About the Author: Ryan Palsrok serves as an Overseas Citizens Services Officer.
Every year more than 200,000 students from American universities travel abroad to pursue international experience in an academic setting. This constitutes a nearly 150 percent increase in the past 10 years, despite post-9/11 apprehensions. Many young people also go abroad on their own dime and outside structured University programs to volunteer, work, intern, and simply to take vacation. According to U.S. Department of State figures, more than 100,000 students spend their Spring Break in resorts across Mexico annually.
The increase of students traveling abroad can be attributed to many factors, but regardless of the "why" or "how" students go abroad, the number one concern among university officials, parents, and even students, is safety.
Responding to this concern, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has launched a new “Students Abroad” public affairs campaign targeting American youth who plan to travel internationally. The campaign centers around a new State Department website,"Students Abroad." The central goal of the campaign is to educate students about everything they should know before they go abroad.
The look and tone of the website is what distinguishes this new campaign from information already provided by the State Department. The Bureau of Consular Affairs aimed to build a website that would use a more informal language and be attractive to young people.
Check out the site. Did the State Department accomplish this? Will the site be useful to students, their parents, and study abroad programs? What else could the State Department do to spread the message?