Thursday, March 20, 2008

More on Study Abroad

Going through the Hatchet, I noticed yet another article criticizing GW's study abroad policy:
The University's policy that charges students the same tuition while they are enrolled abroad as when they are on campus has received some well-warranted attention. Furthermore, students have consistently reported trouble with the study abroad process. At a University that takes so much pride in its students abroad and places emphasis on international perspective, it seems counter-intuitive that more is not being done to make international study more affordable and simpler. This page believes that the University needs to reconsider its tuition policy and rethink the process involved.
Yes, it is true that GW's home tuition is more expensive than most study abroad programs. I remember being outraged at first, but looking back, I really can't complain.

First of all, going abroad isn't about saving money. If my goal was to save money, I would spend my summers taking classes at a community college and try to graduate early. Going abroad was about the experience Since I knew that I would be the same amount to study abroad as to stay at GW, I figured that I may as well study abroad. I was able to chose a program based on my academic needs, not on my thriftiness (I'm a European studies concentration, but I probably would have ended up in Latin America, not Europe, if i were seriously looking at program costs.)

Paying GW tuition made the process simpler. Credits were easy to transfer because I chose a relevant program. I didn't have to apply for new scholarships because my merit scholarship was still the same. I loved having the study abroad office at my disposal to answer the ridiculous amount of questions and issues that inevitably came up. I'm sure that I wasn't the only neurotic student hounding the study abroad office, and all I can say about them is that I'm grateful for their help.

Working with the study abroad office isn't difficult; it just requires paying attention to deadlines and taking the time to stay on top of the process.

In the end, GW didn't profit from me. I ended up in Copenhagen, which was one of the more expensive programs. I successfully fought GW not to charge me a meal plan because it didn't make sense in the context, and I even got a trip to Russia paid for by GW.

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