TAMPA— As college tuition increases nationwide, more students find financial and social benefits in education abroad.
“Studying abroad was cheaper than studying at the University of South Florida,” wrote Emanuel Moshouris in a February 10 email. Moshouris studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea for a semester. Including tuition, room and board, and all other expenses, Moushouris’ trip totaled approximately $900 a month.
“I had no financial backing other than my student loans. I was still at a net gain for the semester however,” said Moshouris.
The average tuition of public universities increased 8.3 percent from the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school year, according to The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. Locally, the University of South Florida’s tuition increased 15 percent in the respective years.
Moshouris is not the only one to find the financial benefits in education abroad. USF student, Andrea Farinas, has studied abroad twice and plans for third trip in the near future.
“I can tell you that between the comparatively low program costs and scholarships, I have never once had to take out a loan to study abroad,” said Farinas.
Based on the last available data, USF’s Education Abroad Office offered over $34,550 in study abroad scholarships in the 2009-2010 year. In addition, scholarships from outside sources equaled approximately $185,000.
With the financial burden eliminated, education abroad offers social and academic benefits students do not receive in a local setting.
“My trip to Florence, Italy was truly the best experience of my life. I found out so much about myself through this trip. It broadened my horizons and opened the door to a brand new exciting culture,” said Danielle Stevens. Stevens serves as one of USF’s GloBull Ambassadors, talking to other students about her experiences in education abroad.
“The university knows what a value it is for the students to have that experience. But I think also bringing students back and having them on campus, those that have been exposed to cultures, it expands your mind and it makes the university a much more interesting place,” says Amanda Maurer, USF’s Director of Education Abroad.
Currently, “about 1 percent of all students enrolled at institutions of high education in the U.S.” are participating in study abroad, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Analysts expect the continual rise in education abroad, classifying it as a “social investment.”