Study abroad program thrives in poor economy

Kernel Editorial

The economy has been the cause of a lot of broken dreams, but for students desiring to study abroad, finances aren’t stopping them from taking off-campus learning to a new level.

This report comes as welcome news to a campus desiring to increase its study abroad program to match that of its benchmark institutions.

According to a Feb. 2 Kernel article, Interim Director of International Affairs David Bettez said the number of students who study abroad each year has increased by about 10 percent in the past four years when about 600 UK students went abroad in 2009.

“Those who are intent on going abroad find a way to do so,” Bettez said. “There are pockets of money around, you just have to look for it.”

For UK students, to value the experience of being in a foreign country is definitely positive. Even with grants, scholarships and other programs giving money, not every willing student can afford the up-to $25,000 per-semester cost, depending on the program.

Between $50,000 and $80,000 is given annually in scholarships for study abroad programs, but for UK to grow the program and offer assistance to willing, yet needy, students, financial aid must increase. To be a leading institution in study abroad, UK must have a comprehensive program that all students can access during tough or prosperous economic times.

For UK to ascend to that point, the visibility of the school’s study abroad must grow and having students as ambassadors is a step in the right direction.