International crises heighten study-abroad awareness

“International crises heighten study-abroad awareness”

by Vanessa Miller via “The Gazette

Today, it’s Belgium. Before, it was France.

There also is Brazil, where the Zika virus is rampant. And tomorrow could bring an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane somewhere else.

The drumbeat of terror attacks, health risks and natural disaster crises around the world has directors of growing university study-abroad programs continually monitoring international security updates and advisories. Program heads on Iowa’s campuses were paying attention Tuesday, for example, when news broke of more terror attacks — this time in Brussels.

None of Iowa’s three public universities have students studying abroad in Belgium right now, but Iowa State University — for one — has an exchange program planned there in spring 2017. ISU’s study abroad director, Trevor Nelson, said he doesn’t foresee Tuesday’s attacks derailing that program.

“But we have to monitor the situation and make the best determination about whether you are putting students in harm’s way,” he said. “At this point, I don’t believe we are in a position to put that program on hold.”

Nelson said study abroad programs these days have to be “more diligent in terms of monitoring what is happening in other parts of the world.” But, he said, that’s not necessarily indicative of a more dangerous international study environment.

Rather, he credited it — among other things — to a rise in students taking advantage of the opportunity.

“It’s partly a facet of the number of students who are now studying abroad,” he said. “And they are going to every continent.”

When Nelson started as the ISU study abroad director 25 years ago, about 200 students were involved. In the 2015 budget year, ISU sent 1,633 students oversees through a variety of study programs to every continent including Antarctica.

“And the type of students who are studying abroad has changed as well,” he said. “Twenty-five years ago, those who went on semester long programs tended to be self-starters and more independent and resilient than today.” . . . .

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Colleges With the Most Students Who Study Abroad

“Colleges With the Most Students Who Study Abroad”

by Delece Smith-Barrow via “US News

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The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or graduate school search.

More U.S. college students are packing their bags and heading abroad to complete some of their undergrad degree requirements.

The number of students studying abroad for credit during the 2013-2014 academic year grew 5.2 percent from the previous year, topping 300,000, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Studying overseas can be a great way to complete college coursework while also learning a new language and experiencing a different culture. At some schools, almost every undergrad studies abroad.

[See the 10 top destinations for U.S. students studying abroad.]

Goucher College in Maryland and Soka University of America in California, for example, require students to spend time overseas. At both of these schools, 100 percent of 2014 graduates studied abroad – the highest percentage among the 321 colleges and universities that submitted data to U.S. News in an annual survey.

Among the 12 schools where the highest percentage of students studied abroad, 10 are National Liberal Arts Colleges. These institutions emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields.

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The Study-Abroad Solution

“The Study-Abroad Solution”

by Sanford J. Ungar via “Foreign Affairs

In the Internet age, the world feels far smaller than it used to. But many Americans still know little about the rest of the world and may be more detached from it than ever. Such a lack of awareness is, in certain respects, understandable. Once the Cold War ended, some 25 years ago, Congress, perhaps out of a false sense of security, cut the foreign affairs budget, which led to the closing of some U.S. overseas posts. The news media, especially the commercial television networks, took their cue and began to reduce overseas coverage—responding, they said, to the decline of public interest in such matters, which conveniently coincided with their own economic woes. Although the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq stimulated renewed attention to international events, that phenomenon proved short-lived. Consequently, as new global challenges have arisen in recent years, American discourse on world affairs has lacked historical context or deeper understanding. It has become difficult to stir thoughtful, informed debate on foreign policy issues during congressional—or even presidential—campaigns. Many politicians who aspire to lead the country seem not to understand what constitutes a foreign policy issue, let alone the complexity of dealing with one. A candidate who speaks a foreign language appears almost suspect.

One symptom of Americans’ new isolation is a sharp contrast between the positive, even zealous views they hold of the United States and its role in the world and the anti-Americanism and negative perceptions of U.S. foreign . . . .

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Falling in love while studying abroad

“Falling in love while studying abroad”

by College Tourist via “USA TODAY

bubbles, travel, fun, study abroad, love

You might not think that it will happen to you, because, well, what are the chances of falling for someone halfway across the world?

But believe it or not, I told myself the same thing and I was terribly wrong. The reality is that it can happen to anyone.

Falling in love while you’re studying abroad is kind of like living in a bubble. It’s all beautiful, fine, and dandy when you’re on the inside, but eventually, when it pops, the magic fades and it’s back to reality. That’s not to say, however, that falling in love on an exchange isn’t possible or something to give up hope on.

Before you ask, yes, I am indeed a victim of the study abroad love bug. My story is long and complicated, but it’s an experience I certainly wouldn’t go back and change.

Why, you ask? The answer is twofold. You’re caught up in a whirlwind of travel, excitement, and new opportunity and through meeting numerous new people in this elated state, it’s quite likely that you’ll end up “clicking” with someone you never knew existed. Chances are, they’ll even have a wicked accent to draw you in that much easier. Before you know it you might be making up failed excuses as to why you shouldn’t start a relationship while you’re abroad, but over time (even four months abroad is enough time), you might end up changing your mind completely.

Here’s what you might want to know about falling in love abroad before you let the love bug take over:

IT CAN TEACH YOU INVALUABLE LESSONS

If you start a romantic relationship while you’re studying abroad, chances are it will be with someone from a different country. Dating someone with a different vocabulary, accent, customs, and even values can teach you a lot about not only them but yourself as well and what you value in life.

YOU’LL FALL FAST AND HARD

Studying abroad can inflict a kind of illusionary state on a person at first. You’re in a new country, experiencing new things every single day and the excitement seldom ends. This means that it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and fall for someone because you’ll be less focused on the reality of everyday life and more focused on enjoying your time and meeting new people. . . . .

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Before You #StudyAbroad in the UK: A To-Do and Don’t-Do List

“Before You Study Abroad in the UK: A To-Do and Don’t-Do List”

by Roslyn Kent via “Huffington Post

Failing to prepare is like preparing to fail; get organized, check off that list and do your research before you go overseas to the United Kingdom–you won’t regret be over prepared.

It’s normal to be overwhelmed by all the check lists, packing lists and shopping lists that you’ll undoubtedly be inundated with prior to leaving for your exchange in the UK. Emotions aside, the last thing you’ll want to deal with before you leave is the logistics of your exchange; unfortunately, your mom can’t do it all for you. Not sure what you’ll need while overseas? Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do prior to leaving for your whirlwind study abroad experience:

Don’t:

1. Overpack: You won’t be wanting to bring all your unnecessary bulky toiletries. You will be able to buy almost all of them there (unless you need to use specific brands) and chances are, they’ll be even cheaper overseas (hello Poundland!).

2. Buy a roaming package for your phone: Phone plans are dirt cheap in the UK (the cheapest you’ll pay is £5/month or at the most, £15/month, which will probably included unlimited data and lots of texting and calling). If you extend your phone plan from home it will still cost you more, especially for data–you’ll want data in case you get lost. Try to get a month by month plan so you’re not tied down to anything. If you can, sign up with Three Mobile, that way you can use your phone for free in 10 other countries in Europe!

3. Pay for unnecessary visas: Make sure you’re aware of exactly which visa you’ll need while in the UK. It’s likely your home university’s study abroad office will assist you in this, but avoid seeking advice elsewhere (i.e. from friends who’ve never studied abroad). If you’re a citizen of a commonwealth country then you won’t have to pay for a visa at all if you only plan to stay in the UK for six months. Research the different options and be wary of paying for a visa you won’t need.

4. Bring your hair dryer and straightener: If you want to avoid bringing home a broken hair dryer/straightener, it’s highly advisable that you buy a cheap one over there and share with your roommates. Oftentimes, North American hair dryers and straighteners aren’t equipped to handle the voltage of a UK outlet. If you’re certain yours can handle it then go ahead and bring it with you, if not, it’s better to be safe than sorry! . . .

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Student studies abroad three semesters, makes lifetime of memories

“Student studies abroad three semesters, makes lifetime of memories”

by Matthew McClure via “The Lamron”

Coming to Geneseo, I knew I wanted to study abroad for at least a year. I knew I wanted to go beyond my past linguistic and travel experience in Europe. This semester, I am returning from three semesters of studying abroad in Vietnam, Canada and Haiti. Study abroad has been an incredibly formative part of my undergraduate career—and my future plans—in both expected and unexpected ways.

The Global Service Learning Program in Borgne, Haiti proved to be a turning point for me. Through this program, I applied my interests in foreign language, intercultural competence and international education to connecting communities in Borgne and Geneseo. My experience in spring 2013 not only focused my academic interests, study abroad plans and career goals, but also had a lasting impact beyond that one semester. My service learning project became the design and organization of a Haitian Creole language preparation component for the course.

Immediately after the Global Service Learning Program, I knew I wanted to learn Haitian Creole and return to Borgne to help develop our program and relationship with the community. I traveled to Boston to attend the Haitian Creole Language and Culture Summer Institute, working with leading Haitian Creole scholars and collecting resources and teaching methods in order to help improve our Haitian Creole crash-course at Geneseo. As a result, I was selected to the Clinton Global Initiative University in 2015 to help support the first public library in Borgne.

In the fall of my junior year, I spent my first semester abroad in Vietnam. I went into the semester expecting a wildly new experience; one where I would learn an exotic new language. What I got was a semester where I was not only independent, but also the only native English speaker in my class. After learning Vietnamese, I could communicate with the locals and also speak to the internationals that spoke English. I met an extraordinary variety of people, both in Ho Chi Minh City and on my travels in Southeast Asia.

Perhaps the most surprising group I met in Vietnam was the Saigon Swing Cats. I had fallen in love with swing dance my freshman year, but I did not expect to find a club in Vietnam. It was a fascinating mix of locals and expatriates—mostly young professionals—gathering together to dance a vintage American dance. This is where I saw the overlap between my international interests and my dance interests. . . .

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11 ways to revamp your resume with study abroad experience

“11 ways to revamp your resume with study abroad experience”

by Kylee Borger via “USA TODAY

It’s summer internship application season — time to get those resumes in order!

If you have spent time studying abroad, this is your chance to shine and highlight the skills and experiences that make you extra-special and set you apart from your competitors.

No matter where you are in your study abroad experience — just starting to think about it, already diving off the deep end or wrapping your experience up — here are some tasks you should undertake to polish up your resume.

PRE-STUDYING ABROAD — SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

1. Plan to study abroad. (Yes, I know this one’s obvious, but still most important!)

2. List goals for what you would like to accomplish — skills you want to gained, other things you want to learn, etc.

3. Share those goals with your friends to keep yourself accountable.

4. Bribe yourself if you accomplish your goals. Treat yourself to a spa day or a night out. You deserve it after that hard, semester-long work.

WHILE YOU’RE STUDYING ABROAD—THE REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE

5. Study the language (it’s the most marketable skill you can gain during your global adventure).

6. Get an internship to add some international spice to your work experience.

7. Broaden your horizons and meet new people you would otherwise never meet (who can help you get a job abroad).

POST-STUDYING ABROAD — THE ACTUAL ‘PUTTING IT ON YOUR RESUME’ PART

8. Reflect on how this experience changed you as a person and gave you new skills. Use this opportunity to tweak your objective on your resume if your study abroad experience has altered your goals.

9. Create a separate sub-heading for your study abroad experience under the education section on your resume. It is different from your other educational experience and it deserves the spotlight in its own space.

10. Highlight your new skills. So, you just had an adventure for a semester abroad, out of your comfort zone. What did you learn? You just had a new life experience that lasted a decent amount of time; odds are you have some new skills that your future employers would love to hear about. Maybe you learned a language, or how to adapt, etc. Either way, add your newfound skills to your resume. . . . .

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