Mirroring national trends, Georgetown has seen a 10 percent increase in those studying abroad over the past five years, and an even greater increase in those studying abroad during the summer, according to Laurie Monarch, director of overseas studies.
According to a study by the Institute of International Education released Nov. 15, students nationwide are now choosing shorter, less expensive study abroad programs, a trend also manifesting itself at Georgetown. Monarch said the increase could be attributed to lower costs of summer programs and students’ desire to remain on campus during the year.
Patricia Kehoe (SFS ’12) spent six weeks this summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I chose a summer program because I wanted to experience study abroad without missing out on important D.C. opportunities like internships,” she said.
Finance is a strong factor, according to Monarch, who said the average cost of a semester abroad matches the tab of Georgetown tuition, while summer program costs are significantly lower.
OIP also works closely with the Office of Student Financial Services to ensure that assured financial aid transfers over when students go abroad. Because Georgetown students pay home tuition for study abroad, financial aid is more easily transferable at Georgetown than at other universities, according to Monarch. The Office of Student Financial Services receives budgets from OIP and is able to keep family costs for a semester abroad about the same as tuition on the main campus.
onarch also cited many Georgetown students’ focus on international studies as a factor in constant study abroad interest.
“I think the primary [factor] is the curricular connection for study abroad,” she said. “When you look at the international character of the university . there are large numbers of students who are naturally, for lack of a better way to put it, attracted to study abroad and already come to Georgetown . with an interest in studying overseas and in international affairs.”
Despite a slight dip in the number of students studying abroad at Georgetown from the 2008-2009 academic year to the 2009-2010 academic year, the university has remained relatively immune to the poor economic situation and its impact on students studying abroad nationwide, while other universities are still reporting declines in students abroad. But Georgetown’s fluctuation in the number of students abroad also matches national trends on a larger scale.
In the 2008-2009 academic year, the number of students studying abroad nationwide fell for the first time in the 25 years that the Institute of International Education has been crunching these numbers. Yet, according to the Forum on Education Abroad, students studying abroad increased again for the 2009-2010 academic year.
The university has also seen a significant increase in the number of students studying in the Middle East, according to Monarch. She said that OIP added two new programs in the Middle East in the past three years – one in Jordan as well as a summer program in Egypt – due to an increased interest in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at Georgetown.
Additionally, more students studied abroad in the fall than will in the spring for the first time in three academic years, according to Monarch. She attributed this increase partly to the Bologna process, in which European universities are standardizing calendars. Now, more students are able to study abroad at certain universities in countries like France, Spain and the United Kingdom because their semester schedules are more closely aligned with those at American universities.
ultiple students said they studied abroad in the fall so that they would not miss out on certain city and campus events in D.C.
“I love everything that goes on during the spring at Georgetown, and I have several good friends who are a year older than me, so I didn’t want to miss their last semester and graduation,” Laurel Charnetsky (COL ’12), who is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said in an email.