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Abroad101 releases student review rankings

Students from the US have ranked courses in Costa Rica, Australia and Ireland as the best study abroad programmes in the Abroad101 2014 Study Abroad Rankings. The review website also announced listings of students’ top choices for summer programmes, foodie cities and budget destinations.

Now in their 4th year, the Abroad101 Study Abroad Rankings looked at thousands of reviews for 1,400 programmes.

"We’re harnessing the power of Abroad101 which is trying to capture student input so it’s not about faculty performance"

The rankings are based on thousands of online evaluations of 1,472 programmes made by students under the direction of their academic advisors and hosted by Abroad101.

This year, Sol Education Abroad’s Study Abroad & Spanish Immersion in Heredia Costa Rica received the largest number of top reviews from students followed by The Education Abroad Network’s Gold Coast-Bond University scheme in Australia and a direct enrolment programme at the American College Dublin.

“The rankings give some insight into who’s got nice programmes and maybe gets students thinking a little bit differently rather than just the traditional top destinations or top providers”

Also in the top 10 are three smaller independent programmes in Italy and a semester programme in Romania.

Mark Shay, CEO of Abroad101 said it is encouraging to see students appreciate non-traditional destinations and programmes. “There’s this unique little programme that goes into non-urban Romania and students get very immersed in the local community and seem to have a very powerful experience,” he told The PIE News.

“It’s nice to see some unique programmes like that really give students a memorable experience.”

The top-ranked summer programmes also showed that students value programmes outside of Western Europe where traditionally the most popular programmes have been based.

Traveling Study in Ghana through provider ThisWorldMusic got top marks from students while Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad with the Green Program in Iceland was ranked second. Hanyang University’s Seoul International Summer School is also in the top five.

“The rankings give some insight into who’s got nice programmes and maybe gets students thinking a little bit differently rather than just the traditional top destinations or top providers,” commented Shay.

“Our list has a nice range of small independent schools, small providers, big providers and for-profit and non-for profit players.”

Iceland was ranked the Top Non-Traditional Country while students considered the Gold Coast in Australia the Most Liveble City. Thailand won the accolades for Top Food and Budget-Friendly Country.

Now in their fourth year, the rankings were compiled in partnership with travel booking website site StudentUniverse.

As the largest student review website, Abroad 101 aims to add a new angle to an already crowded rankings market.

“We’re harnessing the power of Abroad101 which is trying to capture student input so it’s not about faculty performance or some other aspect,” said Shay. “It’s strictly students and their study abroad experience.”

For the full list of rankings visit: http://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings#awards.

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