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The number of Tulane students studying abroad is increasing, though the Office of Study Abroad is cutting some popular programs for financial reasons, Director of Study Abroad Peter Alongia said.

The Tulane Office of Study Abroad anticipates a 7 to 10 percent rise in number of study abroad participants in the next few years because of the increased size of the student body.

Last year, 447 students studied in foreign countries. Overall, approximately 27 percent of Tulane undergraduates study abroad.  Junior year is the most common time for Tulane students to go abroad, with popular countries including Spain, France, Denmark,

Austria, England and Australia.

The number of A.B. School of Business undergraduates studying abroad has also increased. While between 180 and 200 business students currently go abroad each year, that number has increased by at least 20 percent during the last two years. 

To account for the growing student body, the Office of Study Abroad is planning several new programs, such as one in New Zealand, and has already added summer programs in Cadiz, Spain; Paris, France; and Cape Town, South Africa.

“We’re constantly looking for where the need is,” Alongia said.

Because of budget concerns, however, some programs have recently been or will soon be cut, such as those in Granada, Spain; Padua, Italy; South Africa and two programs in Costa Rica. The Office tries to add replacement programs that are less expensive when others shut down. For example, a new program in Bologna, Italy will replace the Padua program.

Some students said they are not satisfied by this effort.

“I think it’s a tad ridiculous that Tulane is pulling the program because it’s too ‘expensive’ even though [the program] cost a lot less than what we pay to Tulane,” said junior Lauren Shapiro, who is currently studying in Granda. “It seems as if Tulane is primarily focusing on being a business before an education.”

Other students said they are dissatisfied by the program changes because of the difficulty of applying to programs that are not Tulane approved. 

“Because Tulane makes it so difficult to study abroad in general, finding another Spain program would prove to be way too overwhelming for students,” said junior Stefanie Dorman, who is also studying in Granada. “It’s really sad because this program is completely amazing in every way.”

Some students have experienced problems with studying abroad because some foreign university courses do not satisfy Tulane requirements. Science and architecture students require the most planning to study abroad, as most of their major courses must be taken at Tulane. Alongia said that students should meet with their academic advisors freshman year to ensure they meet all course requirements to study abroad, including the required language courses.

“Students who speak the local language have a better personal experience,” Director of International Programs Janice Hughes said. “When too many [English-speaking] students go to the same foreign school, they tend to stick together and not meet local people.”

Studying abroad remains a positive experience for the majority of students.

“Students who have gone abroad say that they have grown as people and become more independent,” Hughes said.

Alongia also noted the benefits of study abroad programs. 

“Studying abroad is important in that it is another step in students’ educational and professional development,” said Alongia.

Students who have already returned from studying abroad tend to remember their experiences fondly.

 “I would suggest studying abroad to anyone,” said senior Lauren Eirman, who studied in Copenhagen for the spring 2011 semester. “And I would suggest choosing a language-immersion program.”

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