Around the Field: Studying in London Changes the
Lives of 2 Athena Ambassadors
Athena Study Abroad’s Ambassador Internship Program allows selected alumni of Athena’s study abroad programs to gain valuable internship and work experience (while spreading the news about the opportunity of study abroad!) through Ambassador Internship positions. In these roles, students share their experiences with future potential study abroad students by working at study abroad fairs, volunteering in study abroad offices, presenting to college classes, and more. These students are “evangelists” for study abroad generally, and share specific experiences and insights from their Athena Study Abroad programs.
Read more about two featured Athena Ambassadors, Abby Malmrose (West Chester University of PA) and Evan Lynch (Central Washington University) and their life-changing experiences in London!
Check out Athena’s valuable webinar resource, “How to Fund Study Abroad” for tips and tricks on how students can fund their study abroad experience.Feel free to use this video as a resource to help students explore and identify ways to make going abroad affordable and accessible!
“Study Abroad Matters” Report Summarizes a Wide Range of Relevant Previous Research
By Dane S. Claussen, Ph.D., MBA Manager of University Relations Athena Study Abroad
Study Abroad Matters: Linking Higher Education to the Contemporary Workforce through International Experience was published in 2018 by the Institute for International Education (IIE) and the AIFS Foundation. This “Global Education Research Report” is divided into three main sections (plus Introduction and Conclusion): “How Employers View Study Abroad,” “How Students View Study Abroad,” and “Connecting the Dots,” with the latter’s subsections on language acquisition, diversity and study abroad, and the value of diversity for employers. The report’s first section summarizes the results of surveyed study abroad alumni who said that their experience helped them with various skills or knowledge areas, and of surveyed employers globally who said that they value study abroad experience among employees (and that they are doing more international hiring). The second section summarizes data and conclusions from well known (for example, Gaining an Employment Edge, or AIFS Study Abroad Outcomes) and lesser known reports on study abroad alumni. Aside from the obvious strengths of the research, studies cited in this report have some limitations. One shortcoming is data not based on studies with control groups. For example, Study Abroad Matters states that a previous report concluded, “establishing intentional goals prior to going abroad and reflection on skills developed through study abroad has a greater influence on employability after graduation,” but students who do not study abroad also surely benefit from setting intentional goals and then reflecting on them (e.g., a journalism student who strategizes about campus media work and off-campus internships, completes the work, and then reflects on her work.)
Another research concern is that a study abroad alumnus also could have a tendency to overestimate outcomes of an experience that was unique or unusual, substantial in terms of time commitment and cost, immersed in another culture and country, valued in her own society, supported by her educational institution, memorably emotional, and more.
Studies that survey employers in multiple countries need to be divided by country because of differences in education systems, economies, cultures, patterns in study abroad and more. (For similar reasons, students from multiple countries also cannot be grouped together.) Employers need to be studied more about why they value study abroad experience, whether study abroad experience is merely correlated with
other desirable characteristics in employees, whether they have evidence (not only perception) of skills and knowledge among employees due only to study abroad experience, etc. Likewise, surveys of students need to drill down more into skills and knowledge acquired abroad, and connections with their careers; anecdotal and other intangible evidence suggests myriad benefits of study abroad (especially long-term study abroad), but social scientific evidence of cause-effect relationships—controlling for other variables—is much more difficult to obtain. Study Abroad Matters includes an important recom-mendation for more long-term research on student employment outcomes after graduation. Editor’s Note: Dr. Dane Claussen will be presenting, “Study Abroad and Employ-ment: A Proposed Research Agenda,” on October 26, at the Pennsylvania Council for International Education (PACIE) conference in State
For your Science, Technology, Math, or Engineering majors, they may be struggling to find a place to study abroad that complements their unique coursework.
Look no further – Athena’s Scotland program is a STEM powerhouse program, offering a uniquely large catalog of STEM courses (along with their expansive catalog across nearly all disciplines) for students to take abroad!
Founded in 1495, Athena’s partner, the prestigious University of Aberdeen, is Scotland’s third oldest university.
Three of the strongest disciplines at Athena’s Dublin programare ones that can be difficult to find overseas: Computer Science, Journalism, and Hospitality Management. For students studying one of these majors, this may be the program they’ve been waiting for!
Griffith College Dublin is a highly respected private college that gives students the opportunity to study a diverse range of disciplines in the heart of one of Europe’s top cities.
The University of Roehampton is an incredible university, and the most intimate setting of all of those in the University of London network. Athena’s London program offers your students a wide variety courses to choose from, plus a personalized and active social scene on campus.