Top Five Study Abroad Destinations

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Apr 23, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.letsgo.com/article/3043-top-five-study-abroad-destinations-from-let%E2%80%99s-go#ixzz1KMWV7ImH

    Studying abroad is the perfect way for students to pursue academic research, learn a new language, and have a fabulous, life-changing time. For travelers or students considering study abroad, Let’s Go Travel Guides is naming their top five study abroad destinations for 2011.

    All college students enjoy life on campus—but for some, going off on their own to experience a new country and culture can be equally, if not more, rewarding. Studying abroad is the perfect way to pursue academic research, learn a new language, and have a life-changing time. For travelers or students considering studying abroad, Let’s Go is naming their top Study Abroad Destinations for 2011.

     
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  2. MSPeconomist
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    I'm rather cynical about some study abroad programs that I've seen. Some (less than a full summer/quarter/semester) are too short to be meaningful and aren't much more than a tour group organized by a school for young people. Others segregate the foreign students into separate housing and a very limited selection of separate classes, some of which are of low quality and not taught by regular faculty, Yet other programs are cash cows for the institution that organizes them, where students pay full US private college tuition and are enrolled in almost free foreign public universities, with only minimal additional services provided by the sponsoring US institution. Finally, there have been a few thankfully rare stories of students' personal safety being compromised.

    More positively, study abroad can be a unique and valuable experience educationally and personally. It can give students a big advantage in seeking jobs with an international component or that involve dealing with multicultural individuals---just about all desirable jobs today.
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
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    If I had the chance to do it all over again, I think I'd make bigger effort to study abroad. Probably in India if I was focused on my studies. But as MSPeconomist points out, so many programs are just big booze cruises. So if it was fun I wanted I'd do what most of my friends have done and do a semester in the Europe.
     
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  4. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    This is an astonishing list to see. I always thought the US was #1. In Mrs jb's family four siblings had their senior year of high school in the US, courtesy of AFS, which has programs in about 50 countries. All of them ended out speaking English fluently and learned perspective and self-reliance they could have had no other way.

    It is also surprising not to see the UK, nor France, both of which have huge numbers of exchange students at all levels. I was not an exchange student but went to work in the Philippines immediately after university.That changed my life forever.

    Personally I think little of the "semester abroad" programs because ti is too little and too superficial as a rule, if I understand them well. Spending a year in another country as an adolescent is a life changing experience, usually for the better IMO. I press all the parents I know to try to get their children somewhere far away where they must use a different language than their own, preferably living with a family in the new country. It is that, among other factors, that makes me such a fan of AFS.

    This is a delightful thread, whether one agrees with the listing or not. Thanks for another gem Sabore.
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    The Let's Go article seems to be a list of five countries that they suggest students consider. It's not the top five countries for either sending or receiving students.
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Yes, I understood that, but it still seemed very limited and lacked the educational insight I'd have hoped for. I also realize that such a publication would not place a large focus on educational content, while maintaining my position that education is what it should all be about. It helps begin a discussion among readers, though, and that's all for the good IMO.
     
  7. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    In my early 20s I lived in Guyana for about half a year, it changed my perspective on the world. Lived with no running water, electricity was sporadic and relatively no convienences I had come to expect in life. In my late 30s, my wife and I decided to quit the rat race early and move to Taiwan to study Mandarin for a few years. We went back to school every day and it was truly refreshing to be with young students full of hope.

    Went back to the grind for a few years and we both realized that we really wanted to master the language thus we moved to a back water city hours from Shanghai where foreigners are few and far between. We now together to study Mandarin further. It is a great way to get to know your partner better.

    Fully endorse the idea of moving to China for a while, it really helps to understand how things work differently.
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    One can only enthusiastically agree with you. IME people who live in more than one country with more than one language grow up into better informed and more capable adults. That is in the interest of the planet. Your history is a good case in point.
     
  9. noel
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    noel Silver Member

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    Two years ago, I did a semester abroad in Sydney. I lived in campus housing and took regular courses with the locals. The best part was I managed to get an internship, so I even worked for an Australian company for a few months.

    My only regret was not staying longer. I thought six months was going to feel like a long time, but it was really around that time that I finally started to feel totally comfortable with my new environment.

    Though I feel I had an incredibly enriching experience, I understand the notion that it's a six month vacation. With my specific program, my grades did not transfer back. I knew I would only leave with a pass of a fail, not an A-F. So my grades were pretty terrible because I knew they could be. But what I lacked in academic education, I feel I made it up with travel and cultural education (which will probably benefit me more than my public relations course work).
     
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  10. jbcarioca
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    BTW, with the AFS programs many people can end out with a secondary school qualification in addition to the one of their home country. That depends on the standard of each country, of course. For ones that have 12 year programs and no standardized process, like the US, most can end out with a high school diploma or the equivalent.

    Almost all the kids in my family have ended out with US high school diplomas, while several have achieved the French Baccalaureate . The latter, with standardized testing, took about two years on average. A couple have also gone to the UK, and managed several "O levels" and a couple "A levels" each. Most recently one has been studying in China, on a two year program. She is not playing very much, it seems, but she's learning a massive amount according to the reports I receive.

    YMMV, of course.
     
  11. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Silver Member

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    My junior year abroad in Italy was without a doubt the most exciting and life changing experience of college for me. This was in the sixties, when, while our college culture was changing dramatically, this program remained strict and structured. We lived with Italian families and studied the language, art, history and culture of our host country. This was truly a remarkable experience. While I've (sadly)forgotten much of the language, the people and the culture I experienced is with me forever.
     
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  12. steelgal32
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    Budapest, Hungary-- Karl Marx University.....early 90's when Yugoslavia was in turmoil....Still, talk to a lot of the students i was there with-- recommend this experience for every college kid-- this cost less than a semester at the university I was attending.....Best pizza at Marcello's, just down the road from hotel gellert
     
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  13. MSPeconomist
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    There are pros and cons of different ways of doing a year abroad.

    Some colleagues of mine have arranged a year or two overseas partly to give their kids this experience. In such cases, the kids live with the parents and attend either the local school or some international school. Sometimes they lose a year in their home school system, so that this works best with kids who have already skipped grades, where the parents don't want them to enter university at a very young age. They learn flexibility and foreign languages, but because they're living with parents, they don't have complete immersion in the foreign culture and don't benefit as much from maturity gains.

    In AFS and similar programs, students are placed in a local home and local high school. They spend an academic year as part of someone's family and benefit from cultural and language immersion. Some competing programs have been accused of failing to select and supervise host families carefully. Again, the cost might be a lost year of high school credit or they could emerge with an additional credential.

    The traditional undergraduate year abroad has been discussed above. This can delay college graduation, especially for majors in fields where there are a lot of required course that must be taken in sequence, such as science and engineering areas and certain professional programs. Financial aid and student loan terms can be impacted by the decision to study abroad, which might involve "unaccredited" (according to the USA viewpoint) foreign institutions, such as the very best national universities of countries with high educational standards.

    Another path is to go overseas for an entire degree program. The most common example of this consists of foreign graduate students in the USA, but certain countries are increasingly sending students elsewhere for undergraduate work, especially those from relatively well-off families. Some students seek to study overseas for better educational programs and some because spots in home institutions are severely rationed (foreign medical and vet schools). Various countries and universities provide different levels of support and services for foreign students.
     
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  14. taiwaned
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    Having teenage kids not of the age of majority living by themselves on their own in the home of a host family is a crap shoot.

    Some host families care and if you are lucky to get one of those then the kids are going to truly enjoy their time and it will be a great experience however I have also seen the opposite. In Vancouver, lots of Japanese, Korean and Chinese kids come to complete their high school in Canada. They get involved in drugs, drinking and learn how to party. Things that they are not able to do in their own countries perhaps due to the more conservative society. I have had more than a few parents tell me they have regretted sending their child over.

    It is a different story if they are already ADULTS but these kids are becoming younger and younger. One girl was 13 when she came over. Got into so much trouble but by that time, she could not go back to Japan to finish her education because she was so far behind and there was no possibility she would be able to graduate in Japan. Totally messed up kid. Feel bad for her and blame the parents for sending her that young.
     
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