Growing Challenges for the International Student Industry
It's always an exciting time for a company or industry to see rapid growth and a surge of interest in their product or service. But with this rapid growth come many new challenges, and an industry often finds itself scrambling to adapt to and address these issues even as things continue to move at lightning pace.
This is absolutely the current case in our industry. The business of international student and study abroad programs is growing by leaps and bounds, but with these jumps have come concerns about a student's ability to cope with their new life so far from home, questionable student housing arrangements, and little to non-existent student supervision. Failures in these areas can and do lead to disastrous results.
A recent L.A. Times article chronicled some of these failures and challenges. One host father in the article expressed concerns with the way some students are being sent abroad.
"...he's worried that many of them [parents sending their children abroad] don’t know enough about the situations their children are entering. The vast majority use brokers and agents to arrange their children’s education and housing.
'They don’t know if the school is good. They don’t know if the home stay is good. But everyone else is doing it so they do it too,' Zhou said. 'It’s reckless.' "
AmeriStudent Offers A Better Way
The situation that Mr. Zhou described is the exact opposite of the type of experience we at AmeriStudent are striving to provide for our clients. There are so many factors that go into making a student's international education experience successful, and we've found that it requires end-to-end communication with parents, host families, students, and their schools.
This is why we carefully select the schools and host families we make available to our clients. It is unthinkable to us for a parent to send their child into a situation with such large unknowns such as who the host family is and what kind of school their child will be attending. We offer detailed information about the educational experience and school. Via photos and videochat, we give parents the opportunity to see the home and family that will be receiving their child without ever stepping foot out of their own home in their native country. We require regular feedback from our host families as to the progress and disposition of their student. And we make ourselves available to personally deal with any challenges that may arise during the student's stay.
As other corners of the industry take dangerous shortcuts to capitalize on the demand for study abroad experiences, AmeriStudent is committed to doing everything we can to make our clients' experiences safe and successful.