BuzzFeed vs. A Student Guide to Study Abroad (Review)

Stacie Berdan recently asked me if I’d like to review her new book A Student Guide to Study Abroad. Interested in all things study abroad, of course I said yes. Stacie mailed me two copies – one for me and one to give away (thanks, Stacie)! Details on how you can win an autographed copy of A Student Guide to Study Abroad are below.

It’s funny, the things that I notice now as compared to when I was working directly in the field of study abroad.StudyAbroad_covers_8

Back when I was steeped in study abroad research, and creating resources and programs to support students’ intercultural learning before, during, and after programs, I would have immediately asked who published A Student Guide to Study Abroad, (IIE and AIFS), who wrote it (Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, Allan E. Goodman and Sir Cyril Taylor), and if all of the important topics were covered (they are).

These days I find myself asking…

  • Are students today inclined to look to a book for study abroad information? Or are they more like to take to the web?
  • With so many easily-accessible study abroad blogs, photos, and program reviews online, would a student want to sit down and read – or even skim – a 300 page book?
  • Are parents, study abroad advisors, and high school and college counselors more likely to read this book than students are?

I quickly discovered that A Student Guide to Study Abroad is comprehensive and solid content-wise, covering everything you’d want a student to think about before, during, and after studying abroad. And it was written by three people who know what they’re talking about.

So instead of thinking about the content, I found myself wondering how a high school or college student would get their hands on this book. I’m no longer a student, obviously, but the first thing I do when I’m looking for information is go to Google. I was curious how easy it would be to randomly find A Student Guide to Study Abroad, so I googled study abroad, how do I study abroad, and where should I study abroad.

Unfortunately, instead of stumbling upon A Student Guide to Study Abroad, I found BuzzFeed’s GIF-filled 25 Things You Should Know Before Studying Abroad, many links to, and a random quiz that will advise you on where you should study abroad.

This is a huge shame because A Student Guide to Study Abroad is full of useful information and tips that would benefit both students still on the fence about and already determined to study abroad. The guide would also be helpful for students looking for support in making a case to their parents about the value of spending time abroad, and parents or others who want to become more familiar with the benefits, decisions, and experiences related to studying abroad.

A Student Guide to Study Abroad is an easy read (that’s meant as a positive) filled with student stories, top tips, and all of the topics you’d want students to think about, such as deciding whether study abroad is right for you, choosing a program, figuring out how to pay for it, preparing to go abroad, making the most of your time abroad, coming home, and advocating for study abroad.

Ideally, A Student Guide to Study Abroad would serve as an introduction to topics like health and safety, integrating into the local community, and re-entry with a student’s study abroad program providing more in-depth and program-specific information or resources like the Maximizing Study Abroad student guide to language and culture learning, the What’s Up with Culture website, or the re-entry relaunch resources here at SPS.

Because the book is so comprehensive, many topics only receive a cursory treatment, such as information for LGBT travelers, those with a disability, and romance/dating. This is to be expected, and they do suggest further resources for many topics.

A Student Guide to Study Abroad is a fantastic resource for students who are thinking about studying abroad (and for students’ parents, partners, etc). If you work with high school or college students (or their parents), this guide should be in your toolkit. It would also make a great gift for high school or college students (it’s on my shopping list this year).

The paperback version is $14.20 but the e-book is only $5.49 on Amazon (not affiliate links). I’m really glad to see a less expensive version that is also very portable.

Check out A Student Guide to Study Abroad. Let’s make sure students find this book in addition to (the often very funny) BuzzFeed!


Win a copy of A Student Guide to Study Abroad!

Stacie sent an extra copy of A Student Guide to Study Abroad for me to give away to a reader. Since Sabrina and I thought this guide could help someone live their ideal global life through study abroad, the winner will be chosen during the Living Your Ideal Global Life Summit (January 13-17, 2014).

Sign up below and you’re automatically entered to win! You’ll also receive information on how to participate in the free and virtual Summit, be entered into other Summit Week giveaways, and receive periodic updates from me and Sabrina.