Study Abroad Spotlight is a new website dedicated to inspiring students to study abroad and a forum for study abroad alumni, parents, and Education Abroad professionals to share their stories! Emily Sweeney is an Education Abroad professional who founded Study Abroad Spotlight as a side project because she feels so strongly about offering students, parents, and IE professionals the opportunity to reflect on their experiences.
|Emily Caskey, Study Abroad Spotlight|
I got involved because I was looking for a virtual internship opportunity to help me gain experience in the field of International Education. What drew me to the site and the internship opportunity was her enthusiasm for study abroad and her commitment to providing a resource for students, parents, and IE professionals.
I know that when I was getting ready to study abroad I scoured the internet looking for information about what it would be like to live and study in Germany. And although I believe that no amount of research or talking to people can ever truly prepare you for how unique a study abroad experience will be, I think that the more you read, the more you know!
For students interested in studying abroad, the plethora of choices can be confusing. But beyond that, the anticipation of going abroad can be even more overwhelming than the application process! Study Abroad Spotlight seeks to attract students, parents, and IE professionals from all backgrounds to submit their own Spotlights, so that students interested in studying abroad can browse the site and have a wide variety of perspectives to consider.
For parents who are unsure about what studying abroad entails and why it’s important for their son or daughter to go abroad, Study Abroad Spotlight offers Spotlights from parents of students who’ve already been abroad. Parents can read up on what other parents have experienced – their doubts, concerns, questions, but also the amazing experiences their son or daughter has had, and the positive changes they’ve seen!
For study abroad alumni, Study Abroad Spotlight is a forum to share their personal experiences and harness the enthusiasm for studying abroad that accompanies most any study abroad experience. Spotlight submissions include questions about the challenges and rewards of the program and ask students to reflect on their experiences as whole.
This self-reflection is an opportunity for students to think about what else study abroad afforded them, other than the chance to travel, meet new people, and/or learn a new language. By reflecting on this, students are better able to recognize the transferable skills that come with studying abroad and how these skills can help them post-graduation during the job search. In addition, students can add a direct link to their Spotlight on their resumes for future employers.
As Education Abroad professionals, you know that studying abroad is an awesome and important experience for students. We envision Study Abroad Spotlight as a way for you to share your own study abroad experiences and how they’ve influenced your career path. It’s also a great resource for getting students interested in study abroad!
We’re still growing our network of Spotlights to ensure that students have a wide variety of resources and perspectives, which is why I’d like to encourage all of you to submit your own Spotlight and direct your past and future study abroad students to our site so they can explore for themselves.
For my part, I’m blogging over on the Study Abroad Spotlight blog on topics including culture shock, reverse culture shock, and how to highlight study abroad experiences on a resume.
I’m also reaching out to current study abroad students who’d like to go a little more in depth on their experiences abroad and discuss specific topics like their living arrangements, traveling while abroad, and budgeting their finances before and during study abroad (just to name a few)!