While some students are staying close to home to save money, Trojans continue to traverse the globe, defying a national trend.
A recent survey conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad found that overseas study enrollment is down for the first time in decades. USC, however, does not seem to have followed suit.
Although exact numbers for USC’s study abroad program are not yet available, Overseas Studies Program Assistant Veronica Gomez, said, USC’s attendance numbers “don’t appear to match [the study] now.”
The study, conducted between August and September of this year, surveyed the study abroad percentages for 165 colleges, including public, private, international and US-based provider organizations. Sixty-six percent of all schools, and 58 percent of private universities, reported plunges in study abroad enrollment.
“This could be fairly typical — in a given year you might have certain institutions that have decreased enrollment — but it does seem the majority are reporting a downturn in enrollment,” said Brian Whalen, president of the Forum.
Gomez said she thinks USC may be going against the grain because of its study abroad financial aid policy — unlike at many other schools, students are able to use their financial aid abroad.
Study abroad costs differ from country to country, according to Gomez. Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are among the cheapest, while the UK is one of the most expensive.
Caitlin Chang, a junior majoring in history, said she had applied for spring study abroad in Greece, which would be cheaper than a semester at USC even with living expenses. Chang speculated that other students might be forgoing study abroad opportunities because of political and economic reasons.
“People have this perception that it’s a tough traveling climate — though now America’s more popular with other countries because of our president,” said Chang “[But] I think it’s mostly money … I guess it’s hard for people to imagine spending money in a foreign country when we need to stimulate our own economy.”
But some students are not letting costs stand in their way.
Michael Blong, a junior majoring in philosophy, said he will be spending the spring semester in Madrid, having decided that the experience was worth the expense.
“Studying abroad is an experience I’ve wanted to have since I was a kid, really,” said Blong. “For me the expenses were going to happen regardless.”