Better Abroad - An education abroad (r)evolution

by Gerry Botchoukova-Farkova /
Gerry Botchoukova-Farkova's picture
Jun 04, 2013 / 0 comments

Better Abroad - An education abroad (r)evolution
(Brought to you by Melibee Global and Amizade Global Service-learning)

Does the metrics game in international education, that for better or worse we have all learned how to play, have you fully exhausted? Is the pressure of having to continuously meet growing student quotas at the expense of developing high quality program design getting to you? Are the programs that your offices and organizations are administering placing students on the path of responsible global citizenship or just providing them with yet another Eurotrip opportunity? Most importantly, are you being the change that you want to see in the world of international education? If you have asked yourself any one of these questions at least once before then you are ready for Better Abroad.


Here at Melibee Global, we provide action-oriented solutions that place the focus on quality rather than quantity. That is why we have developed Better Abroad, a joint project with Amizade Global Service-Learning that aims to improve the way our field educates abroad. Ever since its launch a few weeks ago, this action oriented tool has had the international education community buzzing. But what exactly is it and by whom and how it is meant to be used? Let’s take a more in-depth look of what it means to be Better Abroad! 


Better Abroad is a free action-oriented resource that encourages thoughtful program design and reflection and that is user-friendly to both individuals and organizations facilitating programs abroad. The way Better Abroad works is by providing a “check in” system that helps you identify the areas in which your organization is excelling when it comes to providing high-quality study programs and the areas that might need a bit more attention. It offers an easy to follow 4-step process that begins by exploring “why we need better abroad?”. It asks you to consider 10 key questions in order to determine your organization’s needs. Once you have those sorted out the next order of business is to select relevant resources that will address the specific needs of your organization.

They are neatly divided into the following 8 categories:

1)     Why We Need Better Abroad
2)     Culture/Pre-departure/Re-entry
3)     Guides/Assessment Tools
4)     Experiential Education
5)     Examples of Better Abroad
6)     Examples of BAD Abroad
7)     Stereotyping/Viewpoints
8)     Global Citizenship/Human Dignity

The last and 4th step in the process of becoming Better Abroad is developing an action plan that includes at least three clearly-defined action steps that your office/organization can commit to implementing.

Some examples of such action steps are:

•    Form a Better Abroad committee at your organization
•    Share 3-5 resources in the areas where you see gaps in your organization
•    Update your orientation program to include one of the videos or resources
•    Seek funding for faculty development training
•    Send the link to Better Abroad to your organization’s President, CEO or Provost
•    Review 5 resources this week
•    Discuss Better Abroad with your organization’s Senior Leadership
•    Add Better Abroad to the Faculty Senate agenda
•    Review your organization’s marketing materials to assess whether you’re using
Bad Abroad phrases for marketing purposes



Better AbroadLastly, while undergoing the Better Abroad process, you can choose to display the Better Abroad engaged badge on your organization’s website so that the world knows that you are currently reviewing your education abroad programs, taking action to make them better, as well as allowing others to learn about this innovative, free resource and take advantage of it.

Better Abroad is a tool that is meant to create dialogue amongst education abroad stakeholders (that includes communities abroad) and to provide resources that encourage shifting the focus from quantity to quality of intercultural interaction.

We all can be Better Abroad. Let’s get to work!


BETTER ABROAD from Melibee Global on Vimeo.






Gerry Botchoukova-Farkova is an Innovation Associate at Melibee Global and our Bulgaria editor here at Wondering Educators. In addition she currently serves as an Honorary BG Cultural Ambassador for Foundation Identity for Bulgaria, where she also heads the foundation’s English blog. Gerry has lived and studied in Spain, Bulgaria and the United States, and holds a B.A. in International Studies Summa Cum Laude from Bentley University. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and writing her blog entitled ~WithLoveFromBG~