Save Thousands When You Study Abroad
By Eli Kemp
Design your own plan to earn credits at a foreign university.
$20,000 is a high price to pay for laziness. By coordinating my own semester abroad, I saved my family some serious dough and still had a culturally immersive, socially invigorating experience. The acclaimed university I attended had great professors and a beautiful campus, and all of the classes I took transferred to count towards my Tulane graduation credit requirement. The experience was every bit as thorough and comfortable as a Tulane sponsored study abroad program. With room, board, tuition, and everything else in between, my family paid less than $4,000 for the entire semester.
I organized the trip with the help of my freshman year Spanish professor, Julia Patiño. Thanks to her Colombian roots, she was able to put me in touch with the director of foreign exchange at La Universidad Javeriana Cali. I sent them my Tulane transcript and filled out their short application. Within a month I received my letter of acceptance. The process of gaining permission from Tulane was easy. All I had to do was meet with two people: an official from the study abroad office, and my major department chair.
I arrived and moved in with a host mother who I chose from a list that La Javeriana provided me. The apartment was spacious and I had my own room and bathroom. The rent was $150 per month, a standard fee in Latin America. Like any Tulane sponsored university, La Javeriana also provided an orientation week where all of the foreign exchange students were given an opportunity to meet and participate in bonding activities.
They gave us a tour of the city where we saw beautiful nature and famous historical landmarks. There were students in my program from Germany, France, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, among others. I was one of only three students from the United States.
The complaint I hear most is “I am afraid the credits won’t transfer.”
That’s not right; the credits come in at the 3000 level and will not help to complete the upper level course load, but they will transfer over to count towards graduating as long as the university attended is reputable. Top universities in regions of the world like Latin America and Southeast Asia often cost between two and five thousand dollars per semester.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to go through Tulane to have a successful semester abroad. The official Tulane website claims their "fee structure enables study abroad to be seamlessly integrated into the Tulane four year academic experience." The only thing the Tulane fee structure enables is unnecessary student spending. They charge $20,000 to make some emails for students. The university I found in Colombia provided the same preparation and professionalism as a Tulane sponsored program. My semester went swimmingly. I participated in the jazz and rock bands at the university. I played ultimate frisbee on the club team. My classes were great. I was fully immersed in the campus atmosphere.
The opportunity to save thousands is right at your fingertips. Talk to a Tulane teacher to help you, or directly contact the study abroad coordinator from a foreign university you like. The resources are available. Find the connections you need and spare your family a dramatic financial mistake. It’s worth it.
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