College students. When we look around at the people who are working the cash registers at fast food restaurants, waiting tables, and the trendy clothing stores such as Hot Topic and Forever 21, who do we see? Young people who are most likely college students, trying to earn money for tuition and textbooks.
But what else could they be diligently working towards?
Perhaps, studying abroad.
Jackson Cravens, 21, is a college student who is earning funds to someday study abroad.
“The experience alone would be incredible,” Cravens said. “It’s the expenses that are holding me back.”
Former high school teacher Lara Keller (whose name has been changed for personal reasons), 51, agrees that lowering costs would aid student immensely. “It would enhance their life and their future. It can be done frugally…but organization, creativity, and thought have to be taken into account.”
According to UC Merced, 97% of study abroad students were able to find employment within 12 months of graduation; 84% felt their studies abroad helped them build valuable skills for the job market, and 80% reported that study abroad allowed them to better adapt to diverse work environments.
But, according to CNBC, nearly 80% of college students are putting themselves through school, leaving most students to think about rent, bills, and food aside from tuition and textbooks.
“I go to school full-time and work part-time because school comes first for me,” said Cravens. “If I was able, I would put more money toward educational programs, but for now, all I can do is what is necessary.”
Extra money for studying abroad programs isn’t an option for many individuals.
“Most programs should depend on grades, rather than funds,” Keller said. “Faculty could determine the students who are serious about going overseas from those who are not.”
Programs depending on grades would become more available to the greater range of students.
“Students wouldn’t have to work themselves to death in order to pay for the bare minimum,” Keller said. “Instead, they would have more time to study and more time to work toward something that is going to benefit them in the future.”
Programs that depend on grades would be an incentive for students. Knowing an overseas experience is a possibility would give students a thirst for staying in school and keeping their grades above average.
This article was written by McKenna Vietti, a writer for dusk magazine.