Expat Book Reviews: Studying Abroad

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Expat Book Reviews: Studying Abroad

Compiled by Shelley Antscherl

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The Stress Free Guide to Studying in the States

Toni Summers Hargis | Summertime Publishing ($12.60, 298 pages)

Author and parent Toni Summers Hargis has written a clear and informative guide that helps break down the complex U.S. college admissions system into a series of detailed, but simplified steps. She quotes numerous facts and helpful resources that demystify the entire application process and beyond. The first few chapters provide information about studying in the U.S. and give an overview of various types of schools. Subsequent chapters describe the many steps involved in choosing and applying to colleges. This is followed by information about living on campus and helpful advice for adjusting to life in the U.S. The book concludes with tips for parents and numerous useful resources. This is a readable and informative book, and an invaluable guide for anyone considering study in the United States. Review by Alice Wu

A Student Guide to Study Abroad

Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, Allan E. Goodman and Sir Cyril Taylor | Institute of International Education ($13.74, 336 pages)

This comprehensive guide for Americans studying abroad was born out of a joint effort by the Institute of International Education and the American Institute For Foreign Study Foundation, a fact that’s reflected in its formal tone. While it’s not the go-to book for generating excitement about an upcoming foreign adventure, it serves a useful purpose: to ensure a student and his or her family have prepared for all aspects of studying abroad, from finances to culture shock. Although the book is fundamentally pro-study abroad, it takes the time to consider the important question of whether or not studying overseas is right for the reader in the first place. Through a combination of prose, quotes from students and educators, and a reader quiz, the book facilitates the reader in a thorough examination of his or her motivations. Review by Jennifer Richardson

The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition

Tina L. Quick | Summertime Publishing ($16.79, 300 pages)

This book highlights the core topics students and their parents face when repatriating to their home country to attend university. Quick’s book is written from her first-hand experience as a Third Culture Kid, and includes interviews with college students. She provides insightful advice on how to manage the process of adjusting to university life in one’s home country, and each chapter discusses a different aspect of the transitioning process. Quick uses real-life examples on what to expect and how to cope through each phase of repatriation. Topics in the book include: how to cope with homesickness and the grieving process, finding friends and fitting in, and managing long-distance relationships. In addition, each chapter contains useful tips and a resource section for additional reading. Review by Sherry Vacik

Safe Passage: How Mobility Affects People and What International Schools Should Do About It

Douglas W. Ota | Summertime Publishing ($29.99, 229 pages)

As a seasoned expat and experienced high school counselor at the American School of The Hague, Doug Ota knows firsthand the challenges of a mobile lifestyle. In Safe Passage, Ota explains why international schools should implement a transitions program and outlines the necessary steps to create and maintain it. He includes letters addressed to the different parties involved (students, teachers, administration, etc.) explaining why/ how their participation is crucial to the success of the program and how they can benefit from it. Ota emphasizes the importance in helping individuals navigate their transitions successfully. His conclusions come from diligent research and personal observation, which is what makes his book an invaluable tool for international schools. His insight and practical advice will benefit everyone, from students and parents to faculty, staff and administration. Review by Dounia Bertuccelli

Gap Year: How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs

Joseph O’Shea | Johns Hopkins University Press ($24.85, 200 pages)

In his book, Gap Year, Joseph O’Shea attempts to show how taking time out between school and college can benefit people and society. O’Shea uses his subjects’ personal feelings and experiences from their gap year with Project Trust, to build a well-structured response to the statement in the book’s title; including the social, personal and educational benefits. He then relates their experiences to research in the area of education and developmental psychology, linking them further in the second part of the book to include theories in education, the development of citizens, and going on to look at designing gap year programs. By using his own research and the limited literature on the subject, he has created a clear and concise book, proving the many benefits of a gap year. (Review by Claire McCarthy)

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