Summer 2014 Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter:

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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: http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/05/advisors-and-providers-the-abroad101-study-abroad-review-questions/

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: http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/07/top-5-reasons-to-write-an-education-abroad-review/
Also, tips on writing a good review:
http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2014/02/tips-for-writing-a-review-of-your-time-abroad/

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: support@abroad101.com

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: http://www.studyabroad101.com/university_widget
  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: http://www.studyabroad101.com/program_widget
  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: support@Abroad101.com

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: http://www.studyabroad101.com/help/api-docs#reviews-getting-a-list-of-reviews

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: mark@Abroad101.com

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:
https://www.facebook.com/Abroad101
https://twitter.com/StudyAbroad101
http://www.pinterest.com/studyabroad101/

Enjoy!

Mark Shay
Mark@Abroad101.com
+1-610-357-4648

Using your study abroad experience beyond college

Guest Posting By: Missy Gluckmann, Founder of MelibeeGlobal.com

Commencement-mania is here! It is that timeless season when students suffer from exhaustion, senioritis, relief and Facebook photo album induced nostalgia. Family and friends appear for celebrations, money is gifted and the job search is officially underway!

Students reflect on those moments that are impossible to replicate – the first time meeting a roommate, that first cafeteria meal (who will I sit with?), and the first class that required reading books and not chapters. For some, this will also include the first time getting on a plane to experience an academic program abroad. Memories will spill over…that first academic field trip on foreign soil, when you made your first “local” friend, the day you successfully ordered a coffee in a new language, and the first time you really understood that culture makes a difference. There were endless moments of learning and many were captured in your study abroad evaluation.

Being home for some time now, you have likely experienced re-entry shock – that feeling of discomfort, awareness, re-adjustment and sometimes plain ‘ol confusion that your home country is a bit harder to understand than you ever imagined! Please don’t worry – everyone goes through some form of re-entry – whether it is the mild kind (I miss the breakfast I ate abroad every morning) to the more difficult variety (I’m feeling straight up depressed and want to be abroad again NOW!) These videos may offer some comfort as you continue to reflect on your time abroad.

And now you’re home, constantly reminded that higher education is highly revered in the US. Being able to announce the job that you landed as a result of that degree or the graduate school that you were accepted to (hopefully, with a scholarship to enhance family bragging rights) is a rite of passage. The pressure that comes with the questions you hear daily – “You haven’t gotten a job yet?” or “Where are you interviewing?”- can make diving head first under the nearest rock seem like a completely reasonable move.

However, there are perks of this “down time,” despite the challenges of defining the next chapter of your journey. Without mainstream campus culture’s requirements of all-nighter study sessions, you now have time to reflect upon your education abroad experience and to revisit your published evaluation at StudyAbroad101.com. Reading back to your program review can provide some powerful memories. You can re-examine what you learned abroad and how those lessons can help you as you consider the path ahead.

Reflecting upon your own written words from your review and your own re-entry, you are able to consider how you’d answer those same questions today. While revisiting your review, I’d recommend taking out a piece of paper (or journal, if you write in one) and asking yourself these questions:

1)    Where have I grown the most?

2)    What three words would I use to describe how I’ve changed as a result of this experience abroad?

3)    What three skills learned abroad am I most of proud? Why?

4)    What data and skills learned from academic classes and experiences abroad am I still applying in my daily life?

5)    Am I satisfied with my level of knowledge from my academic program abroad or do I wish to pursue more?

6)    If applicable, have I continued developing my host country’s language skills? If not, what can I do to move that learning forward?

7)    What critical incidents abroad would I process differently now with some time and space behind me?

8)    How have those lessons impacted who I am and how I respond under pressure?

9)    What would I expand upon in my written evaluation if given a second chance to write it?

Reflecting on your review through these types of questions provides an opportunity to develop new goals. For example, if you reached a low intermediate level of Spanish abroad, perhaps now is the time to sign up for a language exchange in your community or to take a free online language program such as at www.duolingo. Or if you’ve discovered that you really enjoyed learning about your host country’s indigenous population, you may want to explore diversity more at home through volunteering or watching documentaries on the subject from your local library.

Your study abroad review, if thoughtfully written, also creates an opportunity to market yourself during networking and interviews. For example, when someone asks you about your time abroad, you can share your reflection driven “elevator speech” and offer to share your published review to illustrate your writing and analytical skills. This dialogue also creates a natural opportunity to ask for a business card or a LinkedIN invitation.

Reflection is an art form and your skillfully written words from your education abroad review are the canvas where you chose to paint your initial thoughts of self and skill developed as a critical part of the journey of crossing cultures. As you march boldly into the world seeking a job or the next level of education, remember to use the wisdom gleaned from experiences abroad. They can be a bridge to creating more opportunities than you ever imagined!

About the Author: Missy 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.

Abroad101 Newsletter – Late Spring 2014

 

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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 and Providers: The Abroad101 Study Abroad Review Questions

Abroad101 has a 37-question survey of study abroad programs that has grown to be an industry standard. This review process is required at more than 30 universities and encouraged by providers and advisors at many others. As a standard set, these questions also give advisors and providers a means to benchmark their students against that of other institutions. In the spirit of creating best practice in the field, Abroad101 offers these time tested questions as a template for anyone looking to establish a review process for education abroad, we do hope that you will use our free tool to manage this process.

To start a study abroad review evaluation visit: https://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/new

Download a pdf copy of our evaluation.