OPINION | Why you should reconsider studying abroad

     In the modern day of globalization and connections, travel is trivial and long range communication is easy.  

     Accordingly, study abroad programs are becoming more and more common, and for the modern student, the opportunity to study in a university on another continent sounds like an enriching and unforgettable experience. These programs offer many worthwhile benefits; however, students should also consider factors like cost and convenience in other countries.      

     UCCS partners with a variety of universities abroad, offering travel to locations as grand as Italy, France and Germany, and even as far as South Africa, Thailand and India. Some of these places may be so remote that the average American might not ever see it in their life otherwise.  

     Beyond just being able to say you visited the country, studying abroad offers many enriching rewards. The chief among these benefits is being able to immerse in the culture, lifestyle and language of another country, and this is usually at the top of the list for students wanting to study abroad. 

     Especially for language and culture majors, nothing is more beneficial than being able to immerse oneself in the exact location the language and/or culture originated from.  

     Studying abroad can offer other benefits such as networking with international connections. If a student plans on doing business or culture studies in another country, visiting that country and studying in their schools is certainly an effective way of becoming familiar with their mannerisms as well.  

     Best of all, many of these studying destinations are among the most popular tourism destinations in the world. Studying in these places can seem like some sort of vacation in itself, so who could pass up the offer? 

     The experience seems a no-brainer until one begins to look at the costs. According to an article from GoAbroad.com, a website that helps students find abroad programs, the exact costs of a program will vary widely based on time, location and even field of study.  

     However, the website cites a figure from the International Institute of Education that states that the average semester abroad costs $18,000, and naturally, a full year costs $36,000. Some countries are, of course, much less and some are much more. According to an article from GoOverseas.com, destinations like Japan can cost up to an eye-watering $100,000 per year.  

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com. 

     These costs usually figure in tuition, lodging and even insurance, but other costs can pile onto the total. Plane tickets are necessary to study abroad, with most roundtrip airfare to far away cities easily costing between $500 and $1000.  

     Once you are there, you’ll also need to pay for transportation. Assuming you are not living with family in a foreign country, you’ll either need to rent a car or pay for shuttle service. If you choose to rent a car, you may be paying at least $400 a month, or up to $3,500 for a whole school year. You could also pay for taxi or Uber-like services.  

     Furthermore, unless your university abroad or third-party service factors it into tuition, you will need to purchase books and school materials. These costs vary widely, but school books can easily cost hundreds of dollars per semester.  

     By far one of the biggest costs of a university student after tuition and housing, however, is food. The costs of this can vary widely as well, and many universities and third-party providers will factor this into housing cost. Even eating meagerly, in places such as Italy, the average inexpensive restaurant costs $16.25 for a single meal, according to statistics from Numbeo.com.  

     To be completely fair, the United States is not a cheap place to live and study either. The average meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Colorado Springs costs $17.50, and the total cost of living is triple that of even Italy, one of the most expensive study abroad destinations.  

     The point of all these numbers is that while living and studying in the United States is expensive, studying abroad is just as expensive or even more so, and arguably more difficult.   

     In the United States, one does not have to spend years learning the local language and culture to apply for a summer job, assuming you grew up here. There are also many easy ways to save money here, such as living at home and carpooling. These liberties are more or less stripped when you study abroad. 

     All of this is not to say that studying abroad is not an opportunity you should consider. If you truly feel like you want to study abroad, UCCS offers a fairly cheap program that allows students to visit a myriad of countries around the world.  

     Immersing yourself in the culture of another country may really be just what you need to succeed, but you should consider the costs thoroughly before deciding.  

     If you’d like to learn more about studying abroad through UCCS, follow this link to the education abroad webpage.