Location Influencers

So nearly 60% of American study abroad students study in only 10 different countries, but how does a student decide where to study? I have it narrowed down to a few factors, but I’m welcome to hearing your thoughts as well.

  1. Language –as discussed in the comments of my last post about study abroad locations, language is a huge factor in choosing a location. A student can either choose a country such as Spain, France, or Italy to learn the language by immersion, or intentionally choose an English-speaking country. I know people who have taken both routes and all of them have been happy so it really depends on the student’s preference.
  2. Heritage—I think this is the number one reason for American students to choose to go to Ireland. Over 36 million Americans claim Irish heritage, and it really is a heritage that is connected at the roots. Students are interested in seeing where their not-so-distant relatives lived and thrived for thousands of years.
  3. Causes—Certain locations around the globe attract more philanthropic students who travel to do work for a cause. I know a group of Champlain College students are travelling to an orphanage in Tanzania to help as much as they can for a few weeks.
  4. Industry—More students are travelling where their major is thriving. Champlain has set up a campus in Montréal because it is the 2nd-largest gaming center in the world hosting headquarters to major companies such as EA Games. We have three game majors (Design, Art & Animation, and Programming) and each is encouraged to travel to Montréal because that is where their job market it going. Also, more American students are studying in China than ever before, because of their business and economy.

These are the top four reasons and factors I see contributing to a student’s study abroad decision. Obviously finances are also an issue, but it is an issue with almost everything in college so it’s not unique to study abroad. What other factors do you think affect a student’s decision on where to study abroad?



PS. This post features pictures from my friend PK, his flickr.


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Study Abroad Locations

I always find it interesting where people go abroad and for what reasons. Working in the Champlain Abroad office has definitely allowed me to speak with students to discover their motivations. I’ve heard countless people want to go to Argentina or Spain for the language, Montréal for the gaming programs, Ireland for their heritage, and New Zealand “just because I want to.” I would then be led to believe that the three most popular destinations for Champlain students would be Dublin and Montréal (because we have campuses there) and New Zealand.

I’ve recently read some data from the Institute of International Education about the leading destinations for all American study abroad students. The top 10 places are:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. France
  5. China
  6. Australia
  7. Germany
  8. Mexico
  9. Ireland
  10. Costa Rica

These top ten locations account for 58.9% of all American study abroad students in 2008/9. Considering there are “195” countries in the world, 58.9% of American study abroad students only utilize 5% of the world’s countries. 195 is in quotations because the actual number of countries in the world varies depending on the source. Also, 6 out of the 10 countries are in Europe, 2 in the Americas, 1 in Asia, and 1 is Australia.

Knowing this list leads me to ask more questions about majors and locations and if certain majors are attracted to certain locations based on the current state of that location. I know Montréal is the third largest media convergence city and the second largest gaming city so media majors are attracted to there, but what about other locations? I hope to find out more answers concerning this topic very soon.

As a mini-side-note, at my position with the Champlain Abroad office, I decided to publish a poster for campus displaying an inspirational quote by Mark Twain, encouraging travel. I will leave you with that:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.


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My Time Abroad

Ever since 8th grade, I knew I was going to study abroad in Ireland. I never had a specific location within Ireland targeted, but when I discovered Champlain College and its campus in Dublin, I knew this was the place for me. I began my traveling abroad however in the 10th grade when I spent 10 days in Spain for a school trip. I instantly fell in love with experiencing another culture and knew I’d be back someday. Last January, I embarked on the journey to Dublin with some great friends and others who became great friends. While there I travelled to Galway and Western Ireland, Belfast and Northern Ireland, Greece, and London. I am a marketing major, and that field definitely needs some sort of abroad experience. When people are selling products and services, they are no longer just selling them to a domestic market, but rather the globe. How can a company expect to sell something abroad with no sense of an alternate, foreign culture? It simply won’t work, and all business majors, in my opinion, need to spend at least a semester abroad to be able to excel upon graduation.

The campus in Dublin is absolutely astonishing. We were privileged enough to stay in the Augustine Apartments at StayDublin, a long-term-stay apartment building with great rooms and great service. I had a wonderful time there for 4 months. Our academic building is located on Leeson Street Lower in Dublin 2, the more business district that is right next to St. Stephen’s Green. It was a nice walk every morning from these great residences to this newly renovated 5 story Georgian building where the excellent staff waited. The teachers at the Dublin campus are absolutely fantastic and one of the great pathways into a foreign culture experience. They taught class the way they teach, not like American teachers. We had small classes though, so there were no lectures and everything was hands-on. I was fortunate enough to work on a project with Katherine McGrath and Chris Harris for the Irish Council for Overseas Students, giving me international non-profit experience by the time I was 21. The academics, the obvious social life, and everything else I experienced in my 4 months in Dublin has made me a very strong believer in studying abroad and international education. Whether it’s through your own college or a great 3rd party program, every college student needs to get out and experience the world.

This is a picture of myself walking through farmland on the hike from Bray to Greystone outside of Dublin. We kind of got lost and off the path and ended up in this field… for a while.


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Allow me to introduce myself…

Hello all, allow me introduce myself. My name is Tricia and I am currently a senior in my last semester at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. As a marketing major, I couldn’t have chosen a better school than Champlain, and this blog is another untraditional portion to the curriculum. Throughout my four years here, I’ve had access to amazing opportunities, and the most amazing of all was the semester I spent abroad in Dublin, Ireland, in spring 2010. Our school has two international campuses, one in Montréal and one in Dublin, and I was fortunate enough to experience Champlain College in Dublin. It truly was a life changing experience and upon arriving back to the Burlington campus, I was offered a work-study position in the Office of International Education as a Champlain Abroad Student Recruiter. I was essentially asked to help out in the office and getting students psyched about studying abroad. Through this work and experience I have realized that I have a strong passion for studying abroad and wish every college student could have the experience. You can never really know yourself until you experience yourself in another culture. There honestly is nothing like being completely out of your element, in a different country, living abroad.

This blog is going to feature my thoughts, opinions, and passion for studying abroad and international education.

Throughout the blog I will be featuring pictures from my friend and fellow study abroader, Chris Harris. Such as this one:

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