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.

Study Abroad Update from the Middle East

October 2015 –

There is war raging in parts of the Middle East and that has impacted everyone in the region. Those involved in international education face an anxious group of current students and a concerned, if not skeptical group of future students. We thought we’d ask how a few of the universities in the region are coping with the situation. Here’s what they say.

From Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates:

AmericanUniv sharjahThe American University of Sharjah (AUS) enjoys all of the safety and stability that the UAE has to offer.  In contrast to many countries around the world, including the USA, the UAE has experienced very minimal terrorist activity, violent incidents, or property crime.  The country is known for its political stability, careful visa screening policies, and strict security measures. Dusk arrives between 6 and 7 pm throughout the year, and women especially enjoy freedom to walk safely around the city centers after nightfall.  In addition, the UAE maintains one of the most diverse populations in the world, and is tolerant and welcoming to people from various world cultures and religions.

The standalone AUS Campus located within the University City complex is similarly safe and secure, with an on-site Health Clinic (including Ambulance), major teaching hospital located just around the corner, campus-wide security officers on staff at all hours, a special division of the police stationed at the two access gates to campus, and a Police College located just next door.  We send our students to study abroad, often to the USA, and I always find it rather ironic when I have to calm the fears of local parents who worry about sending their students to a place where there are so many campus shootings, etc.!

From Beirut, Lebanon:

AUB life has been safe and thriving, thus no recent announcements in the last 15 months have needed to be made except for health precautions when the university wAmericanUniv-Beirutas closed for the dust storm. When the University needs to communicate an important announcement regarding safety to the AUB community, this information appears on the AUB homepage and is also sent via SMS so that messages are instantly received on users’ (students, faculty & staff) mobile phones.

Most international students, especially visiting international students, take advantage of the weekend trips and events organized by the Office of International Programs (OIP). OIP follows a safety and security protocol for these trips, and it’s been pleasing to learn (and experience!) how much they are enjoyed and taken advantage of by all international students. Furthermore, students are given a number of campus resources to reach out to for informed travel, including suggestions of where not to go. Ultimately all decisions regarding travel to, from, and within Lebanon are personal ones.  Students, families, and schools are encouraged to discuss the security situation in the country and arrive at informed conclusions that satisfy their personal comfort level.

At AUB, we are committed to campus and neighborhood safety, and to be as effective as possible in a crisis situation.  AUB cannot however guarantee political certainty so ultimately whether or not a student decides to attend AUB comes down to personal choice.  AUB receives on average 50 visiting and exchange students per semester and about 22% of its student population is international.

From Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

AmericanUniv DubaiThe economic progress and broad-scale success of Dubai have captured the imagination of the world. Dubai’s booming prosperity and its safe environment attract thousands of visitors every year. At The American University in Dubai (AUD) students live and study on a campus where over 100 nationalities are represented. Every academic year AUD receives over 100 study abroad students who travel comfortably in the region and get fully immersed into its cultural diversity and thus get a unique international exposure. In addition, AUD is located in a very vibrant area of Dubai – Media City, in proximity to Nakheel metro station.

The American University in Dubai ensures that the utmost security and safety measures are taken on its campus at all times. AUD’s Security Office is reachable 24/7 through the Security Supervisor, or the Security Emergency Number; the security guards are present round-the-clock on campus for the sake of the students’ welfare. Students must always be collaborative and present their student AUD ID at the security gates or whenever asked by the security guards inside the campus. AUD security guards have the right to expel from campus or deny entry to students who refuse to present their AUD IDs. All visitors wishing to enter our campus are allowed access either by prior invitation from a member of the AUD community, in which our security team verifies immediately with the concerned AUD member before entry of visitor; or if the visitor wishes to visit our Admissions team, they are allowed access to that department directly, which in all cases they are asked to leave their national ID at the security gates, and are given a visitor’s badge to wear during their stay on campus.

For any emergencies out of our institutions’ control, the security team at AUD involved the Supervisor immediately and contacts Dubai Authorities and Dubai Police for further guidance if needed.

As you can see from each of these accounts, the universities in the region are moving forward with their educational mission and taking precautions to keep their students and international visitors well cared for. As Americans see in the news, tragedy and random violence occurs worldwide and is a concern for us all. The war that rages on in some parts of the Middle East does cast a shadow over daily life in the entire region as well as the world, and at the same time life goes on.

We highlight three universities that openly welcome study abroad students and are committed to bringing a rewarding and worthwhile educational opportunity to future students. Each hopes you will consider spending some time on their campus and experience the best of what they have to offer. Check out what students have to say about their experience by reading the reviews:

http://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/american-university-of-sharjah-sharjah-direct-enrollment-exchange

http://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/american-university-of-beirut-beirut-direct-enrollment-exchange

http://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/american-university-in-dubai-study-abroad-in-the-middle-east

 

At risk of being cliché, we leave you with the widely referenced quote about travel: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
 Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad

 

 

2015: Study Abroad by the Numbers

Study Abroad Destination popularity from StudentUniverse.com –

Every year, thousands of American students visit other countries for a semester of study abroad. But where are they all going? We took a look at the most popular city destinations from students from all 50 states (based on our booking data).

Check out the results  displayed on the map below.

Want a discount on your flight or excursions abroad? Visit StudentUniverse.comuse promo code 2rq9hk9sg5ab at checkout* and receive $20 off your international flight!

StudentUniverse2015StudyAbroad (1)

 

Study Abroad Statistics

The most commonly used study abroad statistics come from IIE and its annual survey of universities called Open Doors. http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/US-Study-Abroad This initiative tallies credit bearing experiences reported by universities in the year after they occurred. It is the bellwether measure of study abroad and provides the data most often cited in the field and by the media. The number of participants in study abroad in 2013 was reported as 289,408, which represents 1.3% of all American post-secondary students. Open Doors states that 9% of those who earned an undergraduate degree have studied abroad.

Please feel free to share this infographic with the following citation: "Institute of International Education. (2013).Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors"

Please feel free to share this infographic with the following citation: “Institute of International Education. (2013).Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors”

 

There are a lot of international experiences that the Open Doors report does not tally. These include non-credit bearing programs like adventure travel, volunteer and internships abroad, language immersions. By using university reporting, the Open Doors report also misses programs where the student doesn’t seek transfer credit, credit was denied, or the experience somehow bypassed normal university channels.

We do know one thing; students like to travel. According to a special report from StudentUniverse + Skift http://skift.com/2014/10/07/new-free-skift-report-the-state-of-student-travel/ “The student traveler represents fully one-fifth of all international arrivals in the travel industry, today. They command a market value of some $320 billion and they are willing to spend to create experiences that go far beyond the backpack-and-party crowd that some would assert to have once characterized educational journeys abroad.”

According to the World Tourism Organization http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2014-11-04/unwto-and-adventure-travel-trade-association-release-global-report-adventur , Over one billion international tourists travelled the world in 2013, accounting for 9% of global GDP, 30% of services exports and 1 in every 11 jobs. At least 30 million students are reported to be included in these numbers.

Abroad101 is designed to encourage students to undertake an experience off-campus and outside their comfort zones. We have accounts of study abroad, study away, education abroad, internships abroad, volunteer, intensive language and even pre-college gap year programs. As the reviews attest, the maturing and learning that occurs has a profound impact on the individual student and a compound impact on society. Our hope is to demonstrate that there is opportunity worldwide in unique and surprising places and that the first hand accounts of students will pave the way for more students to challenge themselves and expose themselves to the world. Along the way, we have compiled our own statistics and view of the world based on reviews received and traffic patterns in our program directories. Here are a few more data points to think about:

Top Study Abroad Providers

http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/12/top-20-education-abroad-providers/

 

Most Popular Foreign Universities (Direct Enrollment & Exchange)

http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/08/top-of-direct-enroll-and-exchange-student-reviews-on-abroad101/

 

Most Desired Countries to Study Abroad

http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/10/most-desired-places-to-study-abroad/

 

Most Desired Cities to Study Abroad

http://blog.studyabroad101.com/?p=5563

 

Cities with the Most Study Abroad Programs

http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/08/worldwide-cities-with-the-most-study-abroad-programs/

 

Most Popular First Names of Study Abroad Students

http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/09/got-what-it-takes-to-study-abroad-emily-we-know-youre-out-there/

 

And from the Abroad101 Annual Rankings:

Top Rated Study Abroad Cities: http://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings/2013#top_cities

 

Top Rated Study Abroad Programs:

http://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings/2013#top_10_awards

 

Top Rated Study Abroad Providers:

http://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings/2013#top_providers

 

Top Rated non-traditional Study Abroad Countries:

http://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings/2013#unique_countries

 

Most Affordable Study Abroad Destinations

http://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings/2013#budget_countries

 

To students, parents and their advisors we say “Expose yourself to the world” then come back and share it by submitting a review.

To university administrators, we hope you will use Abroad101 as your official program evaluation tool to help us collect our data and help you capture your own data on study abroad

Top 20 Education Abroad Providers

Top_20_Education_Abroad_Providers

Who is the leading study abroad provider?  Review scores are one indicator, the number of reviews is another.  Organizations that encourage or even require their students to complete reviews understand the value of listing to their customers (students) and using that to better inform future students as to what to expect in their programs.  Progressive providers also help students promote their own stories and success in education abroad by publishing their first hand accounts through a review.  As the old saying goes, “an educated consumer is the best kind” so we hope that you’ll use these reviews to better educate yourself on your options in education abroad.  Here you will find the latest update in the Abroad101 Providers Derby – the index of published reviews on Abroad101.

The Study Abroad Advantage

 

studyAbroadAdvantage-luggageTag

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

 

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… http://www.studyabroad101.com

Abroad101 Newsletter – Late Spring 2014

 

Abroad101-reviews-logo-web

Greetings,

It’s a busy time of year those of us working in study abroad; students returning from spring semester abroad, new students for the summer term, production of promotional material for the next season of recruiting and the ritual of marketing and advertising budgets. Abroad101 looks forward to being included in each of these steps and thanks you for taking a few moments to review our progress.

Reviews are Good for Students
This is a message you’ll be hearing a lot more from Abroad101 – published reviews are good for the student! A well-written published review is a testimonial of a student’s experience abroad and should be used to the student’s advantage well after they return to campus. A well-constructed thoughtful review will give students an edge with employers, grad schools, and in other potential post-graduate opportunities. Reviews provide an opportunity to showcase the student’s writing, analytical skills and allows the student to make personal statements about the impact of their experience and personal discoveries. For the student, the power of a published review comes from both a reflection of the past and a pledge to the future. Links to it from resumes, cover letters and online profiles (like LinkedIn) should help the student better leverage the abroad experience in the future.

For the students leaving on summer programs, we suggest you include mention of the review process as part of the pre-departure orientation and in early stages of advising. Getting them thinking about reviews early in the term is never a bad idea!

Get More Reviews Through Tools in your Abroad101 Providers Account
As students complete their time abroad, we encourage you to invite them to tell their story and submit program reviews to Abroad101. Using the “invite tool” from your Abroad101 account portal is the most effective way to draw reviews as the links in our email messages make it easier for students to find their program. The system also tracks their progress sending them timely reminders to complete the process, if needed. Our invite tool produces much higher completion rates than your own email reminders or newsletters, plus using it will eliminate duplication if university advisors have already invited their students to submit a review.

Update/Bolster your Directory Listings on Abroad101: Get us Photos – “Search by Subject” is coming
Whether you participate with free or paid listings, summer is a great time to update your directory entries on Abroad101. Next to reviews, photos are the best way to improve the performance of your listings and photos of students in action are the most popular. Each listing on Abroad101 has one feature photo position; a thumbnail of the image shows in the directory and a larger version on the program page. You can upload a photo to this position and add up to 10 others for a slide show for each program through your account login/portal on Abroad101.

Today, most users navigate the site using city and country search options and links. Some users are drawn to the advanced search feature when looking for program options. This summer we will rollout a “search by subject” enhancement that will give users another tool to find programs that meet their academic area of interest. Updating your listings to include these details will help students find your programs. The directory features are available to all providers with free or paid listings.

The Student Lead API is coming
It’s been a few months since we began sending student inquiries directly to providers, and the response has been great. Student feedback has been positive too as this new process gets prospective students a quicker response. For our advertisers, soon the process will be even faster through our Student Lead API. This summer, the gateway will be opened and specs will be released detailing how you can get the lead data posted right into your CRM system when a student completes the form on Abroad101. Then, with a little bit of ingenuity you’ll then be able to auto-respond and communicate with the student seconds after they’ve sent the inquiry. That should impress students and really improve conversion rates!

Let us be Your Exclusive Review Provider
Our review management tool was designed for university advisors, but with a little modification we can make it provider friendly too. Our system is very flexible and our tech team very capable, so in exchange for us processing all your student reviews, we’re willing to offer some added features and functionality. There may be some modest cost, depending on your requirements but nobody knows review tools like Abroad101 – let us build something for you!

Did you know that over 30 universities require their students to complete reviews on Abroad101? Administrators at these universities are provided with extra tools to compare and report their students’ progress. Students meanwhile would love to have to do only one review and have it available to both the university and the provider. Our second API, scheduled for fall release will look to pass reviews to and from the Abroad101 system. It will make the single review a much smoother process and give providers a better way to display Abroad101 reviews on your website.

You can see the list of the standard set of 37 review questions here: http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/05/advisors-and-providers-the-abroad101-study-abroad-review-questions/

Doing our Part to Grow Study Abroad
Abroad101 is in a position to help expand participation in education abroad. By publicizing our ratings, rankings and reviews we give students and their families a sense of security in going abroad. With messaging centered on the future benefits of a well-crafted review, we will push the virtues of the international experience to employers, helping dispel some of the negative stereotypes of study abroad.

Another initiative is designed to provide direct support to students through a partnership we launched with GoEnnounce, an education oriented crowd-funding platform. The initiative sponsors one student each week, showcasing their mission to study abroad and proving them with a small amount of seed money. In turn, the families and supporters of the student will be asked to also contribute. Using reviews as an education tool, we intend to show those in the student’s direct circle some real life examples of the chosen program’s impact on similar young adults. When you see a link for our student of the week, please click it and please consider a modest contribution to help bring one more student abroad. One by one, step by step, we can build the numbers of students abroad and break down barriers that keep students from believing they can participate. Your contributions mean more than money; they are votes of confidence that ripple out to that student’s circle of support.

Your can read more about this initiative in the Abroad101 partnership with GoEnnounce press release – http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11829272.htm
or the “Crowd Funding for Study Abroad” article in The PIE News. http://thepienews.com/news/abroad101-sponsors-crowd-funding-campaigns/

Visit the Abroad101 booth (#1048) at NAFSA
If you are headed to NAFSA, please visit the exhibit hall and visit Abroad101 booth to pick up a few of the soon to be collectable Abroad101 T-Shirts. Not only will we have the usual heavy-duty men’s style, we’ll have lots of WOMEN’S cut T-Shirts. Bring some home for the interns and they’ll be sure to update those free listings!

Stop by and say hello to both Mark and Sherry Shay, you’ll find us in booth #1048 at the back of row 1000.

Advisors: Reminder to begin the Study Abroad Review process

Now is the best time to invite students to submit their study abroad program reviews. To manage this process we hope you will use the free service from Abroad101.

It’s Good for the Student:
Program reviews are not only good for home university advisors and program providers, but they are good for students. A well-written published review is a testimonial of a student’s experience abroad and should be used to the student’s advantage well after they return to campus. A well-constructed thoughtful review will give students an edge with employers, grad schools, and in other potential post-graduate opportunities. Reviews provide an opportunity to showcase the student’s writing, analytical skills and allows students to make personal statements on the impact of their experience and personal discoveries. For the student, the power of a published review comes from both a reflection of the past and a pledge to the future. Links to it from resumes, cover letters and online profiles (like LinkedIn) should help the student better leverage the abroad experience in the future.

It’s Good for the Advisor:
Thorough program reviews provide the ideal resource for good advising. Reviews that cover all aspects of the experience from pre-departure preparation to student accommodation, academic environment and safety can help the advisor stay current on program quality, the level of provider service and serve as an indicator to the success of future students. It is our experience that most students will resist surveys (it is human nature), so it is the advisors job to insist, because it is good for the student.

A published review with photos and personal statements and can lead the student to a degree of closure and as well as help them think about how their experience will benefit their future. Students will later come to realize the investment in time was well worth it, and may even thank you for it. Once the process gets established, future students come to expect the same and reviews will become part of the education abroad experience at your institution. In less time than it takes to reclaim their luggage from their return flight, a review charts a big step forward in their post-abroad future. At Abroad101 we provide the field’s best review management platform for advisors and we offer it free of charge.

It’s Good for the University:
More than 30 colleges and universities require their students complete a review on Abroad101. This gives them data for each student with the ability to export reviews as well as look at compiled statistics on performance. With reviews administered by Abroad101, university administrators now have a tool to measure the success of their study abroad enterprise and trend it over time.

It’s Good for the Provider:
Reviewing providers by individual program pushes the field to be attentive and accountable, and is a pro-active step to assure quality. The 37-question Abroad101 review looks at all aspects of the abroad experience and lets those who are with your students know that someone is looking and somebody will be reporting on their performance.

Abroad101 is a Name You Can Trust:
Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website. Now under the leadership of experienced professionals, you can trust us as a resource to help improve the field of education abroad. Abroad101 is the result of a lot of feedback from the field and now after 5 years of operations we not only have the most advisor friendly system, we have over 20,000 student testimonials published. Abroad101 has state-of-the art design, reliable data systems that are always monitored and a focus on service, so please join us.

Start Inviting Students Today!
If you already have an account with Abroad101, we remind you to use our “invite tool” to send your returning students their invitation to complete their Abroad101 review. Using this tool makes it easier to find their program and sends them timely reminders to complete the process. Our invite tool produces much higher completion rates than other email reminders.

If you think you have an account and lost your access (login or password), send an email to admin@Abroad101.com and we’ll get you active again.

If you don’t have an account, the process is Fast – Free and Easy. No contracts, service agreements or lengthy set-up. Simply send a request by email to admin@Abroad101.com and you’ll quickly be online. Please include your university email address and your job title and we’ll send you access to your portal and instructions to get started.

Talk to Us!
Most of the functions and features of Abroad101 originated from feedback from students, advisors and administrators. We are eager to build a better study abroad experience through Abroad101 and welcome further comments and suggestions. We also are more than happy to walk you through the site with an online demo or a phone call. PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact us:

By phone: +1-212-321-0928
By email: info@Abroad101.com
Online: http://www.StudyAbroad101.com
In Person: At NAFSA, booth #1048

Follow us on:
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/abroad101

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/studyabroad101
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/studyabroad101/

Thank you,

Mark Shay
CEO
Abroad101