Students who aspire to study abroad are often skepti- cal about what to expect in a foreign country. But there are even bigger challenges that students face before they travel, especially the steep prices and fitting an overseas education into an overall graduation schedule, as well as getting the necessary paperwork from Pacific’s study abroad program done.These were all challenges that junior Catie Cooper faced before she studied in Limerick, Ireland last semester.
“The study abroad program isn’t Pacific’s best pro- gram,” commented Cooper. She elaborated, saying she wasn’t given a clear idea of what types of media classes would be offered, which resulted in Cooper dropping her Integrated Media minor after she returned to Pacific this semester.
“The study abroad program could do a better job of integrating itself more into campus, like other on campus groups like The Center for Gender Equity, for example,” sug- gested Cooper.Cost, of course, was another issue. Cooper paid around $700 for her plane ticket flying out of Philadelphia, which was around $400 cheaper than a friend who flew to Ireland from Portland.
The deposit on an apartment and for processing her transcript to the school she was going to cost $25, and another $400 was needed to purchase a student visa, which is neces- sary for temporary residence in a foreign country. Cooper
brought around $8,000 for spending money.
“Know your money situation going in, know your over-
all graduation plan before going in and ask your professors or advisors when classes you need for your major are going to be offered,” Cooper advised.
Students who plan to study abroad for a whole semester aren’t the only ones facing these issues. Senior Rupa Patel embarked with a whole class to Trinidad and Tobago this past winter term, where she looked at Hinduism in those areas, and how it differed from her personal experiences.
The total cost of the trip was around $1,867, but Patel was one of a few who were offered the Pacific Student Senate Scholarship, for summer and winter course travel, which cut $1,000 off of the total.
“If I didn’t get the scholarship, I wouldn’t have trav- eled,” said Patel, who was grateful that her parents had also helped pay for the trip.
“The study abroad program here at Pacific doesn’t advertise well, especially regarding things that are due,” she continued. When asked what advice she had for students thinking about traveling, Patel added, “be aware of where you’re going, know what’s happening in the country and know what you can and can’t have.”
While it is clear that there are great challenges that students face when wanting to study abroad, it should not prevent aspiring individuals to put off the thought of expe- riencing education in another country.