Staff Editorial: Consider Study Abroad Options Outside of Europe

While Loyola’s Rome campus is the most accessible options for students, The Phoenix Editorial Board discusses studying abroad outside of Europe.

In March, Loyola announced the closure of its study abroad center in Vietnam. In 2018, The Phoenix previously reported the university’s Beijing campus closed its doors.

This lack of resources dedicated to outreach in countries outside of Western Europe has the chance to reinforce a white, Eurocentric view of the world.

The university’s premier study abroad experience can be found at the John Felice Rome Center. Its website boasts about engagement with Italian history and being surrounded by a new, enriching environment.

And that experience is valuable. 

Being immersed in any culture outside of one’s own presents itself with unimaginable rewards. Still, the closure of Loyola’s two Asian centers is a shame.

Loyola’s study abroad programs still include an abundance of opportunities throughout the world, with over a dozen options to study abroad or engage in an exchange or faculty-led program in Asia, according to their portal.

Most of these programs involve coordination through other universities or corporations, where transfer credits are not always one-to-one. What makes the Rome center so accessible is its direct affiliation with Loyola.

For Loyola students studying in Chicago, scholarships and financial aid are directly applicable to the cost of attending the John Felice Rome Center. Registering for classes and speaking with abroad advisors is also done through LOCUS and university channels, which was also applied to the Vietnam and Beijing campuses.

These benefits aren’t always available through other programs, which can potentially deter students who wish to study in cities other than Rome.

Of U.S. students who chose to study abroad in 2022, 66.3% of students choosing to study abroad chose Europe, according to the Association of International Educators. A mere 11% chose Latin America, while 4.9% chose the Middle East. 

The disparities between the amount of students choosing to venture to Europe versus other regions can be attributed to broader social hesitancies relating to a preference toward countries more culturally resemblant of the U.S. But they also speak to themes of Western hegemony and a deterrence from “the other.”

A 2022 study from the International Journal of Intercultural Relations found that studying abroad significantly improves cultural intelligence, or a student’s ability to engage with communities in-cross-cultural contexts. 

But what happens when multicultural sensitivity becomes exclusive to certain regions?

Regardless of location, studying abroad is an undeniably enriching experience. At Loyola, the privilege of spending a semester at the John Felice Rome Center is a unique and exciting opportunity for students to explore a new environment.

The opportunity to study abroad anywhere is a privileged one, but for those in a financial and academic position to do so, it’s certainly worth exploring options outside of Europe.

Featured image by Austin Hojdar / The Phoenix

The Phoenix Editorial Board

The Phoenix Editorial Board