Studying Abroad…The Pros and Cons

In the past two decades, studying abroad has gained popularity, according to an article published by Columbia University.  To what has caused this shift, there is really no answer.  However, studying abroad has seemed to become ‘the thing to do’ while in college.  With the increase in studying abroad, the question is raised whether or not it is actually beneficial and if the money spent on these programs is being put to good use.

Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, has a well-developed study abroad program, says Chris Pujol, an employee of the Duquesne Study Abroad Office.  He states that the university offers two major study abroad locations to its students.  Rome, Italy and Dublin, Ireland.  Pujol, now a junior, studied in Rome during the fall of his sophomore year in 2013.

Money is a big factor in studying abroad, as well as in attending college.  According to the Institute of International Education, the average cost of studying abroad for one semester during the 2012-2013 academic school year was around $17,785.  Being that most college tuition is on average between $15,000 – $50,000 per academic year, the cost of studying abroad is not outrageous.

According to Pujol, to study abroad, students are only required to pay the normal flat rate tuition for one semester.  At Duquesne University, this is around $17,000.  In addition to this, Pujol suggests that students provide themselves with some spending money to cover the extra costs of food, souvenirs, and other similar purchases that can, and most likely will, be made during the semester abroad.

Tara Atkins, a junior at Duquesne University and co-worker of Pujol’s, states that studying abroad was the best experience of her life.  She also went to Rome during the fall of 2013 and says that she learned more through her adventures in Italy than she ever would have staying in Pittsburgh.  “The memories I brought back with me from that trip are ones I will cherish forever,” Atkins says.

Natalia Skeba, a sophomore at Duquesne, went abroad to Rome during the fall of 2014.  She was drawn to Duquesne’s study abroad program, saying “I liked how all of the students going abroad were actually from Duquesne.”  At other schools, any individual interested in going abroad can partake in a university’s programs whether they are enrolled there or not.

Pujol and Aktins, who went abroad together, say they would recommend studying abroad to everyone.

But what if you stay home?  Studying abroad is an option not a requirement.  With that, how many experiences, if any, are missed by not leaving the United States?

Gabriella DiGiacobbe, a sophomore at Duquesne University, does not believe she missed out on memories and experiences by not going abroad.  DiGiacobbe was signed up to go to Rome during the fall of 2014.  She decided the summer of 2014 that leaving the United States was not for her.  She does not regret the decision at all and is happy with the experiences she has made “right here in Pittsburgh.”

Like DiGiacobbe, Joshua Lamonde, is also a sophomore at Duquesne and chose not study abroad.  He agrees with DiGiacobbe and believes that he has gained more “real world” experience, in the form of job opportunities and internships, than the students that have left Pittsburgh and gone abroad.

Click on the video link below for more interviews and information on “Studying Abroad:The Pros and Cons.”


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