Study abroad program wins top 10 ranking

For the second time this year, Northwestern College has won national recognition for its study abroad programs.

Northwestern’s Romania Semester is listed among America’s top 10 study abroad programs by Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website. Located in Lupeni, Romania, the program is ranked seventh based on student evaluations of their experiences. In January, the college’s Oman Semester was cited by Best College Reviews as one of the 50 best study abroad programs offered by American colleges and universities.

Abroad101’s rankings are based on thousands of online student evaluations of 1,472 study abroad programs. The Top 10+ Study Abroad Programs rate the best of the best, with the results calculated from tallies of students’ overall, academic, cultural and administrative experiences with their study abroad programs.

Mark Shay, CEO of Abroad101, says it’s encouraging to see students appreciate non-traditional destinations and programs. In a story posted on The PIE News, a website for professionals in international education, he described Northwestern’s Romania Semester as “this unique little programme that goes into non-urban Romania and students get very immersed in the local community and seem to have a very powerful experience.”

Dr. William Hyndman, Northwestern’s director of global education, echoes Shay’s praise. “The Romania Semester has a strong experiential focus, so students aren’t just in the classroom,” he says. “They’re engaged with people in the community.”

The Romania Semester introduces college students to post-communist Eastern Europe and gives them an opportunity to impact the lives of Romanian youth. Classes focus on Romania’s language, history and religion, as well as to the empowering effect of community involvement, adventure education and sustainable development programs offered through the New Horizons Foundation. The semester includes backpacking trips, homestays and excursions to world-famous castles and monasteries.

Both the Romania Semester, begun in 2007, and the Oman Semester, established in 2011, are open to students from other colleges and universities in the U.S. Evaluations of the Romania Semester on Abroad101’s website include reviews by students from Northwestern, Calvin, Gordon and Houghton colleges.