Studying abroad is a great opportunity but at an impractical cost

Hailey Glasnovich

Augustana is known for providing hands-on experiences for students and is unique in the opportunities it provides, including study abroad, internships and research projects. While Augustana provides many study abroad opportunities, they are the most expensive programs, and what students gain is not worth the expense.

A major selling factor for students when choosing Augustana is Augie Choice, a $2,000 stipend given to students through Augustana’s Careers, Opportunities, Research, Exploration (CORE) for study abroad, internships or research projects. This seems appealing at first glance, but Augie Choice only covers so much of the cost of study abroad programs.

J-term programs, with options such as Paris, Ireland or Bonaire, last three weeks, and the overall cost can be between $3,000-5,000, not including airfare, a handful of meals and extra expenses. 

Semester programs, such as in Hong Kong, Spain or the United Kingdom, cost the same as Augustana tuition and housing costs with additional fees, and summer programs, in France, Ecuador or Germany, cost a minimum of $5,500. There are also passport grants available, but these only cover $1000 of the overall cost and are available only for a small number of students. 

Unfortunately, Augie Choice only covers a small portion of this cost.

Overseas plane tickets, which are not included in the program cost, cost at least $1,000. This price does not include the cost of students traveling to an airport with greater availability of international flights. Students could get a flight from Moline to their final destination, as there are limited international flights available, but that depends on availability and the flights may include layovers in larger airports like O’Hare. 

Because of this, studying abroad is not financially feasible for college students.

Studying abroad is a wonderful experience, but its benefits only apply to certain majors. A lot of programs advertise anybody being welcome, but the experience and knowledge students gain do not apply to all majors and careers. 

All language majors, such as French, Spanish, or English, can benefit from a study abroad program. Some biology or geology majors can also have targeted, impactful experiences through study abroad. However, many majors will not have an opportunity tailored to their specific interests or area of study. 

One way that Augustana could help lower the costs would be by providing more “study away” programs within the United States, or by allowing for Augie choice to be used for domestic programs. While they offer some, additional programs that do not leave the US would provide students with more financially practical options and similar opportunities. It would also give students experience with traveling and exploring different areas of the United States, such as places where they might want to live after college.

Augustana provides students with Augie Choice and plenty of opportunities for grants, outside scholarships, or other awards to help pay for study abroad programs, but these are unreliable sources for students to depend on when applying to programs.

Studying abroad provides students with unreplicable experiences, but the ability to apply it only to certain majors and cost limit these opportunities. Studying abroad is a great opportunity for students at Augustana, but it is impractical and unrealistic for many college students, even with Augie Choice.