Even as the study abroad program is committing to expanding students’ options to new destinations like Singapore, some programs are being shut down. A history course, The Industrial Revolution in London, is the latest to fall victim to low enrollment.
The programs’ demise could be attributed to a lack of awareness, but even if the programs’ profiles can be raised, the financial cost will still weigh heavily in making the decision to study overseas. The program recently refined its requirements for merit-based scholarships used in study abroad, but that will only serve to help the search for candidates in the future.
Scholarships and financial aid can definitely help soften the effect on students’ checkbooks, but some are losing interest in the program altogether. While it’s reasonable that students would want to prioritize their budgets in these trying economic times, it’s discouraging to think that this could foster a lingering decline even in the future when the financial climate will be a little less cloudy.
Students who skip studying abroad are missing out on a unique opportunity to experience hands-on learning outside the classroom in their field of study.
After a student is told that the program they are hoping to participate in has been cancelled, they are referred to other study abroad programs. Hopefully this gives them some time to consider another trip. Even if they decide to stay stateside for the summer, there are still plenty of opportunities to immerse oneself in a different culture.
Spring Break, for example, offers such an opportunity for students to explore new cultures even if they never leave U.S. soil.
Features editor Chance Welch for the editorial board.