Yet Another Problem for Study Abroad

The weak dollar is taking a toll on American students abroad and Chinese students in Europe.
January 12, 2005

Educators who promote educational exchanges feel besieged these days, as their foreign students have visa difficulties getting here and terrorism makes some American students want to stay close to home. Now the weak dollar is hurting exchange programs.

An article in The Stanford Daily recounts students discovering that their money doesn't go very far. And students who didn't pay attention to the decline of the dollar against the Euro had a rude awakening when they received their credit card bills.

"While I was there I just forgot that a euro wasn't a dollar. When I bought a jacket for 85 euros I thought, well, this is like $85. But it's more like $120," the article quoted one Stanford student just back from Italy as saying.

The weak dollar should be having a positive impact on foreign students seeking to enroll at American colleges. But that's not the case because U.S. visas are so hard to come by for many of these students. That sitution, in turn, should be sending the students to European universities. But the falling dollar creates problems there, too.

Many Asian countries, most notably China, peg their currency to the American dollar, so when its value falls, these students feel priced out of European colleges. An article in The Guardian quotes British officials who are fearful about the dollar's impact on students from China, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The article notes that Australia and New Zealand are trying to attract these students, who might otherwise have come to the United States or Britain.


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