Written By Sophie Okolo
Studying abroad may no longer be on the agenda for most American college students. According to a new national survey by the international money transfer company TransferWise, 55 percent of U.S. college students are most concerned with financial stability, while 87 percent of parents mentioned safety-related issues as their biggest worry- with the increase in travel costs and shocking news reports on tourism security, these reasons are not far-fetched.
Students are finding financial support increasingly hard to obtain. For example, a study by the UK HE International Unit and British Council stated that nearly 85 percent of students in the UK believe they will need to obtain funding for 75 percent of the total cost. These costs would be from external sources other than student loans. With that being said, the study by TransferWise stated 92 percent of college students expect to contribute financially to their abroad experience, whether from a student loan, savings or part-time job. Ultimately, we can see that the majority of students are concerned with the financial aspect of studying abroad.
Employability, personal growth, travel and adventure, and gaining broader world perspectives are among the reasons for students considering studying abroad. In contrast, personal factors such as fear of isolation and interruption to friendships are the most common barriers for students.
The survey by TranferWise also showed that nearly 90 percent of parents are concerned about the well being of their children while overseas. These concerns include terrorism, illness, accidents and crime- with terrorism as their greatest worry. Since reports on terrorism are always in the news, parents’ concern is not surprising. As parents become aware of all that goes into studying abroad, they can make better plans to ensure the safety and provision of their child.
One popular resource that’s putting parents’ worrying at ease is technology. U.S. General Manager of TransferWise Joe Cross states that, “For parents, technology allows them to both check-in on their child’s safety, and offer support from afar.”
As a result, university-wide enrollment has decreased over the last two years. Despite the drop in studying aboard, schools like Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. are still constantly enrolling students at the Office of Study Abroad.