Studying abroad, is it for everyone?


Webster’s study abroad program ranks among the top in the nation, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report, with campuses and partner schools across the globe.

Students who choose to study abroad can foster new friendships and perspectives, but when considering factors like cost or cultural barriers, is studying abroad meant for everyone?
Photo by Vanessa Jones. Study Abroad advisor Tyler Worlund talks to a student at the study abroad fair. The fair lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Center.

“I wish it was,” Study Abroad advisor Tyler Worlund said. “Everybody has different situations, and there are reasons that it’s not possible for some people … especially if you have commitments at home related to family, related to jobs, things like that.”

Webster’s Office of Study Abroad hosted a study abroad fair Wednesday, Feb. 15, for students curious about the program. They organize a fair each semester. 

“We do the fair as a way to be visible to students so that students on campus know that study abroad is accessible and available to them,” Worlund said. 

Currently, Webster offers three abroad experiences: via international campuses, partner campuses and faculty-led programs.

Students get the familiarity of a Webster campus at Webster’s international locations in countries such as Ghana, Switzerland, Greece and Uzbekistan.

Those looking for a more immersive experience might consider Webster’s exchange programs at foreign universities in places such as Brussels, Belgium, or Osaka, Japan.

Webster also hosts faculty-led, short-term programs during semester breaks and in the summer.

Senior Emerald Habecker volunteered at the study abroad fair to discuss Webster’s exchange programs with curious students.

“My time in Brussels was the best consecutive five months of my life, to date. It was an amazing way to become an independent person because I was living alone for the first – not like the very first time – but basically the first time,” Habecker said. 

Habecker studied abroad during his junior year, first at Webster’s partner location in Germany, then in Brussels.

“Before you study abroad, you should take a look at not only what the program is, but whether or not you want to live in a big city or a smaller town. When I lived in Germany, I was in a town of 100,000 people, and I like being in a big city, so that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. But also when I was in Brussels, I was thriving,” Habecker said.

For some students, the initial weeks abroad present the biggest challenge. Such is the case for junior Cami Lindauer, who studied abroad at Webster’s campus in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The hardest part was just the first week, getting acclimated, but it surprised me how quickly Geneva became comfortable to me,” Lindauer said.

Photo by Vanessa Jones. Students Emma Kramer and Cami Lindauer (right) present at the study abroad fair. Students and faculty organized tables for Webster’s various study-abroad locations at the event.

Although Webster’s international campuses teach in English, monolingual students might struggle to adjust to the language barrier in a foreign country.

But what about the cost? Geneva, after all, is the third-most expensive city in the world, according to a study by Mercer.

For the fall and spring semesters, tuition remains the same, but tuition is based on the per-credit rate for summer faculty-led programs.

This doesn’t include housing costs, which vary by location, nor the study abroad fee, a one-time payment ranging from $175-$550 depending on the length of the program.

“I think if students realize the things that we have in place to help support them financially, they might realize that it’s actually more realistic of a possibility,” Worlund said. “But there definitely are legitimate hurdles and barriers there.”

To help offset the potentially costly price of living abroad, the Office of Study Abroad offers scholarships, airfare assistance of up to $1,000 ($500 for short-term programs) and most recently, their Passport Program, which funds passport costs for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

Although tuition remains the same, students have to manage their daily expenses, such as food and entertainment.

To mitigate expensive living costs and save for weekend trips, Lindauer spent her weekdays bargain-hunting, budgeting and enjoying free activities.

Money isn’t the only factor stopping students from studying abroad; language barriers, traveling alone and home commitments create additional uncertainty.

“I’ve decided I’m going to do it junior/senior year so that I have time to continue to get more comfortable, not just in speaking German and getting acquainted to Viennese style and all those things, but also to prepare myself for the travel and that intimidating experience and, of course, the money,” freshman Isabelle Kirchhofer said.

Even as a German major and French minor, Habecker felt some symptoms of culture shock.

“Discovering a different culture is both the best and the hardest part because … the first couple weeks are always the worst … That first couple weeks of adjustment, you’re rethinking your entire life, and then you get some sleep, and it’s fine,” Habecker said.

Addressing the many concerns, Worlund encourages anyone who can study abroad to do so. 

“From a personal experience, I studied abroad as an undergraduate, and [it] was by far the most impactful part of my college experience,” Worlund said. “I’m a big believer in experiential education and that learning happens through life … There’s just constant new input that allows students to grow and learn and change. Over the course of a semester, you’re taking in new information that might take years for you to come to know otherwise.” 

To learn more about Webster’s study abroad program, visit or schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor, or visit the Study Abroad website.

Share this post

+ posts

Joshua Wright (He/Him) is the current Managing Editor for the Journal. He was previously the News and Lifestyle editor in spring 2023. He is a media studies major with a double minor in professional writing and scriptwriting. He loves storytelling, especially through writing, and writes across various disciplines, including journalism, entertainment, and advertising. His hobbies include watching movies, exploring the outdoors, and learning new things.


Comments are closed.