STEM Students Study Abroad for Social Good

“STEM Students Study Abroad for Social Good”

by David F. Fougere via “3P

Engineering majors study abroad in United Arab Emirates.

 

This graduation season, while enjoying the commencement speeches full of inspirational words for students heading out into the world, ready to make it a better place, let’s consider this heartening fact: There’s a good chance they’ll make good on their promises. Forty percent of bachelor’s degrees earned by men and 29 percent earned by women are now in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to the National Student Clearinghouse. These are the innovators – the engineers, scientists and researchers – who will solve the world’s problems and lead us into the future.

Hard sciences as curricula for triple-bottom-line career paths? Absolutely.

At its highest level, the STEM philosophy is about improving quality of life and the health of the planet. This is a mantle that’s perfect for Generation Z, a cohort encompassing today’s high school and college students that is increasingly passionate about the needs of the developing world. With STEM degrees in hand, these soon-to-be professionals hold the knowledge and technologies needed to solve real-world problems and improve standards of living — not just in the United States, but also around the world.

More than 7 billion people around the world rely on STEM to solve rapidly increasing problems related to climate change, contamination, and food and water shortages. Combating these global issues requires the ability to see from multiple perspectives and the skills to bridge cultural divides.

As early as grade school, students are learning about the international nature of STEM efforts, from global warming to sustainability, and about the destinations far beyond U.S. borders that are leading the way. Take renewable energy: Denmark leads in wind power, Iceland in geothermal energy, Germany in sustainable architecture, Japan in solar, Costa Rica in hydroelectric power, Africa in rural water management and irrigation – the list goes on and on.

What it all comes down to is the fact that, to be cutting-edge or even just competitive, STEM works best with an international understanding of research and how to apply technologies and ideas within a cultural framework to make them most effective.

Increasingly, college and high school students are discovering that the best way to gain this critical international understanding while honing their skills in their chosen field is to combine their STEM curriculum with study abroad.

Take a look at a few examples. STEM students today can study conservation and marine biology in the island nation of Bonaire, home to one of the Earth’s most diverse and pristine marine habitats. But make no mistake; this is no beach vacation. Students on a tropical marine ecology and conservation program go on 35 scientific dives as part of their coursework. They collaborate on research projects with the Bonaire National Marine Park and other institutions, then present their findings to the public. Students even submit their findings to the student scientific journal, Physis: Journal of Marine Science. All this while immersing themselves in the local culture and deepening their appreciation for the impact their work can have.

Alternatively, engineering students might opt to spend a semester in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Home to incredible engineering feats, like the Burj Khalifa (the tallest tower in the world) and Palm Jumeirah (a man-made, palm tree-shaped archipelago), the UAE is the perfect place to learn about engineering, the Arab world and the global economy. There, students refine their Arabic language skills, and witness the daily intersection of traditional values and modern realities firsthand. They also go on excursions that illuminate their understanding of the region, alter their perspective of the world and match experiential learning with coursework. . . . .

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More Is Better: The Impact of Study Abroad Program Duration

“More Is Better: The Impact of Study Abroad Program Duration”

by Mary M. Dwyer via “Institute for International Education of Students

I n t r o d u c t i o n
Conventional wisdom in the study abroad field has held that more is better; that is,
the longer students study abroad the more significant the academic, cultural development
and personal growth benefits that accrue. The standard assumption is that meaningful
advancement in language learning and other academic disciplines using a
culture-specific pedagogy requires at least a full year of study abroad.
During the past 16 years, due to a variety of academic, social, college policy and
economic reasons, national study abroad enrollment trends have been moving toward
significantly fewer students studying abroad for a full year. Although the aggregate
number of students studying abroad has increased dramatically, a 232% increase from
1985-86 through 2001-02 (IIE, 2002), the data show a steady decline in the number
of students studying abroad for a full academic year. In 1985-86, for example, 17.7 %
of U.S. students studying abroad studied for a full year whereas in 2001-02 this
percentage had declined to 7.8%. Moreover, these same data show that the largest
enrollment growth since 1990 has occurred in programs that are less than one academic
quarter in length, growing from 36% of the total study abroad enrollments in 1985-
86 to 49% of such enrollments in 2001-02. Figure 1 illustrates the sharp decline in
full-year enrollments in Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
programs across the decades, from 72% of those who studied with IES in the 1950s and
60s to only 20% in the 1990s.

While the benefits of full-year study abroad are strongly embraced by study
abroad professionals, there is a dearth of quantitative research supporting a correlation
with positive outcomes. Resources are available which measure the number of students
who study abroad by term lengths, most notably the Institute for International
Education’s (IIE) Open Doors. Descriptive articles have been written about the benefits of
studying for a full year over shorter term lengths. Numerous studies (i.e.: Barnhart &
Groth, 1987; Carsello & Creaser, 1976; Flack, 1976; Hensley & Sell, 1979; IsabelliGarcia,
2003; James, 1976; Kuh & Kauffman, 1985; Marion, 1980; McEvoy, 1986;
Morgan, 1972, 1975; Pfnister, 1972; Salter & Tefer, 1975; Stauffer, 1973) investigate
the effects of studying abroad on a variety of student values, academic competencies
and interests. None of these studies attempted to measure longitudinal impact; most
had relatively small sample sizes, and reported inconsistent findings. Also, sustainability
of results was not addressed in these studies.
A search of the literature netted nine other empirical studies that correlated
length of study with longitudinal outcome measures (Akande & Slawson, 2000;
Biligmeier & Forman, 1975; Dwyer, 2004, 2004; Dwyer & Peters, 2004; Nash, 1976;
Ruhter McMillan & Opem, 2004; Steinberg, 2002). Six of these nine studies were
conducted by researchers at IES, who sampled from the same alumni population.
S t u d y D e s i g n
This study, conducted by IES in late 2002, was designed to measure the longitudinal
correlations between specific program features—language study, housing choice,
duration of study, enrollment in foreign university courses, participation in an internship or field study, among others—and a variety of student outcomes. A 54-year-old,
not-for-profit, academic consortium, IES regularly conducts formative and summative
evaluations of its programs, surveying students both during and immediately after
their study abroad experiences. This longitudinal study was undertaken with the
intent of comparing end of academic term evaluation results with longitudinal results.
Only through such a retrospective longitudinal study could the sustainability of
results, the effects of program design, and the impact of shifts in student participation
patterns be assessed.
For a variety of reasons, this study presents unique merits. First, the IES alumni
pool provided an opportunity to draw upon 50 years of data. IES estimates that it has
educated over 45,000 students. Second, the size of the pool of study abroad alumni to
survey (17,000: available, current addresses) was much larger than most college or
universities’ study abroad enrollments during the same 50 year period. Third, the
range of types of programs and locations was useful for statistical analyses and comparisons
across educational models and cultures. Throughout the 50 years, IES has offered
25 programs located in 14 countries, in multiple academic study abroad models, from
“island” programs to hybrid to direct enrollment and full immersion. Similarly, the
housing arrangements for students represented the full spectrum of opportunities from
dormitories to home stays to apartments.
The number of years of data, the number of different locations, the variety of
academic models and housing arrangements used, and the size of the alumni pool
allowed IES to isolate and assess the longitudinal impact of specific program components
for large enough sample sizes to make the results statistically valid and reliable.
Few other organizations have the sustained history of programming necessary to replicate
these study features.
In 1997, IES established the IES Model Assessment Program (The IES MAP®), a
set of guidelines for developing and assessing study abroad programs by using these
categories: student learning environment, intercultural development, resources required
for academic and student support, and program administration and development. The
end of term student satisfaction survey, a 2000 pilot survey, as well as the 2002 survey
for this study, were designed using the categories of the IES MAP®.
In 1999, a pilot study was conducted with a limited sampling of 10% (2100)
of the IES alumni population (Akande & Slawson, 2000). This survey achieved a
response rate of 44% (707 respondents), after factoring in the undeliverable surveys
due to outdated addresses. There were many responses to a number of open-ended
questions asking respondents to characterize the impact of study abroad on their lives.
These data were used to expand and refine the questions used in the retrospective
longitudinal 2002 survey.

The 2002 survey consisted of 28 questions, many of which had numerous
sub-questions. The questions were divided into 3 types: basic demographics, impact of
key study abroad elements, and impact of study abroad on select behaviors, attitudes and
specific achievements. The survey results are reported across five areas: general findings,
academic attainment, intercultural development, career impact and personal growth.
Within each category respondents answered between four and seven questions
asking them to rate, on a 5-point Likert scale, the impact of their study abroad experience
on a specific developmental measure. Several other questions asked respondents to
provide information on specific behaviors since studying abroad, such as the frequency
with which they used a foreign language, whether or not they had worked or
volunteered in an international capacity since studying abroad, and the highest academic
degree they had obtained.
The survey was sent to 17,000 alumni who studied with IES for varying term
lengths between the academic years of 1950-51 and 1999-00. More recent alumni
were not surveyed because less time had elapsed since their study abroad experience,
making sustainability of impact difficult to assess.
An overall 25% response rate (3723 of the 14,800 alumni current addresses) was
achieved. The 1980s and 90s produced large response rates of 40% and 41%, respectively.
The survey was disseminated by U.S. mail only once because the response rate and
the sample size were large enough to make generalizations. Conducting the study with
an on-line survey would have been much less expensive and it would have allowed for
repeated requests to be made more easily. However, it was assumed that using an electronic
survey would have resulted in significantly lower response rates from the classes of
alumni who studied abroad between 1950 and 1970. . . .

 

READ MORE. . . 

Study abroad applicants concerned about Islamic State

“Study abroad applicants concerned about Islamic State”

by Taylor Eisenhauer via “The Times Delphic

Each year, Drake sends approximately 450 students abroad to study for credit, and they can choose from more than70 countries.

However, student safety abroad is a growing concern with the recent unrest caused by the Islamic State, a terrorist organization commonly referred to as ISIS.

Recent attacks include the burning of a Jordanian pilot and the Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine office.

ISIS also took credit for the killing of at least 20 people at a Tunisian museum in March.

In countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Department of State has issued travel warnings for these countries due to terrorist threats from “violent extremist groups,” including the Islamic State.

The State Department issues travel warnings when travelers should very carefully consider whether they should go to the county in question.

Drake has its own criteria for determining a country’s safety for students.

Associate Director of Drake International and Education Abroad Jen Hogan explained that two routes could be followed, depending on the student’s program. If the program is through affiliate providers, Drake heeds their advice.

“We really follow their guidance and their knowledge in regions that might have various issues going on,” Hogan said.  “(Our providers) keep their pulses on … critical global issues, such as health pandemics or threats of terrorism. If they feel like there’s a threat … they will suspend the program until they feel like that program is not going to impact the students’ safety and security.”

The affiliates provide evacuation insurance to cover medical, political or other types of emergencies.

For programs through Drake’s strategic partnerships abroad, a Risk Assessment Committee has the final say on safety.

The committee consults with other schools or providers, such as the School for International Training in Vermont and allows Drake staff to determine evacuation plans.

Three students were evacuated from Egypt during the Arab Spring in 2011 and a January-term course to Ghana was cancelled this year due to the Ebola outbreak, Hogan said. But ISIS hasn’t affected Drake students abroad — yet.

“Anyone is vulnerable to ISIS,” Hogan said. “…It’s kind of the state of the world right now. Safety is not guaranteed no matter where you go.” . . .

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Tips for studying overseas: ‘Never ask for a ride in Ireland, it’s a lift’

“Tips for studying overseas: ‘Never ask for a ride in Ireland, it’s a lift’”

by Erin McGuire via “Irish Times

Lost in translation: differences in the use of language can lead to confusion, so it’s a good idea to acclimatise yourself

Having gone to college on both sides of the Atlantic, I know studying abroad can be rewarding but also a bit of a challenge.

My first course abroad was my undergraduate degree – psychology at Trinity College. My motivation at age 18 was that I wanted to get out of Dodge.

Within days of my arrival, I had a nose ring. Which is to say, the experience of studying abroad fostered a sense of independence and autonomy.

I’m from the US and had been in Ireland only once before, for a cousin’s wedding when I was 11. It took me a while to figure things out: like opening a bank account, remembering which way to look before crossing the road (the signs helped), finding a place to live, making friends and being able to follow a conversation (I know it’s English, but still).

Which brings me to my first tip: give yourself time to adjust. When you move abroad to study, everything about your life will change, so don’t expect to settle in immediately.

At least once in the first few weeks, if not days, I thought, “What have I done?”. But it really did all work out in the end.

Let’s face it: going to university abroad, even at postgraduate level, isn’t just about studying. It’s about experiencing a different culture, meeting new people and collecting experiences.

When I was at Trinity, and then years later doing a master’s in journalism at DCU, I was glad I decided to do a whole course abroad, rather than a semester or two. I met students on exchange programmes, and they clung to each other rather than making new friends. The next tip: mingle with the locals. It’s the best way to get a sense of a place. I made Irish friends by reading road signs aloud in Irish, which they found hilarious! I ended up scoring invites to visit friends’ families in different parts of the country, a brilliant way to travel.

Application process

Applying to do a postgrad abroad is going to be a little more paperwork-intensive than applying to do one in your home country. When I was applying to law schools in the US after my undergrad at Trinity, I had quite a few more hoops to jump through than my peers who had stayed home.

For example, the Irish marking system is so wildly different to the American one, I had to have my grades translated by a “credential evaluation service”.

It took time and cost a couple hundred dollars; according to the World Education Service, the current price is $205 (€180) for an evaluation of transcripts and $30 (€26) to send the report to each additional college you’re applying to.

Extra little requirements like that made the process more time consuming and expensive. So give yourself enough time

A lastminute.com approach to your postgraduate application abroad is probably not going to work out well for you. Check the deadlines and write them on your calendar in blood. Give yourself a couple weeks more than you think you’ll need. Unforeseen glitches can add days or weeks to the process.

Documents

When I was applying for the journalism master’s in 2013, I had a small problem with my application online through the Postgraduate Application Centre (PAC), which many Irish institutions use.

Because of my unconventional education path, I had more documents to upload than there was space for online. I had to make a few calls and get tech support to work magic so I could upload my mountain of documents.

Even though it wasn’t a huge problem, and the tech support staff at PAC were really quite helpful, it took a day or two to sort out. If that had happened on the the application due date, it would have been a catastrophe.

The cost of a master’s in Ireland versus the US wasn’t the only reason I decided to study here, but it was a factor. The one-year MA at DCU is listed this year at €13,300 for a non-EU student. In the US I would have paid at least double that, especially since most programmes are two-years long. . . . .

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Planning to study abroad? Remember student travel insurance

“Planning to study abroad? Remember student travel insurance”

by Adhil Shetty via “Money Control”

Overseas Student travel insurance offers to protect financial losses arising out of various unforeseen events. One should take a note of possible health issues and buy a suitable policy

Image

Studying abroad is a dream that most in the student community would confess to having, but few go on to actually realize it. Therefore, once you have earned the opportunity to study abroad, it makes sense focus on your goal rather than fritter your time away in mitigating unforeseen hurdles that one invariably confronts in life. This is where a student travel insurance policy comes in – it can help you be prepared for potential health risks, accidents and other unanticipated hazards.

Here is a detailed analysis of the features and exclusions of student insurances for interns or students who aspire to travel abroad for higher studies.

Ensuring Safety by the Aid of a Relatively Cheap Policy

Many people opine that their personal health insurance will automatically cover the medical issues for a traveler abroad, which, unfortunately, does not hold true in case of injury or illness. Even if the basic medical expenses are covered, there may be limitations on the policy, causing the policy holder to bear a major section of the expenses. On the other hand, with student travel insurance, the traveler can ensure full coverage for medical expenses at comparatively cheaper rates!

Insuring on the Basis of your Requirement

In the case of student exchange programs or internships, many students often decide to postpone their return; others tend to travel to nearby destinations before they return to their homeland. Under such circumstances, the trip-only insurance policies end on the scheduled date, which can be extended further in case of a long-term plan. Thus, whenever you decide to travel abroad, plan your trip carefully, analyzing the place of study and your immediate plans after the course. In case you have the option to gain some experience by volunteering or applying for an internship, it is ideally recommended to consider the long term student travel insurances that can be easily renewed online for an extended coverage.

Coverage for Homecoming

There are many insurers in the market who offer coverage for the short trips to home that student often make. This can be very useful in circumstances where you might need medical help when you have landed in your home country. This is another factor to be considered on while choosing your travel policy. For instance, if your academic institution does not allow you to leave the country during a term, you might not get a chance to pay a visit to your family. On the other hand, if you skip the coverage for brief homecoming, an unanticipated emergency or accident at your home can drain your pockets unless you plan for it beforehand.

Things to be considered Before Purchasing a Policy:

• How Far you are travelling: Medical care expenses are typically governed by the location of the patient as well as the patient’s condition. Consider the distance you are travelling before purchasing the insurance policy. Moreover, if you are travelling in a location with common health risks, you must pay special attention for that coverage in your policy.
• Determining the medical expenses available: In many countries, medical care facilities are provided by the academic institutions as a part of the sponsorship program. However, if your insurance policy includes this cost, it means that you do not need to worry about the bills even if you travel to other countries.
• Your own risk: Students traveling abroad for studies differ in personality and inclination for risk-taking. While some prefer to be hooked with projects and term papers, others might love exploring new places. Needless to say, almost every traveler faces a finite amount of risk, simply because they are away from their home country.

Exclusions in the Student Travel Insurance Policy

Much like all forms of insurance, student travel insurance too has its own set of limitations. Here are the most common exclusions in student travel insurance coverage:
1. Accidents or injuries caused by drinking or under the influence of drugs;
2. Any form of loss due to mental health problem or depression;
3. Returning to home country for availing medical facilities;
4. Accidents caused by personal risks or extreme behavior – for example, adventure sporting, diving or jumping off from heights.
5. Pre-existing medical condition, i.e. if you experience a serious illness or injury about 2-3 months prior to the trip, and in due course of the trip you need medical care for the same cause, the expenses will not be covered by the policy. . . . . .

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My 30 Best Travel Tips After 4 Years Traveling The World

“My 30 Best Travel Tips After 4 Years Traveling The World”

by Matthew Karsten via “The Expert Vagabond

Favorite Travel Tips

It’s now been 4 years since I sold everything and left the United States to travel the world. These are the best travel tips I’ve discovered along the way.

November marks 4 years since I took a one-way flight from Miami to Guatemala City, leaping nervously into the unknown and leaving much of my old life behind while embarking on an epic travel adventure around the world.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned a lot since then. To celebrate my 4 year “travelversary”, I’ve decided to share a collection of my best and most useful travel tips to help inspire you.

Feel free to share your best travel tips at the end!

1. Patience Is Important

Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one. ATMs out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore. Sometimes freakouts happen regardless. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that it could be worse.

2. Wake Up Early

Rise at sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself while avoiding crowds. It’s also a magical time for photos due to soft diffused light, and usually easier to interact with locals. Sketchy areas are less dangerous in the morning too. Honest hardworking people wake up early; touts, scammers, and criminals sleep in.

Favorite Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Laugh at Yourself

3. Laugh At Yourself

You will definitely look like a fool many times when traveling to new places. Rather than get embarrassed, laugh at yourself. Don’t be afraid to screw up, and don’t take life so seriously. Once a whole bus full of Guatemalans laughed with glee when I forced our driver to stop so I could urgently pee on the side of the road. Returning to the bus and laughing with them gave me new friends for the remainder of the journey.

4. Stash Extra Cash

Cash is king around the world. To cover your ass in an emergency, make sure to stash some in a few different places. I recommend at least a couple hundred dollars worth. If you lose your wallet, your card stops working, or the ATMs run out of money, you’ll be glad you did. Some of my favorite stash spots include socks, under shoe inserts, a toiletry bag, around the frame of a backpack, even sewn behind a patch on your bag.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Meet Local People

5. Meet Local People

Make it a point to avoid other travelers from time to time and start conversations with local people. Basic English is spoken widely all over the world, so it’s easier to communicate with them than you might think, especially when you combine hand gestures and body language. Learn from those who live in the country you’re visiting. People enrich your travels more than sights do.

6. Pack A Scarf

I happen to use a Shemagh, but sarongs work great too. This simple piece of cotton cloth is one of my most useful travel accessories with many different practical applications. It’s great for sun protection, a makeshift towel, carrying stuff around, an eye mask, and much more.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Observe Daily Life

7. Observe Daily Life

If you really want to get a feel for the pulse of a place, I recommend spending a few hours sitting in a park or on a busy street corner by yourself just watching day to day life happen in front of you. Slow down your thoughts and pay close attention to the details around you. The smells, the colors, human interactions, and sounds. It’s a kind of meditation — and you’ll see stuff you never noticed before.

8. Back Everything Up

When my laptop computer was stolen in Panama, having most of my important documents and photos backed up saved my ass. Keep both digital and physical copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency. Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online with software like Backblaze.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Take Lots of Photos

9. Take Lots Of Photos

You may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir. They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share with others, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Just remember once you have your shot to get out from behind the lens and enjoy the view.

10. There’s Always A Way

Nothing is impossible. If you are having trouble going somewhere or doing something, don’t give up. You just haven’t found the best solution or met the right person yet. Don’t listen to those who say it can’t be done. Perseverance pays off. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me what I want isn’t possible, only to prove them wrong later when I don’t listen to their advice and try anyway.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Smile & Say Hello

11. Smile & Say Hello

Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. One of my best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language too. This is a fast way to make new friends. You can’t expect everyone to just walk around with a big stupid grin on their face. That’s your job. Usually all it takes is for you to initiate contact and they’ll open up.

12. Splurge A Bit

I’m a huge fan of budget travel, as it lets you travel longer and actually experience more of the fascinating world we live in rather than waste money on stuff you don’t need. You can travel many places for $30 a day with no problems. That said, living on a shoestring gets old after a while. It’s nice (and healthy) to go over your budget occasionally. Book a few days at a nice hotel, eat out at a fancy restaurant, or spend a wild night on the town.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Keep an Open Mind

13. Keep An Open Mind

Don’t judge the lifestyles of others if different from your own. Listen to opinions you don’t agree with. It’s arrogant to assume your views are correct and other people are wrong. Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Embrace different possibilities, opportunities, people, suggestions and interests. Ask questions. You may be surprised at what you’ll learn from each other.

14. Try Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing.org is a large online community of travelers who share their spare rooms or couches with strangers for free. If you truly want to experience a country and it’s people, staying with a local is the way to go. There are millions of couchsurfers around the world willing to host you and provide recommendations. It’s fun and safe too.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Volunteer Occasionally

15. Volunteer Occasionally

Make it a point to volunteer some of your time for worthwhile projects when traveling. Not only is it a very rewarding experience, but you’ll often learn more about the country and its people while also making new friends. There’s a great site called Grassroots Volunteering where you can search for highly recommended volunteer opportunities around the world.

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3 Tips for Making the Most of a Study Abroad Program in the Arab Region

“3 Tips for Making the Most of a Study Abroad Program in the Arab Region”

by Vicki Valosik via “USN”

150126_MENAairport

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for students, exposing them to new places, customs and foods, as well as new ways of thinking.

For students from the Arab world, studying abroad within the Middle East and North Africa can have particular advantages, says Walid I. Moubayed, professor and dean of admissions and registration at the University of Balamand in Koura, North Lebanon, which currently has 602 international students.

Being closer to home makes it easier for students to travel back during holidays and for parents to visit. Moubayed points out that students staying within the Middle East for college or graduate school are less likely to face the language barriers they would encounter in other parts of the world.

But that doesn’t mean that the adjustment will be easy for everyone. Brian Moran, dean of graduate affairs at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, says, “Some [KAUST] students from the Middle East have expressed that they didn’t feel they experienced a drastic culture shock, while others have felt that even coming from within the Middle East there was a big difference in the culture, weather or environment.”

[Discover the top-ranked universities in the Arab region.]

Regardless of where you are headed, there a few things you can do to help ensure you have a positive study abroad experience.

Be in the Know Before You Go

Before you travel, taking the time to familiarize yourself not only with the university where you will be studying, but also with the city will help make the transition upon arrival a little smoother.

Moubayed advises international students coming to his institution to “make sure to learn about Lebanon ahead of time, including weather conditions, transportation systems, what facilities are provided in their residency, whether on or off campus, ​areas of attraction and leisure activities.” He also suggests finding out whether the university you will be attending provides transportation to campus for international students, so that it can be arranged ahead of time.

[Get advice on how to pay for higher education in the Arab region.]

Omar Almasri, a Syrian software engineering student at the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, recommends visiting the country before moving, if possible.

“If you can have a tour inside the country, go for it,” he says. ​Since campus housing is not available for male students at the college, Almasri used his visit to Jordan to find the apartment he now rents.

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