Interest in studying abroad in European countries such as Spain and the United Kingdom experienced significant increases over the 2014-2015 school year, according to new data from the Office of Overseas Study. Study abroad in Spain, which had lost its place as most popular overseas destination for the 2013-2014 school year, rebounded from the drop in interest.
More students have been choosing Latino American programs because of the lower price tag and to escape the traditional European program of study, which could account for the decreased number of students traveling to Spain.
After a 15 percent decline in the number of students studying abroad in Spain over the 2013-2014 school year, Overseas Study data reports a significant increase in IU-wide Spanish study abroad over the 2014-2015 school year.
Spain had been the most popular destination for IU students to study abroad until the 2013-2014 school year, when study abroad in the United Kingdom took the number one spot. This reflected national trends, in which the UK has been the most popular destination for student nationwide who study abroad. Nationally, Spain is usually the third-most popular destination for students, but IU offers eight different programs in Spain for all language levels, including semester and summer study in addition to internships, that draw more student interest.
“Over the last two to three years we’ve adopted a lot of internship programs, so we now have 40 internship programs,” Thomas DeCarlo, Communications Coordinator at the Office of Overseas Study, said. “London summer internship is very popular. We have internship programs in Spain. Every time we adopt a new track, like an internship track, there’s always a little shift.”
Over the past couple of years, Spanish-speaking students have been showing a growing interest in Latin American study abroad programs in part because they are a less expensive and less traditional option than traveling to Europe.
“In theory you could have Spanish people who are now going to some of our expanded options in Southern America, you might have them transferring to other Spanish speaking countries,” DeCarlo said. “For less expensive options, most of the time you can find more affordable programs in Latin American countries.”
Jessica Steinhiser, a junior, is studying in Madrid for the year to fulfill her psychology and Spanish majors. Steinhiser chose Spain over a program in Lima, Peru for the opportunity to travel Europe and visit European friends. She had also visited Latin America previously.
“Obviously, there are lots of different Latin American cultures, but Europe is a novelty for me and offers a wider breadth of experiences,” she said.