Peter Caty/The Mirror

Peter Caty/The Mirror

It’s a typical week in Florence and Katie Clavin ‘11 has spent 60 euro ($88) on her food, 300 euro ($444) on a trip to Capri, and 30 euro ($44) per night at the local bars.

With the euro rising to 1.47 in comparison to the U.S. dollar, it seems study abroad has reached new economic heights.  “The money situation is ridiculous, you spend so much more,” said Clavin.

Tuition and Airfare
Every semester over 100 Fairfield juniors leave campus to study in a foreign country. The University’s study abroad program is advertised as a student’s “passport to the world.” It gives students the opportunity to study in places such as France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Nicaragua and Australia. However, with this passport comes a price.

In order to have a successful study abroad experience, students are obligated to plan ahead academically and economically. “It’s so expensive, I am spending thousands of dollars on top of tuition,” said Clavin, who is currently studying in Florence.

Semester programs administered by or affiliated with Fairfield are often within the same price range. The more popular places to study like Australia, Ireland and Florence cost about the same price of regular tuition, $18,000.

If students are looking for a reduced tuition price their options are much more limited. Nicaragua, for example, is “substantially less than many study abroad programs,” according to the study abroad Web site.

Junior Jen Haskell, who is planning to study at a Kenyan base camp in Kilimanjaro for three months, will pay a reduced tuition in return for her volunteer work.

“We are going into the Maasai community to interact with the tribes,” said Haskell. “We will use our data and research to improve the lifestyle of the Maasai community, who are troubled with resource shortages.”

While many of the programs cost the same as a semester’s tuition at Fairfield, not all amenities are included in the study abroad program’s comprehensive cost packages.  Although the school often plans group flights or airport pickups, students are required to pay for the airfare separately. Depending on your study abroad location, tickets can cost anywhere between $400 and  $1,000.

Despite the issues with tuition and airfare, the biggest issue students run into while studying abroad seems to be how much money they spend on food.

Food Expenses
Out of the six different study abroad program locations, Nicaragua is the only place to offer students housing in which provides two meals per day. The remaining five locations often only offer students an apartment style living situation.

“If you live with a family they’re required to cook usually two meals a day. However, it costs $3,000 extra to choose that living situation,” said Sam DeSantis, a junior planning to study in Spain. “So the cheapest thing is to live in an apartment with your own kitchen, but you have to buy your own food.”

Students are therefore expected to either eat out or buy their own groceries. Although it might sound more economically friendly to buy groceries and cook in your own kitchen, the students in Florence are having trouble with the exchange rates. With one American dollar only equaling .67 euros, students are losing a lot of money.

Travel and Night Life
The University describes the programs as an opportunity for “quality education, exposure to new cultures, and excellent student support services.” The exposure to another country’s culture is without a doubt one of the number one draws to the program. During the current semester, Clavin has already visited Ireland, London and multiple cities across Italy, but each trip came at a cost.

“Each trip I go on is at least 300 euro,” said Clavin, which is roughly $440. She recently chose to stay home while her friends headed for Paris in an effort to save some money. The problem is not only the cost of the trip itself; you still have to eat and preferably spend a couple of nights on the town.

With the price of the euro so high in comparison to the U.S. dollar, it is no surprise that a night at the bar will cost you.

“Drinks are expensive at the clubs, like 7 euro each.  I probably spend around 30 euro a night,” said Clavin.

Who Can Study Abroad?
The opportunity to study abroad is open to all students that meet University requirements. Students can spend a semester, a year, a month, or just 10 days abroad. They will earn the academic credit and gain the kind of knowledge only an on-site experience can provide.

The University has a certain amount of requirements to participate in the study abroad program. Students must have a GPA of at least 2.8, as well as be in a good social standing with Fairfield.
With 40 percent of Fairfield students studying abroad during their junior year, it is a popular and worthy experience, just one which is very expensive, especially in light of the current global economy.

Katie Gallagher contributed to this story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.