Wed June 13, 2012
Euro debt crisis affecting college study abroad
The ongoing European debt crisis is complicating study abroad programs for students in Wisconsin. However, the turmoil may not stop students from going.
Students studying abroad to perfect a foreign language or immerse themselves in a different culture aren't making their decisions based on Spain’s recent bailout or Greece’s unemployment rate.
St. Norbert College Study Abroad Director Rosemary Sands says business or economics students may be more interested, but she hasn’t heard of anyone choosing their country based on the debt crisis.
Sands says once students live abroad, they can’t avoid being impacted. For example, she says an international business student had to pick up an extra class in Toledo, Spain this spring after an internship was called off: “The connections that the program in Toledo had in the business community all fell through because of the economic crisis. None of the businesses they had worked with in the past were willing to take on an intern due to the crisis.”
UW-Platteville International Programs Director Donna Anderson says it's too early to tell how the debt crisis is affecting students’ decisions. She says the weaker Euro can change a student’s trip, since they can stretch the U.S. dollar further: “Maybe not so much whether they would go on a program to Spain, for example, but how much they might do independent travel before or after a program, that’s where you’re going to see them take advantage of a stronger dollar.”
Most colleges and universities won’t cancel a program based on a country’s economic situation, but will if the State Department issues warnings.