Southwestern University is a place of history, of accomplishment, of intellectual challenges.
Southwestern University is also on the higher end of the tuition scale. Students must pay for the opulent history, the assuredness that comes with accomplishment and the guarantee that our intellects will be challenged. That is not all we pay for.
Being an esteemed graduate requires participation in every program that will create a solid foundation for graduate school and bolster applications. In the process of building that foundation, certain academic programs, like studying abroad, are pushed, shoved and posted in our faces everywhere we look.
Studying abroad, specifically, carries the weight of molding an internationally aware student who is able “to reflect on their position and responsibilities in the world,” as the website so eloquently says.
This is true; it will enlighten students, broaden minds and produce awareness on a global level. But what will it do for those students stuck on campus for the duration of their academic career?
Everyone should be able to participate in this excellent program, but not everyone can. Students struggling with finances and time constraints may not see studying abroad as a feasible option.
Money may not be an issue to many who can afford a private school in the first place, but to some it is. Finances are a major concern, and shelling out a specific amount of dollars to go to school in a different country, when one can barely afford a school in this country, produces feelings of panic rather than of opportunity.
Time may also present a situation that does not allow for the chance to jet-set across the globe. Some students have a limited amount of time to accrue their credits and graduate.
Transfer students and those who change majors, for example, may lose some credits in the process. Time may just not allow for studying abroad.
These examples cover only a few impediments, but the idea is the same even if the situations differ. These students can be just as success-driven, just as interested in the experience and just as fascinated by the culture but simply are not able to participate. For them, the constant reminder of what they are missing can produce feelings of underachievement.
Constantly being urged to do something when you simply cannot do it is never any fun, especially when your future success, chances of entering graduate school and overall life happiness depend on it.
That may be a bit dramatic, but with the vehemence that Southwestern pushes this program on students, it might as well be the case. Students at Southwestern tend to be extremely invested in their academic careers, and not including studying abroad in that plan feels like a personal failure.
The inability to travel for financial and logistical problems should not be tallied up as an inadequacy.
Rather, Southwestern, as an institution that wants to foster positive growth, should be more aware of the plight that its student body encounters and not condemn those who are unable to study abroad.