After London, students gave top scores for social and cultural integration to Florence, Rome, Beijing and Paris followed by Dublin, Madrid, San Jose, Costa Rica, Sydney and Gold Coast, Australia.
Based on overall scores, Loyola University Chicago’s Beijing Center, where students study Mandarin and are taught by scholars from universities and institutes around China, was voted the top Study Abroad Program.
Loyola University Chicago’s Beijing Centre was voted the top Study Abroad Program
“The Beijing Center has it all – top-notch academics, unique travel experiences, immersion with the local community, and an array of co-curricular activities that really round out the student experience,” said Katie Rooney, senior university relations coordinator.
“Students have the opportunity to make the most of their time in China, and they can’t stop talking about it when they come back.”
Filling out the top five ranked programs were UPCES – Study Abroad in Prague, IES Abroad: Study Abroad in Granada, Sol Education Abroad: Heredia – Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and TEAN: Gold Coast – Bond University.
The rankings are based on 6,000 reviews written in 2015 by American students of the 10,000 study abroad programmes listed on the online directory.
Abroad101 said the 38-question review “is designed to help a student summarise their time abroad”.
Nine of the questions asked students to give star ratings (0 to 5). “We compile these star ratings using a method known as Bayesian Analysis and adjust for any lack of standard deviation,” said CEO, Mark Shay.
According to Open Doors data, the UK, France, Spain and Italy host 35% of US study abroad students. However, Abroad101’s Top Non-Traditional Countries reveals students value off the beaten track destinations as well.
Ghana was voted the top non-traditional study destination (outside of the top 25 countries where most US students studied) followed by Cuba, Tanzania, Turkey and Morocco.
Third-party providers that facilitate overseas programming were also ranked with The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) taking the top position ahead of IES Abroad, Sol Education Abroad, API and The Asia Institute.
Ghana was voted the top non-traditional study destination
Not surprisingly, three Italian cities appear on the Top Foodie Cities ranking, lead by Florence and Rome. Beijing is the third most gastronomically pleasing followed by Paris and then Milan.
Some 300,000 US students study abroad a year, only about 10% of the total higher education population. Shay said the rankings are an effort to bring more students and parents to see the benefits of an experience abroad.
“Young, open minds are the key to a peaceful and prosperous future and giving them the chance to have cultural immersion experiences is life changing,” he said.
“Our tools help capture these personal triumphs and turn alumni stories into examples of the benefits of study abroad so that we can draw more students abroad.”
In response to low participation rates, the Institute of International Education launched the Generation Study Abroad initiative and committed $2m to double the number of US students overseas by 2020.