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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New study destinations, same affordability

UMass Boston is known for offering students an affordable education. However, UMass Boston also has partnerships with a number of universities in foreign countries that students can attend for the same price. Opportunities in Verona, Italy, Waterford, Ireland, five locations in Australia and two in both Germany and Canada allow students with rather limited financial means to visit and study in a place that they may otherwise never have a chance to.

The above locations are all part of the Exchange Program, a sub-category of the Study Abroad Program. UMass Boston offers many more destinations for study, but only the schools partnered through the Exchange Program allows students to pay the same tuition.

Lurlene Van Buren, of the Study Abroad Department, has been working to secure more locations for students to choose from as part of the Exchange program, and may have more new and exciting locations available as soon as next semester. Many of the programs have just begun.

“We’ve added a lot of Study Abroad opportunities, but we are trying to add more exchange options for students who can’t [afford the more expensive programs],” Van Buren said.

Because students will actually be paying UMass Boston their tuition, financial aid, loans and grants, in most cases, can be used to pay for a semester’s tuition abroad, just as it would if the student was attending school in Boston.

Though Van Buren has been focusing much of her attention on increasing the opportunities for the Exchange Program, she has also spent a fair amount of time working “pet project.” For nearly two years, Van Buren worked with Oxford University to secure a partnership in the Study Abroad Program. In the fall of 2001, Oxford University was added to the list of places students were able to travel for study.

In 2006, Van Buren received the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for her dedication to the program, and her determination to improve students’ possibilities for success. “It was the first award given out in its category in over twenty years. I was incredibly proud to receive it,” Van Buren said.

Van Buren has received vast positive feedback for all of the locations available for Study Abroad in general, as well as the Exchange Program in particular. The opportunity to study in another country has often been seen as an integral part of the “college experience,” and with so many opportunities available, one might wonder why more have yet to take advantage.

Those students who wish to take part in the Exchange Program are left to pay airfare, the equivalent of room and board, and any other expenses. Each school in the Study Abroad Program varies in cost as well as accommodations.

Aside from the Oxford program which charges $50 to apply, students are able to apply free of charge to any of the destinations they wish to go to. By keeping costs down, and attempts to inform more of the student population, UMass Boston hopes to increase participation in the Study Abroad Program.

Faculty wish to let students know these opportunities are available to them. Professors, Faculty, and school officials, all want students to get all they can out of their college experience, and studying abroad offers the prospect of greatly benefiting one’s experience.