brochures, for obvious reasons, but the type that sincerely and authentically inform.

3) Tap into Culture
If we carry on with the example of safety in Quito, we step into a beautiful opportunity to create dialogue about culture. If we don’t, students (and parents) may be left with the impression that Ecuadorians are perpetual thieves or that you cannot step out of your homestay without losing your wallet.

By taking time to share the economic realities of Quito, students will have a better understanding of the WHY behind the expectation you’re setting. As Rebecca Adams de Garate, co-founder of El Nomad, explains “Minimum wage in Ecuador is a little over $300 per month. If the household has only one working parent, several children and earns only Ecuadorian minimum wage, pickpocketing is an easy way to make money. Things like smart phones, tablets and digital cameras are very expensive in Ecuador, so there is a very active black market for such stolen goods, especially in Guayaquil and Quito.” Improving expectations and providing the cultural realities – now you’re not only preparing – you’re truly educating!

For those of you who do not have a large enough study abroad population to host a group pre-departure meeting or you recruit students from many schools across the country, one solution for enhancing expectations through evaluations is to pull together links from several reviews and share them (by category, such as housing or safety) to include in your communication to students – whether it be a newsletter, a virtual pre-departure program, or via a PDF of your pre-departure materials.

No matter the method, setting expectations will make for a more smooth landing for everyone involved in the program – administrators, faculty, host country staff/homestay families and host country nationals, parents – and of course, the students!
About the Author:

Melissa Gluckmann, contributor to the Studyabroad101 Blog and founder of Melibee GlobalMissy Gluckmann is the Founder of Melibee Global, which aims to elevate the discussion about education abroad, culture, diversity and the lifelong path to global citizenship by offering trailblazing tools, speakers and professional development for the global education and travel communities. Raised in New York, Missy has lived abroad three times and traveled to dozens of countries. Missy currently resides in North Carolina and experiences culture shock there on a daily basis! She can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.