WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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education "promoting global citizenship for students" Thinking Globally, Acting Locally Oh, the Places You'll Go Like most businesses in infancy, Abroad101 had a humble start in the While London, Paris, and Rome are traditional destinations for scholars, Miller family's Weston basement. But the Abroad101 operation has Abroad101 has the inside scoop on emerging regions that provide unforgettable learning experiences. gone from strength to strength ever since. Six years after its founding, the company now has 10 full-time staffers, a spacious Boston office, "Western Europe has been, and always will be, the most popular destination," Stone confirms. "France, Italy, Great Britain, and Spain are consistently among the top countries. But it's been fascinating to see places like and an ongoing commitment to its mission of promoting global citi- South Africa, China, and India increase in popularity, because young peo- zenship for students via technology innovation. ple are interested in getting more value out of their experiences," he notes. "Some of the old standbys might not provide as much of a challenge as Underpinning its success is investor support. Two years ago, others." Herewith, a primer: Abroad101 turned heads at the MassChallenge, the world's largest n startup competition devoted to supporting new business in the state. "They promote entrepreneurship in Boston, and they really help TANZANIA: For studying global health. "What a powerful addition to a résumé," Stone observes. n CHINA, ISRAEL, AND JAPAN: "These nations provide wonderful technology and engineering opportunities," he says. build excitement for new ideas," says Lurie. Abroad 101 won $50,000 in funding, which Lurie says was useful. n CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA: For marine biology research and direct access to the Great Barrier Reef. n But for the team, it was about more than money. "Beyond the cash INDIA: For sustainability and microfinance. n LONDON: For international relations exposure in a more mainstream, award, the fact that we were able to work alongside other emerging traditional city. businesses really helped us succeed," he says of the exposure to other Sources competitors, access to mentors, and even free office space. "We fed n Abroad101 www.studyabroad101.com n MassChallenge www.masschallenge.org off each other's energy and enthusiasm for our ideas, which was hugely important, because starting a company can be an emotional roller coaster. Everyone, regardless of their business niche, is on the same ride." But at the end of the day, the vision that continues to drive the Abroad101 team is their own overseas excursions. "We found our Stone recalls the barriers that faced Abroad101 during its infancy. experiences to be transformative," Stone underscores. He studied in "Many universities were skittish about allowing feedback about their France and Australia during his education. "It made us stronger programs online," he says. "They were afraid that students would say readers, more communicative, and, perhaps most importantly, sen- negative things." But in the last five years, he estimates, there has been sitive to other cultures." transformation in how students evaluate their experiences. Lurie, who recently graduated from Harvard Business School, did stints in Europe and Israel in his undergraduate years. Miller studied sharing data online, coupled with recognition by administrators that if in Oxford, Paris, and Tuscany, where he had the privilege of immers- they don't embrace the internet, they may not be successful, has helped We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 3 "I think the combination of young people being comfortable with ing himself in Renaissance philosophy in the heart of Florence. drive our success," Stone says. "Since the challenges we faced in the beginning, there has been a dramatic shift in the way millennials shaky overseas currency, and social unrest, some parents may be [those between the ages of 12 and 28] conduct research on studying skittish about watching their young adults board a plane for distant abroad, and they expect more access and transparency to find the best lands. The Abroad101 team stresses the importance of embarking program for their needs." 156 But with mainstream news dominated by international strife, upon new paths.

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