By Michelle Morico
The number of Marist students studying abroad has remained stable despite the recent depression in our global economy.
Carol Toufali, the Coordinator of International Programs does not think the US economy has had an effect on the amount of Marist students studying abroad.
“The overall economy may eventually affect [study abroad numbers] but so far we haven’t seen much effect,” she said.
Toufali thinks one of the reasons for this stabilization is because in many programs “the dollar cost for room and board and tuition is relatively the same as it would be at Marist.”
This spring there are 162 students studying abroad, says Toufali. 67 of these students are studying in Italy. Toufali said that “Florence is definitely the obvious choice as far as numbers;” 41% of all Marist Study Abroad students are studying in Italy this spring.
Currently, one USD is equivalent to .76 Euros. Dan Ashley ’10 is in Florence for spring ’09. He does not believe that the economy has held back students who were planning to study abroad.
“When I go to the market [in Florence] everything is much cheaper than the food in the US because most of the food is local,” Ashley said. The exchange rate can not be viewed only as a setback because “economically things are different there.”
The number of kids studying abroad has not changed; Toufali said the number of students is “about the same number that went in the fall.”
“The UK, Australia and Spain are the most popular places to go abroad overall,” Toufali said. All three places have a high cost of living.
Not only is it surprising that studying abroad has not lost popularity in the middle of an economic crisis, it is also interesting that more Marist students are not traveling to countries that are more economically friendly.
Erin McNichols is studying in Cape Town, South Africa this spring, where the dollar is equivalent to 9.87 Rand.
“To be honest, the reason I chose to study here was not related to money. I’ve always wanted to come to Cape Town, and the value of the dollar here is just an added benefit.”
Marist students have not yet been affected by economical problems in a way that would discourage them from studying abroad. But, the public anticipates the economy to worsen before it improves.