October 20, 2015
By Gabbi Fusco
Students find themselves debating a variety of things when considering studying abroad. Most of their concerns include: choosing a location, figuring out the duration of their trip, the way in which credits transfer over, the types of activities they will engage in and most importantly how much it is going to cost them.
Victoria Lamick, director of financial aid, said, “Each student’s situation is unique. We want students to know they can always come to the financial aid office and figure out their eligibility for loans and other forms of aid.”
Dominican offers three types of study abroad programs: long-term, short-term and service trips.
Long-term trips are usually a semester long but there are yearlong programs available. Destinations include: England, Italy, France, Spain, South Africa, Ireland and Austria. When participating in a long-term trip, students live and study at a university in the countries available. All credits earned at the foreign university transfer to Dominican upon return; however, there is a limited amount of credits you can take abroad.
Sue Ponremy, director of international studies, said, “It is important for students to sit down with their advisors and make a plan. They need to be able to account for their time away and how it will impact the rest of their time here.”
As far as the financial aspect of long-term trips, the cost varies from program to program. These differences account for things like airfare and meal plans. Most of the estimated prices have been worked out for each individual trip in the cost and financial aid section of the study abroad website.
For the most part, they trips are comparable in price to regular tuition. Students enrolled in semester programs receive all of their scheduled financial aid for the term as long as they are enrolled full-time and there is always the ability to take out additional parent PLUS loans if needed. In addition to basic costs, students should keep in mind that they may want to travel while in a different country. This will require additional funds but it may be worthwhile.
Students who face obstacles involving time commitment are encouraged to look into short-term programs. These can range from ten days to 4 weeks and also count for credit. Students often prepare before they depart by doing readings and research relating to their destination.
The final type of program is the service trip. On these trips travel is strictly limited to the area surrounding the given location. Students spend majority of their time assisting others. These trips give students the opportunity to give back and really impact people around the world.
A drawback of short-term and service trips is that costs are added on to current Dominican tuition.
“There are some limited financial aid opportunities,” said Lamrick. “Since many students will have exhausted their financial aid awards during the fall and spring terms, they may need to seek a private or parent PLUS loan to assist with those costs.”
Now that all the information has been put on the table the final question: Is study abroad really worth it?
Senior Sara Stepanovich said, “Yes. My trip to Limerick, Ireland exceeded my expectations.”
While abroad, she took three classes and also traveled to twelve different countries including: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and France.
“The cost was equivalent to what I would pay for a semester at Dominican. Currently, I live off campus and it costs more for me to live off campus and commute to Dominican than it did for me to study in Ireland. I would definitely recommend it.”