With students returning to campus this month, I thought I’d re-publish this post; I hope it might be useful for study abroad advisors and career service staff as they prepare to send off new groups of students to study abroad:
AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) has published my new monograph titled, Campus Best Practices Supporting Study Abroad & Student Career Development. You can download it at http://www.aifsabroad.com/advisors/publications.asp.
I spent six months in 2013 researching, contacting and reviewing dozens of U.S. campus advising practices for students before, during and upon their return home from studying abroad. The outcome is not a completely satisfying portrait of how campuses – of all sizes, public and private, in every region – have organized their study abroad and career service offices to offer students an integrated set of advising options at the time they decide to go abroad through their time in-country and then upon their return to campus.
Only a handful of campuses provide resources and advise students in each of these three phases of their international education experience. Why? Mostly, it has to do with time and money — and yet the higher ed community bemoans the small numbers of students who study abroad (and is now gearing up to double this number in a national advocacy effort -see the IIE Generation Study Abroad at http://www.iie.org/Programs/Generation-Study-Abroad)…
Perhaps more students would consider going abroad if they were advised to view their time abroad as a significant moment in their career development. Yes, it is often tied to specific curricular offerings, and sometimes, it is just a chance to get out of the country for the first time, but it needs to be viewed as a time when students have a chance to develop skills which have the potential to be of great advantage in their job searches and their overall career advancement in future years.
Merely focusing on administrative remedies to increase numbers ignores the deeper problem for campuses — they do not provide adequate student services to assist students make meaning of their international education experiences.