Study-abroad programs to tailor strategies

By Gillian Davis
March 19, 2009

Although study abroad officials across the country have recently shown concern that students will no longer show interest in studying abroad, at Cabrini, students are still signing up for the opportunity to go over seas.

Currently, colleges throughout the U.S. are adjusting their study abroad programs to immediate and long-term strategies for students who wish to study abroad.

This is due to the expense and the current situation of the financial crisis the country is experiencing. Colleges are also budgeting more conservatively, seeking cheaper schools for students and looking for collaborations with other colleges.

On the other hand, Cabrini does not seem to be following the national trend.

“Fortunately, we are very well-positioned financially in the arena of study abroad. Several years ago, anticipating any financial downturn in the economy, and strategically planning to support a strong study abroad program at Cabrini, the college developed a long-term plan for a sustainable study abroad program,” Dr. Nicholas Uliano, associate professor of Spanish and coordinator for study abroad at Cabrini, said.

“That plan remains in effect today; Cabrini students will not have to deal with any changes in Cabrini policy regarding study abroad finances.”

Even though Uliano said that the Cabrini study-abroad program is not affected by the economy, financial aid will be difficult to attain for the reason that colleges are focusing on supplying aid to their students and not to students who are going abroad to other schools.

“I plan on studying abroad this upcoming fall semester,” Robert Cunningham, junior exercise science and health promotion major, said. “Currently I am not in the position where I cannot find the money to study abroad but I do sympathize for those who cannot afford it. It is a great experience that every student should take advantage of.”

Students around the country are exploring universities abroad that are cheaper to travel to and are less expensive to study at.

“Students should know that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ financial structure for study abroad. A student may choose to study abroad in a Cabrini College abroad short-term course, such as those being offered in France and Costa Rica this semester, for approximately $2,500,” Uliano said.

“On the other hand, a student who wishes to experience the “Semester at Sea” program will have to budget over $20,000 for the semester. In between those two extremes are programs at literally every price point.”

Even though there are scholarships and financial aid available for students to apply towards their foreign colleges tuition, students still feel that is not enough.

Colleges have also noticed the decline of students applying for colleges abroad and have opted to remove their short-term programs over the long-term to save on money.

“We are very fortunate at Cabrini to have many dedicated faculty who have been willing and anxious to develop new short-term study abroad programs for their students,” Uliano said. “A number of students enroll in the short-term courses not only because they are interested in the course content and the travel destination, but also because it affords them an opportunity to learn if they would like to return to the country for a longer international experience lasting a summer or a semester.”

Some students at Cabrini still find it difficult to put aside money for studying abroad.

“A reasonable resolution would be to offer a week or even a weekend trip to visit an area that pertains directly to the class,” Corey Schulz, sophomore exercise science and health promotion major, said. “This would allow for affordability and more chances for students to see something for themselves.”

Studying abroad may be drastically hurt by the economy but that does not damper the spirits of some students.

“I would like to study abroad but funds are coming harder to spare, even if it’s towards the bettering of my education,” Schulz said.

Gillian Davis

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