Study abroad before it’s lost to budget cuts

Study abroad program expansion is slowly dying down as a result of the economic downfall in the United States. Schools of all types are facing budget cuts, but in regards to university curriculums, study abroad programs should be one of the last to be affected.

Study abroad programs are tools that universities around the world use to appeal to potential students. There is something about studying abroad that allows students an unforgettable, beneficial and unique experience as a part of their college years. However, as an undergraduate student passionate about the idea of studying abroad in innumerable countries, it is hard to imagine those dreams being limited.

Universities are opening fewer campuses around the globe, according to a survey by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, a private research group. They also found that since 2004, 14 high-profile international branches have closed.

As universities begin to cut down on these branches, the survey also found that colleges are more willing to a partner with a local higher-education institution. Whatever measures need to be taken to encourage universities to keep branching out their programs should be taken.

Students should take advantage and show an interest in study abroad programs to keep institutions encouraged in continuing program expansion. Studying abroad allows students to experience a whole new world outside of their own while earning credit hours.

While the UA has yet to show any decrease in study abroad branches, students should still see the importance in this academic opportunity and become engaged with study abroad fairs or seek to study abroad themselves.

The UA offers an abundant amount of various grants and scholarships to any student wishing to study abroad. The tools are all here, we just have to utilize them before the decrease in opportunities hits Tucson.

The UA has seen budget changes causing program cuts, salary decreases and a hiring freeze, but study abroad programs should not be one of the various cuts. If so, it will be the students who will have to pay the price of limited study abroad options.

Universities nationwide need to continue expanding their abroad programs by any means possible in order to give students the experience, in its entirety that they deserve.

— Ashley T. Powell is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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