6 steps to selecting the perfect study abroad program

6 steps to selecting the perfect study abroad program”

by McKenzie Powell via “USA Today”

Selecting a study abroad program can often be difficult and extremely overwhelming.

Depending on your university, you might have a considerable amount of options for professor-led programs. If not, you may have to begin a long journey searching the endless possibilities offered through other providers.

Could Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain. Could this city be the perfect study abroad destination for you?

No matter which route you take, the steps below can help you cut through the clutter and find a program well suited to your interests.

1. “Go out and talk to people,” says Frances Weiner, study abroad advisor and representative for International Education Programs at Ohio University.

Chat with a fellow student who has studied abroad, a professor who has led a  trip or someone at your college’s study abroad office. Chances are, your university will have an on-campus study abroad advisor who can cover the basics , while giving you an overview of programs available at your school.

Talking to different individuals will help you as you begin to narrow down the possibilities for your global experience.

2. Decide how long you would like to study abroad and when. Plenty of semester-long options are available during the fall and spring, while shorter alternatives are frequently offered during summer and winter breaks.

By making this small decision, you can avoid wasting time sifting through countless programs.

3. Begin searching for programs with classes that will meet your degree requirements. You may have a few extra prerequisites that you would like to get out of the way, or perhaps a foreign language requirement. Some programs may even offer courses more specific to your major, like a higher-level geography class or an exclusive course in psychology.

“If it’s not going to count for anything, you’re basically going on glorified travel,” says Ryan Geiger, advisor for International Student and Faculty Services at Ohio University. Geiger, who studied abroad in Italy and Switzerland as a graduate student, cautions, “don’t look at study abroad as just a way to travel, look at it as a way to get an education and expand your views.” . . . .

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Wake Forest University: Kansai Gaidai University

Wake Forest University:

Kansai Gaidai University

Host(s)

  • Wake Forest University
  • Kansai Gaidai University

Countries:

UK Is the Most Searched for Study Abroad Destination for Americans

“UK Is the Most Searched for Study Abroad Destination for Americans”

by Akane Otani via “SKIFT

Foshie  / Flickr

Spending a semester in a foreign country is usually billed as a way for college kids to acquire experience with different cultures and environments, but U.S. students studying abroad seem drawn to places where most people speak their language.

London, Oxford, and Cambridge are the most searched-for cities by U.S. students who hope to study overseas, according to a report published Wednesday by Google.

Google analyzed its data to find the volume of U.S. queries for a list of global cities that included search terms “relating to higher education.” After London, Oxford, and Cambridge, U.S. students searched the most for Edinburgh, Melbourne, Seoul, Sydney, and Dublin. Nine of the top 20 cities were in the U.K. Just three of the top 20—Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai—were Asian cities.

Google

London, Oxford, and Cambridge are the three most searched- for cities in the world among U.S. students looking to study abroad. Melbourne, Australia; Seoul, Korea; and Sydney, Australia also ranked highly.

Even when Google rearranged its rankings to exclude searches for specific university names, London was the most searched-for city, followed by Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, and Singapore. “No matter how we looked at it, by university brand or just generic keywords, there is no doubt that London and the United Kingdom are the biggest magnets for U.S. students looking to study abroad,” said Harry Walker, education industry head at Google.

Why London? Beloved accents and academic powerhouses aside, London is a hub of business and finance—the most searched-for subject among U.S. students looking to study in the city, Google says. Students might also be drawn to the city’s eminence in fashion, medicine, and art, Google’s data suggests. Bonus: It doesn’t hurt that there’s no language barrier to grapple with.

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“Off the beaten path: ‘Huge opportunities’ stem from African study abroad programs”

 

“Off the beaten path: ‘Huge opportunities’ stem from African study abroad programs”

by Natalie Marshall via “USA TODAY

When college students search for study abroad sites, sub-Saharan Africa is not usually among the top contenders for possible host regions. According to a report by the Institute of International Education, about 12,859 students studied in sub-Saharan Africa during the 2011-2012 academic year, while about 151,143 studied in Europe that same year.

However, while students are not necessarily flocking to African study abroad sites, many students who have studied on the African continent have found their experiences to be very beneficial.

Zach Sturiale, a sophomore at Arcadia University, says that he was exposed firsthand to numerous issues during his time abroad. He studied in Cape Town, South Africa during his fall 2014 semester.

“South Africa is by far one of the most interesting countries in the world due to its past and current political, economic and social climate,” says Sturiale.

Most of all, he says he was exposed to the inequality that remains after the history of apartheid in South Africa.

“Studying in Cape Town made inequality strikingly apparent to me. I saw some of the largest examples of wealth I have ever seen in my life, but also saw the most tremendous examples of poverty I have ever seen in my life.”

Zach Sturiale '17 takes a break from sandboarding in South Africa (Photo courtesy of Sturiale)

Anna Wagman, a junior at Dickinson College, agrees that students can learn a lot from studying abroad in African countries. After studying in Madagascar, Tanzania and South Africa, she found that her study abroad sites offered numerous learning opportunities.

“Studying in a culturally disparate country is a huge opportunity for personal and academic growth, and great stories,” she says.

That being said, studying in developing countries often comes with challenges that students do not usually experience in more traditional study abroad sites.

Wagman says, “It’s always nerve-wracking to go somewhere so different from what you’re used to, but it was always really satisfying to push myself like that. Sometimes we had some really difficult living conditions . . . but I know the shared discomfort of these experiences made me really close with everyone in my group.”

Jessica Hawk, a senior at New York University, agrees that the challenges she experienced while studying abroad in Ghana were worth it in the end.

“There [were] days where I had to block my friends — who were studying in Florence — on Facebook so I couldn’t see the lavish lives they lived with great food,” she says. “But I gained local friends — who I now consider my family — that others sites may not offer. Sometimes water wouldn’t turn on or the lights would go out, but it was all really worth it.”

Jessica Hawk '15 walks across one of the many treetop canopies at Kakum National Park in Ghana. (Photo courtesy of Hawk)

For Hawk, the challenges continued after she returned to the United States, as people from home did not fully comprehend her experiences in Ghana.

“I hated it when someone [from home] would introduce me as the person that studied in ‘Africa’ and everyone treated me like I was brave. It was a weird concept to think about. I wasn’t brave for living there. I ate, worked out, I went out at night. Life was pretty normal,” she says.

Despite some challenges, students generally hold fond memories from their study abroad experiences around Africa.

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Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice

“Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice “

via “Ed Week: Global Learning

“The profile of U.S. study abroad is changing. Today a more diverse range of students are studying in more destinations and through innovative programs that fall outside of the traditional model. Being aware of these trends can help us understand what motivates students to go abroad so we can encourage and support them. By beginning the exploration of other countries in elementary school, we build on students‘ natural curiosity about the world around them. Short-term high school experiences abroad can seed interest in longer, more in-depth study at the postsecondary level. Christine A. Farrugia, Senior Research Officer, Institute of International Education, shares some of the latest trends and her advice.

By guest blogger Christine A. Farrugia 

According to Open Doors,®* 289,408 U.S. higher education students studied abroad from their home institution in 2012/13, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, and continuing a trend of slow growth (between 1 to 3 percent per year). The high school rate of study abroad remains steady at less than 1 percent. However, against this backdrop of slow growth, there are pockets of strong growth among certain students and in certain destinations and types of programs.

New Students:  STEM majors are the fastest growing group
At the higher ed level, students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are driving the growth in U.S. study abroad. For the first time ever, STEM majors outnumber study abroad students in other major fields: In 2012/13, they accounted for 23 percent of study abroad students, followed by students majoring in social sciences (22 percent) and business (20 percent).

iiechart STEM.jpg

Over the past fifteen years, study abroad by STEM majors has grown substantially, outpacing growth in other fields. Contributing to this growth is an increasing awareness by students and faculty advisers of the career-related benefits of global experiences, as well as increased efforts by STEM programs to provide more flexible requirements and short-term study abroad options that can be easily integrated into tightly structured STEM curricula.

This growth is likely to continue as more U.S. students are projected to major in STEM fields. This means that study abroad programs will need to provide more options that align with the structured curricula of STEM programs, including engineering courses abroad taught in English.

New Destinations: Asia and Latin America are rising
Asia and Latin America are the new hot spots for U.S. postsecondary students studying overseas.  While over half of these students head to Europe, growth in study abroad in Asia increased by 23 percent and in Latin America increased by 13 percent.

Student interest in studying in Asia has increased along with the region’s economic rise. China rose to the fifth leading study abroad destination for U.S. postsecondary students in 2006/07 and has held that position every year since. Initiatives such as 100,000 Strong in China have increased the number of U.S. students (K-12 and postsecondary) in China by promoting it as a destination for study abroad, as well as student research, internships, language study, study tours, and other forms of non-credit education. But Asia’s popularity among U.S. students is not just about China. Japan, India, and South Korea are also among the top 20 destinations for U.S. students.  . . . .

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University of Georgia: Art and Gardens of Italy, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland

University of Georgia:

ART AND GARDENS OF ITALY, FRANCE, ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, AND IRELAND

Host(s)

  • University of Georgia

Countries:

Where Americans Go To Study Abroad

“Where Americans Go To Study Abroad”

by Nick Morrison via “Forbes

The number of Americans heading abroad to study has reached an all-time high, evidence of a growing international outlook among the new generation of students.

A report by the Institute of International Education this week shows the number of international students at U.S. universities at record levels, but the other side of the migration picture is that more American students are heading abroad than ever before.

In a companion post earlier today, I wrote about this two-way migration as a sign that universities are increasingly internationalized, reinforcing a point I made earlier this year about education becoming a global currency.

The report shows that in 2012/13 – the latest year for which figures are available – 289,043 American students studied abroad, up 2% on the previous year and more than doubling the figure of 15 years ago.

The most popular destination for American students remains the U.K., no doubt due to a combination of linguistic affinity and the reputation of its universities.

There were double digit increases in the percentage of students heading to South Africa, Denmark, South Korea and Peru.

The top 10 destinations for American students are illustrated in this table, which shows the number and percentage studying in each country in 2012/13 and the change compared with 2011/12.

Rank Country Number of students Percentage of total Percentage change
1 U.K. 36,210 12.5 4.5
2 Italy 29,848 10.3 0.7
3 Spain 26,281 9.1 -0.8
4 France 17,210 5.9 0.2
5 China 14,413 5.0 -3.2
6 Germany 9,544 3.3 1.9
7 Costa Rica 8,497 2.9 7.6
8 Australia 8,320 2.9 -10.8
9 Ireland 8,084 2.8 5.8
10 Japan 5,758 2.0 9.0

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