“Students Studying Abroad Encounter Unexpected Costs”

“Students Studying Abroad Encounter Unexpected Costs”

by Cait Conner, Rachel Peterson, and Eric Gerken via “Des Moines Register

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“Steffi Lee had been told about all the expected costs she might encounter while studying abroad from Simpson College of Indianola. Then, something unexpected came up.

A $530 monthly stipend to help Lee, a 20-year-old sophomore, with costs while working as a teacher’s assistant at Krosno State College in Poland did not come.

Lee hadn’t been told she had to apply for a work permit before she could receive her stipend, which was to cover food and travel. “We had to check into the work permit laws, which Simpson and Krosno hadn’t known they had changed. … I didn’t get my stipend until a month living in Poland,” she said.

Lee’s story is an example of the kinds of additional costs that are not accounted for before college students go overseas as part of their studies.

The unanticipated costs can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the person spending the money. Blame can be spread around to students who do not prepare well enough but also colleges’ travel abroad directors who do not tell students enough about additional costs, several students at different small college in Iowa said in interviews.

“Study abroad directors need to know if they need to update their paperwork and regulation information before people get stuck in another country, and being promised one thing and told another thing before they get to that country,” Lee said in one those interviews, for an IowaWatch investigation by senior journalism students at Simpson College into the hidden costs of overseas study. . . . .”

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