This quality covers the presence of basic facilities and services and how accessible they are to international students. International student-specific services are discussed under the “Internationalization” quality. The facilities and services covered here are those that directly support international students in achieving the Seven Benefits of Study Abroad. You won’t find cutting-edge science labs or career placement services evaluated here, but you will find 24-hour libraries and internship placements.
The facilities covered in this quality ranking are those that support interaction between international and local (or other international) students, which is an important contributing factor to many of the Seven Benefits, as well as those that support independent learning and growth. The final category of facilities is those that support basic student life requirements, and their accessibility to international students.
Universities that score higher for facilities and services typically offer facilities such as the following:
- On-campus recreation and/or athletic facilities
- Self-study Facilities (e.g. Language learning centers, 24-hour accessible library)
- Guaranteed housing for international students
The highest value in study abroad comes from new experiences and students pushing beyond their self-imposed limits. But in order to encourage students to adventure outward and push themselves, universities need to provide comprehensive support services that students can rely on and fall back upon when they push too far. Additionally, ease of access to basic university services for international students will reduce avoidable stress associated with daily life and reserve more energy for growth in other areas. Finally, services that help international students connect with the community and enrich their experience also factor in to facilities and services quality.
Services that are important to short-term international students’ experience and achievement of the Seven Benefits of Study Abroad include:
- Physical and mental health care in English
- Percentage of student/academic services staff that speaks English
- University-arranged off-campus interaction (tours, internship placement, etc.)
The Silent Contributor
Facilities and Services often are not the splashy, eye-catching aspects of a university that international students look for, but they are critical to a positive study abroad experience. Especially in this age of increasing diversity of students going abroad, a robust support system is necessary to give them the sense of comfort with their study abroad destination that will then allow them to push beyond that comfort zone, to explore what their new country and culture has to offer, and to grow.