What is The Best Places to Study Abroad?
I believe that study abroad, done right, multiplies the value of the college experience by a significant factor. Just how much depends on how well we study abroad advisors do our jobs. I created this site to help study abroad advisors find the best places to study abroad for their students and guide them to make the most of the experience.
Around the industry now, there is far too much emphasis on quantity. The US Generation Study Abroad aims to have “600,000 U.S. students studying abroad in credit and non-credit programs by the end of the decade.” Tobitate, the Japanese government’s equivalent, aims to double the number of outbound college students from 60,000 to 120,000 by 2020.
But nobody else is talking about quality.
The pressure on study abroad advisors to hit numerical goals is mounting. But I built this site to make sure that we continue to focus on the quality of our outbound and inbound students’ study abroad experiences.
After all, surveys of employers (several cited on the Seven Benefits of Study Abroad page) show that they don’t look for “study abroad” on a student’s resume. They look for the skills and characteristics developed during an effective study abroad program. That’s where The Best Places to Study Abroad focuses its attention.
Goals of The Best Places to Study Abroad
- Identify the characteristics of study abroad programs that yield the most benefits to students.
- Help study abroad advisors and academic advisors encourage their students to go abroad by making the benefits of study abroad clear and relevant.
- Help study abroad advisors understand these characteristics and where they can be found to better advise their students.
- Help study abroad advisors and students understand what deliberate action to take during study abroad to maximize their benefits.
To do that, I have created a framework to evaluate study abroad destinations on a common set of expectations (Three Study Abroad Program Qualities) and target outcomes (Seven Benefits of Study Abroad). By evaluating study abroad destinations around the world on these common criteria, we can help our students figure out which programs will offer them the most growth in a range of specific qualities while also meeting their academic and personal interests.
My hope is that this will become the ultimate resource online for study abroad advisors to guide their students from deciding to study abroad through program selection, follow-up during the time abroad, and reintegration.
How You Can Contribute to the Project
The Best Places to Study Abroad gets information from university profile submissions and student feedback. Study abroad advisors can submit their university profile here.
You can also encourage your students to submit their study abroad program ratings here.
If you’re interested in keeping on top of new information from The Best Places to Study Abroad, or contributing as a guest poster in the future, please join my mailing list, by filling in your name and email below!
Defining “Study Abroad”
The Best Places to Study Abroad is focused on year-long and single-semester undergraduate study abroad programs. I may expand to summer programs in the future, as well.
Research and surveys by academic institutions and study abroad program providers alike consistently show that year-long study abroad yields the strongest outcomes and student growth, while also resulting in the highest satisfaction. Unfortunately, there are many universities that only allow their students a single semester to study abroad. The Best Places to Study Abroad evaluates universities that receive students for either duration with the hope that the research and outcomes presented here will one day contribute to a broader acceptance of year-long study abroad programs.
There are many types of study abroad and international education programs, from large-scale study abroad program providers, to direct enrollment and student exchange partnerships. The Best Places to Study Abroad is interested in host universities regardless of the type of program students use to get there.
Until someone convinces me that it has actual study abroad value, so-called “Faculty-led study abroad” will not be considered here.