Study Abroad with AIFS

December 2013

Read the e-Newsletter online  |  |  800.727.2437

International Perspectives

American Institute For Foreign Study

The AIFS Perspective

The Growth of Short-Term Study Abroad – Challenges and Opportunities

The recently released IIE Open Doors report underscored the fact that participation in short-term study abroad programs, defined as for-credit experiences of 8 weeks or less, continues to grow. While the report showed very modest growth in semester-long study abroad, it is clear that more students are opting for (or are being directed toward) summer, inter-term and faculty-led opportunities.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, "Junior Year Abroad, the Abridged Version" by Melissa Korn, addressed the trend toward short term study abroad, highlighting the perceived limitations of such experiences. The article suggested that students miss out on the opportunity to learn more about adapting to a new culture and becoming more self-reliant, skills that are more readily developed through a semester or year-long experience. The article cites several reasons for the trend: students choosing options that interfere less with busy academic and social schedules; parental preference for the short structured programs that include direct oversight by university faculty and/or administrators; and at least the perception of a lower cost option to a full semester or year abroad.

Read more: The AIFS Perspective on Short-Term Study Abroad

In this Issue


Are College Graduates Employable?


Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success


Global University Partnership Between the UK and US


New Publication: A Student Guide to Study Abroad


AIFS in France – New Program Option


New AIFS Alumni Programs

How Study Abroad Can Impact Career Development




Guest Contributor

Martin Tillman


Global Career Compass

What It Takes to Make New College Graduates Employable

Article: What It Takes to Make New College Graduates Employable

According to a recent article by Alina Tugend in the New York Times, employers are having trouble finding recent college graduates who are qualified for employment. One expert notes, “There’s always been a gap between what colleges produce and what employers want…But now it’s widening.”

This article points to a March 2013 survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, which found that about 50% of over 700 employers surveyed reported they had trouble finding recent college grads with the skills needed to fill positions with their company. However, what’s interesting is that the skills gap was not in technical areas; rather, it was with "soft" skills such as oral and written communications, adaptability, managing multiple priorities, making decisions, and problem solving.

These are skill sets that students can strengthen through a purposeful and planned education abroad experience. The mismatch appears to be found in what employers expect colleges to do to prepare students to enter the workforce and the role that colleges see for themselves in society. Students need to view their international experience as a way to set themselves apart from their peers when it comes to demonstrating how they’ve developed skills and competencies that employers value.



For more information about the skills that employers seek in job candidates, see the Employer Survey article below.

Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success

Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) recently commissioned an online survey of employers designed to find out what skills and knowledge students need in order to be prepared to join the workforce after college. The survey results show that employers endorse several educational practices as potentially helpful in preparing college students for workplace success. These include practices that require students to:

a) conduct research and use evidence-based analysis;
b) gain in-depth knowledge in the major and analytic, problem solving, and communication skills; and
c) apply their learning in real-world settings.

There is empirical evidence that well-designed study abroad programs have the potential to build these desired skills. The study shows that employers pro-actively partner with campus career offices to support development of internships and align these experiences to assist students in making the transition into the workforce post-graduation.

New Global University Partnership Between the UK and US

Global University Partnership Between the UK and US

The US and Britain have formed a strategic partnership in higher education, the UK-US Global Innovation Initiative; "[t]he aim is to achieve 40 trilateral partnerships involving 120 universities worldwide in the first year, and up to 600 over five years." Secretary of State John Kerry explained in a press conference that "the initiative would support multilateral research emphasizing science, technology and engineering, and would focus on issues such as climate change and sustainable development."

This partnership will foster collaboration between universities in the two countries, as well as with universities in emerging economies. This joint effort will lead to increased mobility between the U.S. and UK for faculty and students through internships and other exchange opportunities. This is the first such initiative been these two governments and will be jointly funded by the US State Department and Britain’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, (BIS).

A Student Guide to Study Abroad

New Publication: A Student Guide to Study Abroad

The recent IIE publication A Student Guide to Study Abroad provides students with all the information they need to plan their study abroad experience. Filled with easy-to-follow tips and dozens of real-life stories from students and educators, this book is a great resource for anyone considering study abroad.

Topics include:

  • Before you go: Doing the research to choose the right program, figure out the financials, and prepare properly for your big adventure abroad
  • While abroad: Making the most of your time abroad by adapting to your new home, immersing yourself in the culture, and staying safe while having fun
  • When you return: Transitioning back to life in the States, networking with like-minded global souls, and showcasing your global growth and learning

Sir Cyril Taylor, AIFS Founder and Chairman, co-authored this publication.


AIFS in France – New Program Option

AIFS in France – New Program Option

AIFS has several French programs for students to choose from, and we've added a new summer session in Grenoble for Summer 2014. AIFS now offers the following programs in France for students at all levels of language study:


  • Collège International de Cannes
    January Term, Summer, Semester, Academic Year Programs


  • Grenoble School of Management
    Semester Programs
  • University of Grenoble - French Language and Culture
    Summer, Semester, Academic Year Programs
  • University of Grenoble - Intensive French Language
    Semester, Academic Year Programs


  • University of Paris IV, Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne
    January Term, Summer, Semester, Academic Year Programs
  • Catholic University of Paris, Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises
    Summer, Semester, Academic Year Programs

New AIFS Alumni Programs

New AIFS Alumni Programs

AIFS alumni who are currently enrolled in an American college or university have an opportunity to join one of two great new résumé-building programs created specifically for enthusiastic returnees. The AIFS Alumni Ambassador and Alumni Advocate programs are two ways in which recent alumni can get involved and share their study abroad experiences with other students on campus.

Meet the AIFS Ambassadors!
Find out which of your students are now spreading the word about study abroad on their campus.

AIFS Student Guide to Study Abroad & Career Development

How Study Abroad Can Impact Career Development

As international educators know, students who study abroad gain an advantage over their peers as they compete for jobs after college; employers are increasingly seeking to hire candidates with global experience and international language skills.

In an effort to provide students with a framework to understand the impact and added value of study abroad for their career development, AIFS and Martin Tillman have created the AIFS Student Guide to Study Abroad and Career Development.

The free publication covers a range of related topics, including making career connections while abroad, effectively marketing the study abroad experience to employers, and articulating newly acquired skills and competencies. Interested educators can request copies of the guide for themselves and their students at

American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS)
1 High Ridge Park  |  Stamford, CT 06905
800.727.2437  |

You have received this email from AIFS Study Abroad. Click here to manage your email preferences.