Wake Forest University:
Kansai Gaidai University
- Wake Forest University
- Kansai Gaidai University
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.
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.
So many people I know study abroad in European destinations — England, France, Spain. But here are 10 reasons you should consider Australia as a study abroad option.
1. Speak the Same Language
If you’re not learning a foreign language (or even if you are) Australia is the perfect place, because guess what? We speak English! Yay. You won’t have to worry about making awkward hand signals or getting lost in translation, because Australians will know exactly what you’re talking about (even if we do have weird accents).
2. Unique Flora and Fauna
Did you know that around 80 percent of plants and animals found in Australia are unique to this country only? The variety of animals you can see here over any other place in the world is astounding, and this would be especially relevant if you want a degree in related science fields. Get photos with kangaroos, koalas, wombats, quokkas (yes, these are a thing — Google it!), and every type fish you could think of.
3. Amazing Beaches
Do you like surfing? Australia has some of the best spots for this! Do you like to lay out and tan? We have the perfect white sand for you to do so. Want to snorkel with aquatic life? Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef is for you. Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world; many of them rarely touched by humans.
4. Cool Cultural Places
Australia is said to be the home of the oldest humans in the world — the indigenous people of Australia! In the Northern Territory you can explore caves and rock formations that were around in the Dreamtime. Visit Uluru, a large, isolated desert rock in the middle of Australia, sacred to the indigenous people. Besides this, Australia’s cities are ethnic and diverse, home to people with nationalities from all over the world.
5. Outdoor Activities and Sports
Snorkelling and diving? Hiking? Surfing? AFL (Australian Rules Football)? kayaking? Beach volleyball? Skiing? Australian Tennis Open? Australia has it all. This country is conducive to an outdoor and healthy lifestyle, with the ability to partake in any sport or recreational activity you wish.
6. Laid-back People
Everywhere you go in Australia you will come across nice and welcoming people. Maybe it’s being in a country with generally good weather, or being so close to the beach, but you will easily find relaxed people who don’t take life too seriously. Although this may be a generalization, I’ve found that it is true in most cases!
7. Fun Things To Do for Students
All of the major cities in Australia are perfect places for students to live, work and study. With bars, pubs and clubs everywhere, you will most likely have a local hangout to go to every night of the week. Australian universities are also great places to join clubs and societies, which are easy ways to make friends and go to events throughout the week.
Eliza Pesuit likes to rock the boat. And she’s taking high school juniors with her. Eliza is the 30-year-old CEO ofGlobal Glimpse, a non-profit organization that brings students together from diverse communities — from affluent Marin County to the South Bronx — to become change agents in their local communities and beyond. Global Glimpse takes students out of their comfort zone, pushes them to challenge assumptions and shows them that they are capable of more than they ever thought possible.
In marginalized communities, too many students with leadership potential get lost before the end of high school. Global Glimpse partners with public high schools in these low and mixed income neighborhoods to deliver a program that engages students, teachers, administrators and families.
But Global Glimpse isn’t just for students from marginalized communities — it’s for everyone. Through after school workshops and a three week structured group immersion experience in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic or Ecuador, high school juniors develop confidence and life-changing skills.
And this non-profit has a sustainable and scalable business model. Global Glimpse currently partners with 50 high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, and will launch their first programs in Chicago in the fall of 2015. It is the only organization in the student travel field committed to serving low-income youth on a large scale. Since it started in 2008, the organization has grown seven fold, served over 2000 students, and provided over $3 million in travel scholarships for low-income youth. In 2015 Global Glimpse expects to serve 750 students. 96% of Global Glimpse alumni go on to college in communities where the average college attendance rate is under 10%.
Following is the Global Glimpse story, in Eliza’s words.
Shaking Things Up
Today’s youth learn about the world through media: TV, YouTube, facebook, twitter, etc. They grow up with the illusion of connection to a big world, but without personal experience. Global Glimpse gives students a doorway into another world while constantly tying this experience back to their lives in the United States. When you remove high school students from everything that is familiar and settle them in a developing country for three weeks, their common assumptions are shattered. Their perspectives on poverty and privilege, on the importance of education, and most importantly, on their ability and responsibility to effect change in the world change radically. They gain the ability to see and evaluate the world and their home communities with new eyes.
For example, we may have the illusion of racial equality in the United States, but American high schools are highly segregated. Global Glimpse deliberately shakes this up. Our groups are socioeconomically, racially and ethnically diverse. We’ll put a group of students from Greenwich together with a group from the South Bronx. It’s very rare for people from such diverse backgrounds to live together for an extended period time. We immerse them in a new reality and, through daily experiences and nightly reflection sessions, support them to understand each other, to recognize and respect their differences in backgrounds and views as well as find common ground.
We believe that closing the achievement gap requires not only providing low-income youth with opportunities that will set them on a path towards success, but also providing them with experiences that allow them to operate comfortably across socioeconomic lines. It is just as important for students from more affluent backgrounds to understand the realities low income communities face in this country as interntionally. . . . .
Are American institutions expecting too little of the students they send abroad?
In a time in which the majority of students going abroad are doing so on highly structured, faculty-led, short-term programs — some as short as one week — “How are we guiding students to go beyond their comfort zone?” asked Mary Anne Grant, president and CEO of International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP) at a session Tuesday at the Association of International Education Administrators’ annual conference.
Against the backdrop of a campaign to double American study abroad participation numbers, speakers at several sessions at the conference made a call to not sacrifice quality for quantity. In the session titled “Increasing Education Abroad: It’s Not Just About Numbers,” Grant’s copresenter, Elizabeth Brewer, argued that the expectations need to be raised, that American students don’t need a cruise ship with all the amenities to stay afloat.
“We need to get students off the cruise ship, and we have to create the narrative that they are capable of functioning quite well in the canoe or the kayak,” said Brewer, the director of international education at Beloit College, a liberal arts institution in Wisconsin.
Brewer made the argument that the more students “author” their own study abroad experiences, the more they can achieve, and she offered a few concrete suggestions to that effect. Change the application for study abroad, she urged, from a statement of students’ qualifications to focus more on their reasons for going.
On post-study abroad evaluations, Brewer said, don’t ask (only) about satisfaction. “Ask that last,” she said. “The first thing you should be doing is asking: What did you learn and how did you learn it and why did that matter and what are you going to do with it? Where are you going to take it?”
Lastly, Brewer said, make the outcomes visible to students “so you can have honest conversations about what study abroad really is.” One simple way to begin to do this, she said, is to ask students for permission to keep their evaluations on file. . . .”