[Lydia M. Andrade, Scott Dittloff and Lopita Nath: Routledge, 2019. pp. 8 + 170. ¥4,460. ISBN: 9780815366965.]
A Guide to Faculty-Led Study Abroad: How to Create a Transformative Experience is a textbook that explains the step-by-step logistical matters for educators and administrators to consider in order to create, initiate, and complete a memorable and educational course-based study abroad program for English language learners.
One of the main strengths of the book is how it addresses some of the limitations students might have with participating in study abroad programs by employing research that combines the travel component of the course with the curriculum (Tarrant, 2010). As such, the authors’ philosophy for their program focuses on both academic courses and cultural preparation so students can better appreciate and understand their environment and experiences when they study overseas.
Another strength of the book is that it systematically introduces a theoretical understanding of how a course-based study abroad program might be implemented from start to finish. The first few chapters present reasons for studying abroad and the importance of planning. The middle chapters discuss academic curriculum, financial considerations, and responsibilities. And the latter chapters emphasize safety and cultural guidelines. As one example, chapter three, Planning the Trip, presents a yearlong timetable to help students and faculty methodically prepare. Although preparations may vary from country to country (educations.com, 2021), the depiction of such a timeline is nonetheless beneficial for readers to view, understand, and keep track of the many logistical issues that need to be addressed before and after studying abroad.
Additionally, A Guide to Faculty-Led Study Abroad incorporates several anecdotes to help emphasize important themes that are addressed in each chapter. For instance, to highlight the academic dynamic of studying abroad, chapter four, What to Teach, includes a short story of how a student thought the academic organization of a course-based trip helped her to prepare and value the experience of visiting another culture. Also, to stress the importance of health and safety, chapter six, Responsibility, shares a short story of how students and faculty members felt fortunate to have the appropriate medical insurance to visit a specialist because they contracted strep throat while traveling in Germany.
Despite its strengths, however, this book has several shortcomings that should be considered. First, it is inconvenient as a resource to quickly access specific information because the book’s table of contents does not list any topic subheadings present throughout each chapter. As a result, the reader must thumb through each page of a chapter to find information. Second, to help readers remember important issues, several chapters of the book end with a checklist of bullet points that are based on topic subheadings. However, these checklists are often inaccurate in that they do not always coincide with the actual number of topic subheadings discussed in a chapter. Moreover, the stylistic size and font for some of these topic subheadings, and how they are outlined in a checklist, vary among chapters. Third, to support the authors’ educational philosophy, the majority of the references cited in the book occur in the first chapter. Thereafter, however, only a few references occur in the remaining chapters. Although 68 references are listed at the end of the book in the Additional Resources section, they are not categorized in a way that coordinate or even relate to a particular chapter. Consequently, the reader is forced to peruse this section to identify references that might lead to more information. Finally, chapter five, The Budget, does not list any sources to support the figures shown in the tables that reveal travel expenses. Figures for expenditures are likely to fluctuate from year to year and from country to country. Therefore, instead of tables, it would be more useful to present a reliable resource, such as the Yale Study Abroad website, to help readers calculate up-to-date information about travel expenses (Yale Study Abroad, 2021).
It is clear the authors, with their international experiences and academic backgrounds, have a wealth of knowledge to share on the topic of creating a study abroad program. Unfortunately, the lack of clarity among the table of contents, topic subheadings, and checklists challenge the reader to refer to specific sections. Furthermore, the awkward arrangement with its references and resources makes it difficult for the reader to access and verify additional information about a topic. Therefore, though the content of this book may be somewhat informative about logistical matters, the organization and layout are not necessarily conducive for educators to use it as a major preparatory and teaching resource for developing a study abroad program for English language learners.
Educations.com. (2021, August 24). How to study abroad: The ultimate guide for international students. https://www.educations.com/articles-and-advice/how-to-study-abroad-14160...
Tarrant, M.A. (2010). A conceptual framework for exploring the role of study abroad: Fostering a global citizenry. Journal of Studies in International Education 8(2), 141–161.
Yale Study Abroad. (2021, August 24). Paying for study abroad: Budgeting. Yale center for international and professional experience. https://studyabroad.yale.edu/paying-study-abroad/budgeting