Italy ranks as top study abroad destination


Italy is consistently one of the top study abroad locations for Central Michigan University students.

According to Amber Schneider, assistant director of Study Abroad, Italy was the most popular country to study abroad in during the 2013-2014 year, with 81 students studying there.

In the 2013-2014 year, 572 students studied abroad in 35 different countries. England was the second top location, with 72 students. Denmark, Ireland, Mexico and Spain were tied for the third most popular location, with 39 students studying in each one.

Schneider said the number of students studying in Ireland might have gone up because of a low-cost program offered this year. Historically, Italy is always in the top three and Ireland, Mexico and England are in the top five. 

Schneider said she thinks the main factors that influence where students choose to study abroad are the presence of faculty-led programs, academic requirements and cost.

Saginaw senior Kimberly Johnson chose to study in Italy because she wanted to learn accessory design and it was affordable.

“I started off looking at the fashion merchandising and design faculty-led trip to Paris,” Johnson said. “I had some friends go on the trip and they loved it but it was only for three weeks and I knew I wanted to study abroad for longer.”

Other students chose their locations for the cultural experience.

“In the summer, a lot of students don’t have a specific major or minor requirement they’re focusing on, so they’ll choose a country where they might be interested in learning about the culture and take a culturally focused course,” Schneider said.

Macomb senior Triestina Casasanta studied abroad at the American University of Rome after realizing the program she was interested in was out of her price range.

“I really wanted to throw myself in a situation where I needed to learn a language in order to get around the city,” Casasanta said. 

She said going to Italy would give her the opportunity to travel to other interesting locations as well.

Lansing senior Damaris Blatt said she chose Spain because she wanted to go to Europe and she was interested in the culture.

“I think Spain is a popular place to study because of its location,” Blatt said. “It’s much easier to travel to Mexico or Costa Rica later, but traveling to Europe seems to fall into this college to-do list.”

Nunica senior Andrea Ritz said scholarships, degree requirements, her academic schedule and desire to travel to new places influenced her study abroad decisions.

She was able to complete two required business courses while studying in Denmark. 

“Last summer, I chose to study abroad in Denmark to complete required classes for my degree, which were offered at the Copenhagen Business School,” said Ritz. “The thought of spending my summer in Europe for the first time was exciting, and Copenhagen seemed like a unique place to go.”

Grand Ledge senior Gabrielle Kromer also fulfilled requirements for her major through study abroad. She chose a faculty-led program in Denmark because it allowed students to take required courses for the Special Education program.

“I hadn’t yet taken one of the classes offered, so I chose to take part in it because I had an interest in study abroad,” Kromer said. “I have always had the desire to study abroad, but have also always been concerned about the logistical challenges with studying for an entire semester.”

Though she chose the program and didn’t specifically choose Denmark, she said she also found Denmark’s culture interesting and thought Denmark the country was a less popular study abroad location.