Date of Defense



This paper describes a project I conceptualized and carried out while working as a Peer Advisor at the Western Michigan University (WMU) Office of Study Abroad and studying abroad in Berlin, Germany for the academic year 2000-2001. Virtual Study Abroad (VSA) is an on-going online project on WMU's Study Abroad Web site. The participating student, who is provided with a digital camera for the duration of the study abroad, takes snap-shots documenting his/her experience which are then posted regularly along with short descriptions on the Web. The originality and advantage ofVSA is that it documents fresh experiences from a student's unique perspective in an almost real-time format. A brief analysis of the situation of study abroad for students at American universities and the relatively low numbers of American students choosing to study abroad is discussed whereupon the benefits of and need for VSA as a marketing and educational tool are described. The paper goes on to outline the concept and implementation of the idea and, with an analysis of my pilot run, recommendations and ideas for further development of the project are discussed.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only