Resource: Why We Need Better Abroad

Resources Description Who Should Use How To Use
I Came to Haiti to Do Good A volunteer in Haiti returns to reflect that he felt his work was ineffectual Students/Administrators/Faculty This article can be used in pre-departure programming/coursework and even as part of the application process to create dialogue about what it means to serve and what the complexities are of doing so.
The Ugly American: International Education and the Image of the U.S. Abroad International education is still struggling to find its place in academia. Some may view it as glorified tourism. Those of us in the profession are accused of trying to pass off a semester in an idyllic location with a low drinking age as a credible academic experience. Administrators/Faculty This is a call to action to move study abroad from tourism to a meaningful educational experience. Share this article with your international committee to create dialogue about how education abroad is perceived and how it can be improved at your organization.
We're Muddying the Message on Study Abroad The author addresses the commercial side of education abroad and how the marketing sounds like an infomercial. Organizations seem to attract the same types of students to experiences abroad this way. The author illustrates other benefits of the education abroad experience including how improved intercultural skills can increase self awareness and strengthen a commitment to civic engagement. Administrators/Faculty/University Leadership This strong piece can spark discussion on the emphasis on numbers over quality programming and how we are failing to diversify the type of students who study abroad. Examine your organizations metrics and assess how you are doing in this area. Examine education abroad marketing to assess how it impacts enrollment and whether it is ethical.
Consumers Study Abroad: International Education is Not a Commodity This article identifies the problem of consumerism in study abroad and how students go abroad and 'consume' another culture. Administrators/Faculty A controversial piece to create discussion. The article ends with a proposition to administer an exam similar to the TOEFL for students wishing to study abroad to cut back on the consumerist approach to study abroad. Use this piece to create dialogue about whether education abroad is a product or learning tool at your organization. Assess what changes need to be made to ensure the latter.
Thoughts on the International Education Conference Circus A blog post that identifies how international education has become an industry with a glut of Western-centric and Western-located conferences. He calls for a re-think in how conferences and associations are managed and for countries in other regions of the world to be more represented. Administrators/Senior/Leadership/Faculty This is a call to action to broaden the purview of education abroad. This article should be discussed at the organization's leadership level as well as at the international committee. Discussion can relate to how this Western-centric philosophy is affecting the organization's approach to internationalization.
It's Time to Rethink Study Abroad The author supports that institutions will have to find other ways of internationalizing student thinking rather than just relying on study abroad. Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership Examine how your organization's delivery of education abroad is preventing global awareness back at home. How else might you support awareness across cultures in the classroom?
International Education Exchanges are at an All-Time High But We Have More Work to Do Blog post about better preparing students for time abroad and also strong support for re-entry. Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership Students must be properly prepared for the cross-cultural experience. Review your organization's metrics to assess if you're sending more of the same abroad and create an action plan to address this. Also review the culture tab for ideas on how to better prepare students for experiences across cultures.
Affirming Academic Values in Internationalization of Higher Education: A Call for Action This blog post discusses the advantages as well as unintended adverse consequences of internationalization of higher ed. It concludes with a document entitled Affirming Academic Values in Internationalization of Higher Education which highlights these challenges while outlining how institutions can re-center the process of internationalization around the academic fundamentals. Senior Leadership/Administrators/Faculty This call to action document can be used as a checklist to assess current education abroad approaches at organizations. This is an excellent tool for international education committees to work through and then report to Senior Leadership.
Becoming the Change We Want to See: Critical Study Abroad for a Tumultuous World Proposes a new model for study abroad: critical study abroad; Critical Study Abroad requires that we reevaluate our knowledge production and our teaching and more specifically that we reconstitute the field in which study abroad operates Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership This can be used by study abroad administrators to launch discussions with faculty and senior university admin about how the concept of critical study abroad can be used to help campus internationalization and be more than just glorified tourism.
International Education: So Much More Than Study Abroad A true international education constantly exposes students to ideas and issues that define today's world. This should happen when students are studying on campus as well as when they're studying abroad and it should be taking place no matter what a student happens to be studying. Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership This piece illustrates that international education does not just stop after students return home. Use it to assess what systemic support there is for ongoing cultural learning in your organization.
Do Drinking Abroad Programs Have A Studying Problem? This article focuses on the nature of many programs that lose sight of academics. Faculty/Study Abroad administrators/Students This is an excellent piece to include as a resource for new faculty proposing programs or with students in pre-departure for discussion about alcohol and the academic nature of study abroad.
Don't Go Soft on Study Abroad: a Call for Academic Rigor The reality is that the study abroad experiences can be orchestrated poorly and potentially leaving students with a highly superficial understanding of another area of the world. Faculty/Administrators/Senior Leadership Call to action for faculty regarding the academic content of their programs. This is also an article that can create dialogue regarding how many programs are superficial. This can be shared at both international education committee and faculty meetings as a way to create dialogue and to assess how the organization is helping or harming in this effort.
2013: Internationalisation more than a numbers game Many would like to see a greater emphasis on the content and quality of the international experience rather than just numbers. Administrators/Senior Leadership/Faculty This is a strong resource for international colleagues consulting Better Abroad to look at recent trends in the field and to assess if quantity over quality is an epidemic in their organizations too.
Five years of changing internationalisation agendas A list of practices to make the "globalisation of internationalisation" more ethical and sustainable. Senior Leadership/Administrators/Faculty International educators can use this piece to prepare for discussions with university leadership about developing a strong campus internationalization plan.
"ABROAD" A Study Abroad Documentary A study abroad student video that purports to be a "documentary" of her experience abroad. It illustrates the typical image of college students abroad running through cities abroad playing. This video highlights how academics are secondary to the tourism and American bubble mentality. Administrators/Faculty/Students This video can be shown in faculty training to illustrate what students' perceptions of their time abroad often are and then how to combat this message. This also could be used with students in pre-departure programming to address how they imagine their forthcoming abroad experiences and address WHY they are going abroad?
"Socially Responsible Programming for Study Abroad Students: Preparation through Videoconferencing" An article on why pre-departure education is a necessary preface for socially responsible programming. It recounts one way an institution has had success with a pre-departure activity involving videoconferencing between cultures. Administrators/Faculty This resource can be considered as faculty and administrators plan their own pre-departure programs.
Quantity or Quality in Study Abroad? Supports the need to change the focus on numbers to quality programming. Administrators/Faculty This call to action that dates back to 2007 can still be used to create dialogue in organizations. It is useful to bring to international education committees with metrics to assess where the focus has been in an organization.
Organically Promote Faculty-Led Study Abroad Explains the need to integrate study abroad in the broader scope of an institution's educational goals so as to increase participation and an understanding of its importance Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership Provides an interesting proposal for administrators to bring before their leadership as a way to increase the quality in study abroad.
Student Happiness: Why It Doesn't Matter Examines how worrying about student happiness on study abroad programming might compromise the outcomes of a truly meaningful experience abroad. Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership A potentially controversial article that can be used to create dialogue about how focusing on designing programs to meet student's needs might be doing them a disservice in developing into a culturally-aware individual on an educational program. This can be used to assess if the organization's approach needs to be changed.
Transformation Experience: Service-Learning Student to Scholar Graduate students reflections on service learning study abroad during undergraduate career and how it failed to explore power relations. This is a "wake up call" article about how critical program design is to learning outcomes. Administrators/Faculty This can be used as training for faculty regarding program design abroad.
From There to Here: Reconnoitering International Education Looking at international education we see an "idea" driven by revenue and propelled by the market. Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership This article should be used to create conversation about how broken education abroad has been and to gain a commitment to closely examine whether it is a market or service in your organization. If it is treated as a marketable product then how will this be addressed?
International Education Cycle This image shows the origins of education abroad and how it has increasingly moved to a commodity. Administrators/Faculty/Senior Leadership This can be used as a discussion tool to assess where an organization stands and how this can be supported or changed.
US Exceptionalism and Study Abroad Melibee Global's post on how US Exceptionalism prevents learning abroad. Rather than ranking countries we should acknowledge that they each have a rich tradition and culture and focus on how we can all be better. Administrators/Faculty/Students This article can be shared with students who are considering study abroad and as part of pre-departure orientation as a way to create conversation about the difference between pride and ethnocentrism.