The cover of "Making the Most of Study Abroad: A Guide to a Top Notch Experience" shows white text over images of a pagoda, pyramids, a clock tower and a Venetian canal.

Like a lot of good ideas, Josh Pope and Melanie D’Amico’s was sparked by a conversation. The two Spanish linguists met at a conference a decade ago and stayed friends as their careers developed — with Pope now an associate professor of modern languages at Doane and D’Amico an associate professor of Spanish and linguistics at Indiana State University. 

Both of them benefited from studying abroad as they pursued degrees, and they promote the value of travel in the classes they teach. But they came to a realization a few years back, while speaking after a roundtable discussion they attended.

Josh Pope, wearing a green polo and jeans, sits between bronze statues of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote while traveling abroad in Madrid, Spain. Behind him is a brick building surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.
Josh Pope poses for a photo between statues of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote while traveling in Madrid, Spain. Image courtesy of Josh Pope.

“Melanie was the one that voiced, ‘why are we only writing for academics?’” Pope said. “Why aren’t we writing about study abroad for the people who are going abroad?” 

And thus, the idea to write a guidebook began — one accessible to undergraduate students, to students pursuing international fellowships, even to the general public intrigued by an adventure elsewhere in the world or entering an international career. 

The book, “Making the Most of Study Abroad: A Guide to a Top Notch Experience,” will be published in July 2024. It will be available in print and as an e-book from multiple book retailers, including Amazon and your favorite local bookstores via Bookshop

“We feel very proud of how practical our book is for a wide variety of students, for a wide variety of travelers,” Pope said. “It also supports Doane’s mission, in helping students become global leaders.”

Both professors have heard students say they wish they had done more during their trips. So, while there is some technical planning advice — the checklist of tasks, like getting a passport, required vaccinations and the correct adapters for electrical devices, D’Amico said she wants readers to get a sense for other actions they can take in order to make the most of their travel. 

Melanie D'Amico takes a self-portrait while traveling abroad in Spain. She has curling, red hair and large, cat-eye glasses, and wears a yellow top.
Melanie D'Amico takes a selfie while traveling in Spain. Image courtesy of Melanie D'Amico. 

For example, considering what support or guidance will they receive abroad, and are they going to a location where they’re just one more tourist or they’ll stick out from the crowd. There are sections on making friends and getting involved in the community. Travelers may just expect that these things will happen, D’Amico said, and unfortunately, that’s not always the case if they didn’t prepare in advance. 

“They don’t know what they don’t know,” Pope said. “Especially if it's a short-term program, it goes by so fast.”

“Making the Most of Study Abroad” also isn’t a textbook. D’Amico and Pope wrote it so readers feel like they’re part of a conversation with friends, pulling from discussions they’ve had with their own students and each other. It’s something you should enjoy reading, D’Amico said. 

Not every chapter will apply to every reader, either. Not studying a language? Feel free to skip that section. Like studying abroad itself, “you can ‘choose your own adventure’ to some extent,” she said.