The Future Hijinks of Inside Study Abroad

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Quick Note: I'm absolutely overwhelmed with all the virtual and real love you guys have shown me since my big announcement on Tuesday. Seriously. You all rock and make this little experiment of mine seem a little less crazy and a lot more achievable. So thank you, thank you for all the support! I couldn't do this without you. For realz.

So now that I'm charging out on my own and starting my own company, I'm making plans and making moves to grow this little slice of the internet into something that's helpful, informative, collaborative, and dare I say, fun for education abroad professionals. Of course, there's going to be a few posts aimed at students (I'll always be an advisor at heart), but the majority of this site is aimed at the pros who have made study abroad administration their career. (Shhhhh…don't tell anyone about the fun part.)

Since I wrote the first post back in February 2009, InsideSA has been a mishmash of random posts that I would write one night and throw up on the web the next day. And some of the most popular posts to date have been relatively off the cuff - getting a job without a master's, top grad programs, and the ever ridiculous "what my friends think I do" meme. Moving forward, this blog will have a lot more structure and focus on a few key topics (with some randomness thrown in for good measure).

  • Going Pro: Getting a Job and Building a Career in Study Abroad - If I've learned anything over the years it's that when your audience repeatedly tells you what they want, give it to them. From the countless emails, tweets, private messages, texts, and carrier pigeons I receive every week from people who stumbled upon my blog and want/need/beg for advice on getting a job and building a career in this field, I know that this is a topic that is near and dear to a lot of people's hearts. And I plan to deliver. I'll be keeping the job board up as well and featuring those positions across the social media-sphere.
  • Study Abroad Hacker: Advice for Students - Hold on. Before you roll your eyes and think "Great, another site with generic advice on picking a program," let me explain. This advice is going to be a bit different than the boiler plate advice we've all seen. The internet has plenty of articles out there with the "roses and sunshine" articles about study abroad. This advice is going to get at the underbelly of hacking the study abroad experience. This advice may also rub some people in our field the wrong way. Good. I think we all need our feathers ruffled every once in awhile - it helps us start a dialogue and *hopefully* evolve into better professionals who build better programs.
  • Buzzzzz: Hot Topics in Education Abroad - These articles are aimed at education abroad professionals and will focus on the news and issues of the day. One week I might breakdown the anatomy of program fees, another week I might write about mergers and acquisitions and what it means for the field, the next week might be a who's who, mover and shaker post. The goal of these posts is to ignite discussion and get us all thinking hard about the status quo and considering a new normal. 
  • Study Abroad Admin 101 - These articles will cover the basics of study abroad administration, but I want to go beyond "how to" guides (there are plenty of those!). Each 101 article will feature examples of people and offices who are doing it and doing it well. Why recreate something at your institution when the university down the street or around the world is doing it better? It's time to get back to basics and showcase some innovation in program design, delivery, and administration. And if you're anything like me, you don't want to wait for a conference to happen in order to learn what great things others are doing.
  • In the Trenches - With these posts, I'm pulling back the curtain on the amazing people, offices, universities, and program providers who are grinding it out every day to make study abroad available. More video interviews with big players, day-in-the-life breakdowns of those in the trenches, and even some on-the-ground office crashing videos/pics. After all, this blog is called Inside Study Abroad. Get ready to go way backstage and see what all the fuss is about. 
  • Fun Stuff - I said I'd bring the fun and I don't plan to let you down. So prepare for some cheeky posts with study abroad randomness. And it all starts Monday. Stay tuned.

Boom! And that's just the blog topics I'm planning to cover. It gets better. I have a few big projects I'm scheming that will happen "off the blog" including a digital magazine, online community, and professional coaching. More details to come as I get these things off the ground and things start poppin'!

Of course, I'm only one person and my thoughts/ideas/opinions on just about everything may not be shared by the masses. That's okay. I like it when people disagree. So I'm excited, eager, desperate for other study abroad pros to guest post on any and every topic above. And as much as I like to call myself a one-woman-study-abroad-show, it would be nice to have some help. So next week I'll be putting out a call for some rock star interns.

As with any idea or new venture, this blog and slice of the internet is still evolving. What it is today could be completely different in 3 months, 9 months, a year, etc. It's exciting and I can't tell you how grateful I am to have you all along for the ride. This blog isn't just my soap box for rants (though that will happen occasionally) - it's a place for all of us to learn, debate, and get better.

So… to get this dialogue going, please, oh please, leave a comment with your thoughts on the evolution of Inside Study Abroad. Anything sound terrible and you want to beg me NOT to cover? Anything that sounds awesome and will keep you coming back for more? Anything I'm missing that you wish I'd include? Let me know!