Why You Shouldn’t Study Abroad for a Semester

I was speaking with the parent of a college student recently explaining the mission of Beyond the States, when she said, “Oh yes, my college student is going to do study abroad.” Study abroad programs, like many aspects of the US college experience, such as [overpriced textbooks and crazy housing costs, tend to be unnecessarily expensive when compared with direct enrollment in a European school.


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Why are study abroad programs from US colleges so expensive?

The extreme cost of these study abroad programs often stems from the fact that students generally must pay full tuition to their home school, even while they’re studying abroad. Additionally, US tuition is too high and continuing to increase. I guess someone has to pay to keep the lights on back atThe campus.

Let’s look at some examples:

$40,146 Georgetown’s Italian semester abroad program is at Villa Le Blaze. Villa Le Balze is Georgetown’s study center in Florence. Until 1979, the villa was the property of the Marquesa Rockefeller, granddaughter of Nelson D. She donated it to Georgetown with the stipulation that it be used as a place of learning. The villa provides students with a unique study abroad experience that includes classes on site, a comprehensive academic program, intensive Italian language classes, and ample time to travel throughout Italy. The amount a student has to pay for the Georgetown semester abroad program doesn’t even include the cost of books, transportation, and travel. This is nuts!

Compare: The average cost of all the Italian programs in the Beyond the States database is $7,066 per semester, which means you could get a 3-year degree in Italy for the cost of a semester in the Georgetown program, but I’m sure their villa is quite nice.

$38,608 (Out of State/$10,720 In State) According to the UW study abroad site, University of Wisconsin’s Engineering School offers a semester abroad at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany. HAUS is a large university that specializes in engineering, IT, renewable energy, and life sciences. UW Study Abroad notes 4th semester German is required.

Contrast: Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, like all German public universities of applied sciences charges zero tuition to international students. It even has an IT engineering degree program entirely taught in English.

$27,783 Dartmouth’s Foreign Study program in Greece is “…loosely based in Athens, consists for the most part of extensive field trips…to various parts of the ancient Greek world including Crete and the Aegean islands”, which is to say, student stay in hotels and ride from historic site to historic site in a bus. Enrollment is limited to 15 students for the quarter. The tuition for this study abroad program reflects only one “term” at Dartmouth.

Compare: The average tuition cost per semester of the English-taught programs in Greece is $4,492, which would leave a lot leftover for sightseeing.

Forget about study abroad. Go to college in Europe instead.

Instead of making study abroad the highlight of your college experience, why not make it the center? US students can enroll directly as international students in Europe. Going to college in Europe is less expensive, you can finish a year sooner and you’ll have great travel opportunities. At Beyond the States, we’ve researched these schools and programs for you.

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Benefits of Going to College in Europe

1. Finish Sooner

Most of the programs in Europe are designed to be finished in 3 years. The difference is that there are fewer general education requirements than in the US.

2. Gain Perspective

When you’re an international student at a European university, you’ll be in classes with students from many other countries, rather than being in classes with only Americans as in many US study abroad programs.

3. Study Abroad in the US at Low European Tuition

When you go to college in Europe, you have the option of studying abroad. That could back in the US or elsewhere. Some schools, like France’s Sciences Po, even require a study abroad year. As a study abroad student, you’d pay the lower European tuition.

4. Control Your Own Destiny

Most study abroad programs at US schools are governed by restrictions around grades, program sponsors and arrangements the schools have with their international partners. These may not be apparent to students when selecting their US college and they may also change during the student’s tenure. When you’re a direct student, you’re in the driver’s seat and there are no middle-men to satisfy.

5. You Have Plenty of Choices

At Beyond the States, we’ve built a database with over 11,200 English-taught programs in Europe, many more than the US schools have in their study abroad systems. Whether you’re still in high school contemplating your freshman year, an older person returning to college, or if you’re considering getting a master’s degree, here are nine reasons why you should consider studying college in Europe.

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