Students attend summer study abroad fair
Megan Valley | Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Notre Dame International (NDI) hosted a summer study abroad fair Tuesday night for undergraduate students interested in attending one of the University’s 20 summer study abroad programs.
“Summer study abroad programs offer great opportunities for students who need to work over the summer, have an internship or who are planning on doing research someplace,” director of study abroad Kathleen Opel said. “It helps them to get credits that they need, and almost all of the courses offered fill a University requirement, or it can fulfill major credits.”
Any student currently attending Notre Dame — whether they are a freshman or a graduating senior — is eligible to apply by Feb. 3 for any of the programs, Opel said.
The programs range in duration, which Opel said allows students who have other summertime obligations to accommodate their schedule.
“We have a wide variety of dates and lengths of time,” Opel said. “Some students want a six-week or an eight-week study abroad program, some students only want a two- or three-week experience, and they can go back and do internships or work.
“I think that these programs appeal to students who are athletes and can’t go during the academic year, or students who work with the newspaper or another activity that doesn’t permit them to go away, or for students who don’t want to be gone a whole semester.”
Freshman finance and economics major Lorenzo Beer said he attended the fair to help him decide if he wants to study abroad during the school year or the summer.
“Everybody I’ve ever spoken [to] has said that studying abroad is amazing and one of the best experiences of your life and that you should definitely do it if you can,” Beer said. “I definitely want to make sure I look into it. … If it’s during the summer, I could catch up on some courses. If it’s during the semester, [I could] maybe take a break from the Notre Dame bubble and see other parts of the world.”
Mary Nucciarone, director of financial aid, said while the University offers a funding model to make a semester abroad cost about the same in tuition as a semester on campus, studying abroad over the summer has no such aid.
“The University does not have a budget for scholarships for summer study abroad, so students are looking more at student loans — whether it be a private educational loan or a federal parent loan,” Nucciarone said.
Because the funding model is different, Nucciarone said students looking to study abroad over the summer should start planning financially as soon as possible.
“What I say for summer especially is to be planning,” Nucciarone said. “That’s the biggest challenge we find, is that students start planning really late — like in April for a May or June departure — and that’s really hard for us to help them.”
Most of the summer programs are in the same locations as semester programs — such as Spain, Brazil, China, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Morocco. Opel said the shortened programs of the summer still allow students to immerse themselves in the culture, just as they would over a semester.
“If you want to go to Morocco, you have an opportunity to experience, in three weeks, a whole range of activities that will give you a little smattering of background: French, Arabic, literature, film, history, the religious differences,” Opel said. “And that’s just one example.”