Opinion

Limited study abroad options force student to seek alternatives

This past year, I was the happiest I have ever been. For four months, I lived in Valencia, Spain, and traveled to seven different countries on various weekends. I met 55 students that quickly became family to me, and I enjoyed memories with them that I will never forget. I took classes that not only greatly improved my Spanish and understanding of Spanish culture, but were also intellectually stimulating and eye-opening. This was all done during the spring semester… as a Florida State Seminole.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to study abroad – not for a summer session, not for a winter-session, but for an entire semester. To this day, I regret not doing a full year. Although I am not a Spanish major or minor, I knew I wanted to go to Spain and I knew I wanted to go spring semester sophomore year (I could not bear to leave during football season). At the end of freshman year, I walked in the UM study abroad office with a naïve smile on my face and waited anxiously to speak with an adviser. I excitedly looked at all the maps on the walls and realized how soon my dream was going to become true, until the advisor walked in. I told her exactly what I wanted and I was quickly faced with a nodding head.

“No, no, you cannot go to Spain without being at least a Spanish minor.”

I quickly scrambled for different places to go, only to meet more rejection.

“No, you need to be a business major for Amsterdam … Well sure, you can go to London – but you must find your own housing … not included in tuition.”

I left the office crushed, but still determined to figure something out.

I sat at my computer and researched for days on end and I finally realized that FSU was a perfect fit for me. They were easy-going, accommodating and most of all, they have an impeccable reputation as they are consistently ranked in the top 15 of U.S. study abroad programs. I decided to forego my scholarship for a semester to attend FSU Valencia. By far, it was the best decision I have ever made.

The real issue at the end of the day is: how does UM not have a remarkable study abroad program? According to U.S. News, the University of Miami is ranked 27th in the category of “National Universities with Most International Students.” Why is UM so accommodating for students to come here, but not for students to explore? Not to mention, tuition is currently $38,440 per year.

Because of a lack of resources, students are often left digging through the endless world of the Internet to find a useful alternative to UM’s limited program – or they must settle for less. Everyone is proud to be a Cane and represent the amazing university, but many are forced to take a leave of absence in order to achieve their true desires. Don’t we deserve more? past year, I was the happiest I have ever been. For four months, I lived in Valencia, Spain, and traveled to seven different countries on various weekends. I met 55 students that quickly became family to me, and I enjoyed memories with them that I will never forget. I took classes that not only greatly improved my Spanish and understanding of Spanish culture, but were also intellectually stimulating and eye-opening. This was all done during the spring semester… as a Florida State Seminole.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to study abroad – not for a summer session, not for a winter-session, but for an entire semester. To this day, I regret not doing a full year. Although I am not a Spanish major or minor, I knew I wanted to go to Spain and I knew I wanted to go spring semester sophomore year (I could not bear to leave during football season). At the end of freshman year, I walked in the UM study abroad office with a naïve smile on my face and waited anxiously to speak with an adviser. I excitedly looked at all the maps on the walls and realized how soon my dream was going to become true, until the advisor walked in. I told her exactly what I wanted and I was quickly faced with a nodding head.

“No, no, you cannot go to Spain without being at least a Spanish minor.”

I quickly scrambled for different places to go, but was faced with more rejection.

“No, you need to be a business major for Amsterdam…Well sure, you can go to London – but you must find your own housing…not included in tuition.”

I left the office crushed, but still determined to figure something out.

I sat at my computer and researched for days on end and I finally realized that FSU was a perfect fit for me. They were easy-going, accommodating and most of all, they have an impeccable reputation as they are consistently ranked in the top 15 of U.S. study abroad programs. I decided to forego my scholarship for a semester to attend FSU Valencia. By far, it was the best decision I have ever made.

The real issue at the end of the day is: how does UM not have a remarkable study abroad program? According to U.S. News, the University of Miami is ranked 27th in the category of “National Universities with Most International Students.” Why is UM so accommodating for students to come here, but not for students to explore? Not to mention, tuition is currently $38,440 per year.

Because of a lack of resources, students are often left digging through the endless world of the Internet to find a useful alternative to UM’s limited program- or they must settle for less. Everyone is proud to be a Cane and represent the amazing university, but many are forced to take a leave of absence in order to achieve their true desires. Don’t we deserve more?

Nicole Spiteri is a junior majoring in health science on the pre-med track. She may be contacted at nspiteri@themiamihurricane.com.

August 21, 2011

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Nicole Spiteri


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