Whether it’s spending a summer trekking across Europe or spending a semester in Asia, students are utilizing more resources than in previous years to travel abroad on a budget.
According to ETSU’s study abroad office, there has been a 30 percent increase of students going abroad between 2013 and 2015, and it is only expected to increase in the coming years.
And it is often more affordable than most students may initially believe.
“We have scholarships that come out of our office, but then there are also nationwide scholarships,” said Patricia Lin-Steadman, ETSU study abroad coordinator. “When you study abroad, you pay in state tuition. The second thing is usually financial aid for a semester, it usually transfers so you still get that financial aid if you go abroad.”
There are three ways to study abroad: ISEP exchange, bilateral exchange and direct enrollment.
“One is the ISEP exchange, the students actually pay tuition, room and board to ETSU so it’s the same price,” said Lin-Steadman. “The other way is bilateral exchange, where we have some connections with certain universities and that option you pay tuition to ETSU but the room and board to the host university.”
The third option involves a direct enrollment at a host university, in which a student pays room, board and tuition to the host university.
There is also another program called TNCIS, in which the student travels abroad with a group and a professor from Tennessee.
However, the most popular program is the faculty-led study abroad in the summer. This summer, there are trips to China, Ecuador, France, Italy, Japan and Nicaragua.
Several majors, such as international affairs, allow students to participate in these opportunities and receive credit in replacement of courses offered at ETSU.
“I’ve been taking students to Poland and the Czech Republic every other year, so we go and I try to make it attractive for not only political science students but also history and students who are interested in culture from Europe,” said Michelle Crumley, political science professor and coordinator of International Affaris.“We go to Warsaw, the capital city, Krakow, Prague and then we have a few day trips we also take we’ve been to Auschwitz and Schindler’s factory.”
Crumley said Prague is one of the top cities she has visited in Europe.
“When we have free time, I sometimes go off with the students to show them some neighborhoods that are up in the castle district but most tourists don’t see,” she said.
While traveling abroad, students are able to meet people all over the world and build international relations.
“We usually have a meeting with the Czech senator, one year I was able to get a former ambassador to the UN from the Czech Republic, he was also the Czech ambassador to the U.S. at one time,” Crumley said.
Often times, students experience an event or a moment that will leave a huge impression on them.
“The whole experience of study abroad is far more than you can plan on because your strolling, you’re seeing new things, you’re experiencing new things, quite often in the larger cities there’s a lot of music,” she said.
Crumley said students may seek additional benefits career wise in the future after an abroad experience.
“There is something different, you’ve learned something and you’re more resourceful,” she said.