Abroad101 releases student review rankings

“Abroad101 releases student review rankings”

by Sara Custer via “The Pie News

Students from the US have ranked courses in Costa Rica, Australia and Ireland as the best study abroad programmes in the Abroad101 2014 Study Abroad Rankings. The review website also announced listings of students’ top choices for summer programmes, foodie cities and budget destinations.

Now in their 4th year, the Abroad101 Study Abroad Rankings looked at thousands of reviews for 1,400 programmes.

The rankings are based on thousands of online evaluations of 1,472 programmes made by students under the direction of their academic advisors and hosted by Abroad101.

This year, Sol Education Abroad’s Study Abroad & Spanish Immersion in Heredia Costa Rica received the largest number of top reviews from students followed by The Education Abroad Network’s Gold Coast-Bond University scheme in Australia and a direct enrolment programme at the American College Dublin.

“The rankings give some insight into who’s got nice programmes and maybe gets students thinking a little bit differently rather than just the traditional top destinations or top providers”

Also in the top 10 are three smaller independent programmes in Italy and a semester programme in Romania.

Mark Shay, CEO of Abroad101 said it is encouraging to see students appreciate non-traditional destinations and programmes. “There’s this unique little programme that goes into non-urban Romania and students get very immersed in the local community and seem to have a very powerful experience,” he told The PIE News.

“It’s nice to see some unique programmes like that really give students a memorable experience.”

The top-ranked summer programmes also showed that students value programmes outside of Western Europe where traditionally the most popular programmes have been based.

Traveling Study in Ghana through provider ThisWorldMusic got top marks from students while Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad with the Green Program in Iceland was ranked second. Hanyang University’s Seoul International Summer School is also in the top five.

“The rankings give some insight into who’s got nice programmes and maybe gets students thinking a little bit differently rather than just the traditional top destinations or top providers,” commented Shay.

“Our list has a nice range of small independent schools, small providers, big providers and for-profit and non-for profit players.”

Iceland was ranked the Top Non-Traditional Country while students considered the Gold Coast in Australia the Most Liveble City. Thailand won the accolades for Top Food and Budget-Friendly Country.


Campaign aims to double number of U.S. students abroad in 4 years

“Campaign aims to double number of U.S. students abroad in 4 years”

by Caleb Diehl via “USA Today”

Millennials take constant abuse from major media outlets. They are called slobs, leeches and heartless selfie-taking, Buzzfeed-inhaling machines.

There’s one label they might want to keep — “generation study abroad.”

Millennials study abroad in higher numbers than any previous generation. Over the past two decades, according to the 2014 Open Doors report produced by the Institute for International Education, participation in study abroad programs tripled. The current number of U.S. students abroad is at a record high.

Many come from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors, a sector deemed critical for U.S. performance on the world stage and in which U.S. schools have been sorely lacking.

According to the Open Doors report, just over a fifth of U.S. students abroad in 2014 majored in one of those fields.

“This is a really new trend,” says Daniel Obst, deputy vice president for international partnerships at the IIE. “Ten years ago we said we don’t have enough STEM students abroad. There was a lot of mythology then that study abroad would delay your degree.”

Alex Fitch, a junior at Lewis & Clark College, is the first in his family to study abroad for college credit. Fitch dovetails his role as captain of the LC rugby team with his coursework in entrepreneurship, hoping to learn how to sell the sport to American sports fans.

He gravitated to Australia, a world capital of rugby. He’s not just there to join the scrum — he sees his experiences abroad through a business lens.

“As a businessman I could see how getting hired, or marketing something here would be different,” he says. “In the United States, it’s about a single person going out and achieving. In Australia, it’s all about ‘mateship’ and working as a team.” . . .


Voices: The dilemma of photographing developing Africa when studying abroad

“Voices: The dilemma of photographing developing Africa when studying abroad”

by Natalie Marshall via “USA Today

Last May, I went on a short-term study abroad trip to Ghana. The trip involved lots of interaction with Ghanaians with visits to schools, villages and cities to see how different groups of Ghanaians lived.

I took pictures every day because I wanted to remember all the incredible moments I experienced and all the things I learned. One picture that I thought would be particularly special is a photo of me with a group of children from the Gomoa Tekyiam village. It was taken after the chief welcomed me in a ceremony and I spent most of my day playing with the kids in the village. I asked for permission from the parents of the village to take the photo. They allowed it, so I thought I was doing everything right.



When I returned to the United States, I suddenly became self-conscious about this photo after I was bombarded with a flood of satire about the typical white American twenty-something who poses with African children for ‘likes’ on Facebook. The most popular satire surrounding this concept was an article in The Onion about a 22-year-old whose “completely transformative” trip to Malawi “has completely changed her profile picture.”

What became problematic for me was that my experience actually was very transformative. During my time in Ghana, I redefined my perception of poverty as I interacted with people who lived in mud huts— but had food security — sent their kids to school and generally lived well. I also learned that — despite some cultural differences — humans are fundamentally the same. We share common needs, concerns and feelings. When I took the picture with the kids, it was meant to serve as a memory of the very people who made me reevaluate my knowledge and understanding of the world. . . .


Israel-Gaza Conflict Impacts American Study Abroad Students

Responses to the question of whether the Study Abroad programs should continue have been diverse . . . Further Resources/Articles on the subject can be found at the following links:

Out of sheer curiosity, what is your opinion?  Should the schools cancel these programs that students have paid for and planned for, and if so, how should the students be reimbursed for the lost time and experience?  Conversely, should the schools be able to assume that students have done their research on the situation and are still interested enough in the program for it to continue?  How do you think the schools should rule in this debate?


Israel-Gaza Conflict Impacts American Study Abroad Students

by Harmeet Kaur via “USA Today

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaeiya neighbourhood during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, July 22. (Mohammed Saber, epa)

For Rawan Muhanna, the past few weeks were some of the most terrifying times of her life.

A senior studying chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas, Muhanna just returned last week from a trip to the Gaza Strip. She says she and her family visit Gaza often to spend time with relatives. This time, her family journeyed to the area for her sister’s wedding. Soon after the joyous celebrations, however, Muhanna says she began hearing F-16 missiles being dropped on surrounding homes.

“‘Unsafe’ doesn’t quite capture how we felt,” she says. “The fear brought me to tears, which I’ve never experienced before.”

Although the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, Muhanna says the streets were empty when the violence began to escalate. She recalls an incident in which her family had to leave their family’s apartment building to buy groceries.

“We’re literally just praying and speeding through empty streets just to get to the grocery store to buy food,” Muhanna says. “That was one time that I genuinely felt like I might not get home.”

Violence between Israel and Gaza-based militant groups, most notably Hamas, escalated this month after three young Israeli students were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank on June 10. On July 2, a Palestinian man was killed in retaliation near Jerusalem.


Studying Abroad can be Difficult for CSE Students

Studying Abroad can be Difficult for CSE Students

by Katelyn Faulks via “Minnesota Daily



“For Ahmed Zaher, studying abroad would delay his graduation a full year. The mechanical engineering junior said he needs to stay on track.  “For my schedule, it’s difficult, because I have to graduate in four years,” he said. “If I take less than 12 credits, I can’t finish.” For University of Minnesota students in the sciences, studying abroad can be an extra challenge to fit . . . . “


A Year Abroad vs. a Year Wasted

“A Year Abroad vs. a Year Wasted”

A Discussion by Several Authors, hosted by the “New York Times

Despite efforts to reduce the cost of a college degree, the price tag remains unthinkable for many. And it’s not just the cost of tuition, but also the extras like spending a year, a semester or even a summer in a foreign country.

At a time when it seems as if every American college and university has a study abroad program or has agreements with institutions that offer the experience, one has to wonder: Is it worth it?


Busting the Top 10 Study Abroad Myths

Busting the Top 10 Study Abroad Myths

By Stacie Nevadomski Berden via “The Huffington Post”

“There is a great deal of controversy surrounding study abroad.

In a recent New York Times “Room for Debate” forum, contributors — of whom I was one — were asked whether study abroad should be an essential component to a college degree. This type of online debate is designed to spark discussion, and everyone who contributes and comments expresses his or her own opinion. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the comments can be based upon misinformation. As a business professional who recently conducted in-depth research on study abroad for the book I coauthored with Dr. Allan Goodman and Sir Cyril Taylor, A Student Guide to Study Abroad, I felt compelled to address the top 10 myths that emerged from this. . . .”


“Cornell to Open Study Abroad Program in India”

“Cornell to Open Study Abroad Program in India”

by Jessie Weissman via Cornell Sun

“Cornell will be opening a study abroad program in Tamil Nadu, India in Spring 2014, the University announced last month.  The program will be run out of the Nilgiris Field Learning Center in a partnership with Keystone Foundation. The foundation works on developing eco-development . . . .”

“Study Abroad May be a Better Choice for Some Students More than Others”

“Study Abroad May be a Better Choice for Some Students More than Others”

by Daily Illini Editorial Board via “The Daily Illini”

“Although the learning and volunteering experiences students have while studying abroad may be unique, the act of studying abroad itself is fairly cliche.  An accurate understanding of studying abroad and its significance is difficult to come by because of the numerous misconceptions that surround it. It’s not uncommon to hear these phrases from students who studied abroad: “Studying abroad will help me get a job,” “studying abroad frequently costs less than a semester at the University,” or “I studied abroad to be well-rounded.” . . . “

 Personally, I learned a lot from traveling abroad. I grew in everything from maturity to confidence to a greater sense of preparedness in selecting my employment area.  

Was/Is it the right fit for you? Is there anything you’d change about your decision to/or not to study abroad–the choices you were looking at, the priorities you set, the things you gave up, etc.?