Letter to the Editor

As an alumna who studied abroad TWICE at Lawrence, I disagree with your opinion. Perhaps they have changed some of the rules regarding study abroad and financial aid since I have been there, but when I went abroad for a semester in Argentina and another in Mexico, each was cheaper than a trimester at LU. Maybe not considerably cheaper, but it was not more expensive as you claim. And I know of three people who re-upped for another semester, thus staying for an entire year, and it was no more difficult than filling out a few papers and discussing credit equivalencies with their advisors.
Exchange rates make a big difference, so yes, studying in London, Europe, and Australia may be more expensive than LU. If a program you desire to attend is not sponsored by LU, don’t give up and be a pioneer. Financial aid can be negotiated, or you can take a federal loan if necessary. I was the first to go to Guanajuato, Mexico. I enjoyed it so much and saw the potential for that program to fit in at Lawrence, I talked to everyone I could, and the program was accepted by the LU study abroad department the next year, with a handful of students signing up right away. Others were pioneers for SIT, and their programs were accepted too. Going to Lawrence, you should know how flexible and encouraging they are with independent study, and though more bureaucratic, study abroad opportunities are no different.
As for quality, you cannot judge a foreign institution’s standards compared to Lawrence. Educational philosophies and traditions are DIFFERENT in other parts of the world, as well as student and professor performance expectations and university funding allocations. But isn’t that the whole PURPOSE of going abroad? To experience life, in all its facets, while living in another country? I was glad for the lighter load, and I am sure others might agree, how good it feels to slow down and relax for a while, after the challenging rigors of LU. If it seems too easy abroad, then challenge yourself, find something to fill the void. Study abroad is not just about the curriculum and the classroom, it is about going out to learn the tango or something else unique, because there is not better time in life to do it than while you are abroad.Jessica Kullander, Class of 2004