Information For Parents
In today's interconnected and global world, having an international experience can help set your student apart and give them valuable skills that will help them in the future. WVU is committed to providing unique, educational, and rewarding international opportunities to its students.
ARE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITIES OR PROGRAMS VETTED BY THE EDUCATION ABROAD TEAM?
Yes. Our staff visits schools that could potentially host WVU students. These trips made by our staff are called site visits. Curious about this process? Read our Q&A below with Program Coordinator Michael Bloom who recently made site visits to three European universities.
What sites did you visits?
I visited the University on Antwerp in Belgium, University of Lille in France, and the University Ruhr-Bochum in Germany. Two of the three universities we already have partnerships with, however the University of Lille is a unique situation because they have three different campuses and they combine into one. The University of Antwerp is brand new but has a business school that we are trying to establish a better partnership with.
What is a site visit and why are the done?
Site visits are great. The purpose of a site visit is for partners to learn as much as possible about that University. The main topics we are looking at are academics and student accommodations. At all of the universities I was able to meet with different faculty members, coordinators and directors, and I was able to tour multiple student accommodations. Not only do we get to represent WVU when we go, but also the Mid-American Universities International (MAUI), which is a consortium of schools made up of 17 U.S. schools and 29 international universities.
How long are site visits?
I was there for eight days and it’s about a day’s process at each University. What usually happens in the morning is the first 2-4 hours is exchanging information, asking questions, and trying to learn the process of what an incoming student would go through. Throughout the day we also go on multiple tours, whether it be student accommodations, visiting their library, cafeterias, or important structures on the campus.
What are you looking for when you’re on a site visit?
Everything. For each site I had different goals. First and most importantly to me was the academics because a student is going abroad to learn. Secondly, I wanted to check that their accommodations were up to par. I wanted to make sure that rent wasn’t too much and if the area was safe. The other thing I tried to do at all of the universities was put myself in the mind of the student and work on figuring out things like transportation, registration, and all of the small things that a student has to do or may have questions about. I chose to visit these three schools because students will come to me and say they want to study abroad somewhere that speaks English, and my goal of these visits was to find a way to help promote schools in countries where English isn’t their primary language.
Is there always a site visit that goes along with starting a new partnership or program?
There usually is a visit very early on while creating the partnership with a University. However, with MAUI, once a summer they will nominate coordinators from U.S. schools to visit multiple European schools.
“I think overall the site visits were great. Not only did I start to understand more of the academic side from all of the universities I visited in Europe, but it was really informative from a coordinator standpoint. I learned more about transportation, which is one of the biggest questions students have because they want to know what happens when they try to get around if they go to a country that doesn’t have English as the primary language. For me, I ended up missing a train in Germany and I was just fine, so I’m confident in giving advice when it comes to that."
FOUR BENEFITS OF STUDYING ABROAD:
1.) More marketable to employers: A study done by IES Abroad found that 90% of students who studied abroad found employment within 6 months of graduation as compared to 49% of the general graduating population. The study also showed that students who study abroad obtain starting salaries that were on average $7,000 higher than non-study abroad students.
2.) Improve communication skills: Going abroad gives students the opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and customs. Immersion is the most effective way to learn a foreign language, and helps students connect with other cultures on a deeper level. As for employment opportunities, it's estimated that learning a foreign language could earn employees a 2% "language bonus" on their salary throughout their lifetime.
3.) See the world: Students visiting a country for their abroad program often have the chance to visit several other countries during their studies. Students can have more or less time to explore their surroundings depending on how long their program is. Shorter programs can have trips and excursions planned in advance, while longer programs or international internships give students more freedom to travel.
4.) Make lifelong friends: Participating in a study abroad program already places students in a group of people who share similar interests with them. Students participating in study abroad have told WVU Ed Abroad Coordinators they still speak with friends made abroad on a weekly basis. Going abroad also gives students the opportunity to make connections on an international level.