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Academic Programs International, API, is an educational organization dedicated to providing challenging and enriching study abroad programs for our students. The experience of living, interacting and learning in an international environment presents invaluable opportunities for each student's academic and personal development.
All of their academic and extracurricular offerings are selected with the goal of helping students to become more self-aware and culturally sensitive. API envisions each student evolving from a tourist, to a resident, to a global citizen; API is dedicated to supporting this lifelong process.
API strives to provide the best comprehensive study abroad experience possible with personal attention available to all students throughout his or her program. API works closely with home universities to offer support before, during and after students' education abroad experience.
I recently chatted with API's Vice President of Development, Jeramy Johnson, to learn more about API and the philosophy behind their study abroad programs. Jeramy is also in charge of API's social media and he is highly regarded within the industry for his ability to reach out and connect with students across multiple platforms. Be sure to follow Jeramy on Twitter @APIstudyabroad.
Megan: What position do you hold at API? What has been your career path so far?
Jeramy: I began work at API in university relations, marketing, and communications, and over the course of a decade I have worn many hats -- including that of transcript processor! Along the way, I have learned our programs inside and out. I am now the Vice President of Development at API. In this role, I manage the development of new study abroad programs and locations and coordinate the flow of information relating to existing programs. I am also responsible for the production of our marketing materials (print and online), as well as our large social media presence.
Megan: Did YOU study abroad?
Jeramy: I did not have the opportunity to study abroad in college, though I have traveled extensively and have visited nearly all of the API program locations. I was initially drawn to study abroad through personal relationships, fell in love with it, and have been working in the field for nearly 10 years. I plan on taking a brief sabbatical next spring to begin my own personal study abroad journey with API!
Megan: What separates API from other study abroad program providers?
Jeramy: Innovation. Academic excellence. Outstanding value. These are all points of distinction for API, but what truly sets our programs apart are the intangibles, such as the people who work for this organization and the interactions the students have with them. From the student's first contact with a program manager, to their amazing on-site staff, to their return home, they are provided with exceptional expertise and personal service - and these are the things that are most often cited in our many positive evaluations and enduring relationships.
Megan: A recent report suggested that up to 50% of incoming freshman stated that they intended to study abroad during college, but then only 3% actually did. What's going on here?
Jeramy: That's a good question, and I think many factors are at play here. I'm not surprised by a decline, but such a drastic drop is disconcerting. Perhaps it has to do with financial perceptions, or perhaps it may be that many majors/departments have not seen or communicated the value of a study abroad experience to their students. I know that all of the study abroad offices that we work with are diligently working to get the administration and faculty on their campuses to appreciate the value of study abroad (with many successes), but we all still need to dedicate ourselves to fostering greater accessibility.
Megan: Which country do you think is an underrated study abroad destination? Conversely, do you think there is a country which is overrated?
Jeramy: I don't know that I'd label any country as "overrated" - I believe any international educational experience can be valuable to a student. There are certainly many underrepresented countries and locations in the U.S. study abroad landscape, and API has been excited to pursue the development of programs in such areas. From "off the beaten path" locations in traditional countries (such as Cadiz in Spain or Taormina in Italy) to non-traditional locations such as Hungary, Poland, Qatar, or the UAE, it is a goal of API to continue to expand the reach and range of study abroad opportunities for our students.