Foreign Aid: Students try to pay for interim trips
By Jess Silverman ‘14
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 02:02
Eight interim trips were offered over winter break this year. From paying out of pocket to taking out student loans or receiving a scholarship, students are finding a variety of ways to fund their exotic expeditions.
Heather Hughes ’15, a Marquis scholar, took advantage of the opportunity and decided to travel to Madagascar for three weeks through the Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education. “The trip was absolutely worth it,” she said. “The school covered a large part of the expenses – a round trip ticket is about $2300 to Madagascar.”
Another traveling Marquis scholar, Greg Troutman ‘13, traveled to Germany and Prague for three weeks, costing $4500. “When I chose to attend Lafayette as a Marquis scholar, I knew I would have a $4000 stipend to put towards an interim trip,” said Troutman. “Between this and money from working over the beginning part of winter break, I was able to finance the trip.” Even though he learned a lot about a subject he never would have explored on his own, “Germany and the New Europe,” Troutman believed he wouldn’t have looked into the trip without the stipend.
Gisella Gisolo, the Director of International & Off-Campus Education, said students with varying economic situations partake in interim excursions. She assured that there isn’t a specific “type” of Lafayette student who signs up for these trips.
“Obviously, there are some Marquis scholars amongst the students, but the students going on interim trips represent the same diversity of types that you can see at Lafayette,” said Gisolo.
Emily Silveira ‘15, who traveled to Eastern Europe with Troutman, did not receive any money from Lafayette. “I was lucky enough to have it paid by my grandma,” said Silveira. “I told her about these trips because she has always loved to travel and she was more than happy to give me this opportunity.”
Savannah Sargent ‘13, traveling to Bali, Indonesia for a three-week long performing arts and theater course, split the cost with her parents. “I didn’t apply for financial aid and I ended up paying for half with money that I had saved,” said Sargent. “My parents took care of the other half.”
Another student voyaging to the tropical province with Sargent, Kidane Kinney ’15, was awarded a $1600 grant towards the trip. “I paid the deposit of $250, and my parents paid the difference,” Kinney said. “I did have to use my own money for two meals a day, which added up, but I worked before I left the US, which allowed me to have spending money,” she added. “The combination of using my own money, the grant, and my parents made the trip completely worth the cost – I experienced so many valuable events and learned about a completely new culture.”
Jiselle Peralta ‘13 chose to register for the interim trip to Mexico. With the trip being $4000, Peralta was not guaranteed financial aid, as she was accepted off of the waitlist. “I had to take out a loan that covered the entire trip’s cost,” she said. “But I have heard of students who received $3000 in financial aid.” Peralta thought the trip was worth the cost because it covered all of the transportation and housing expenses, but she did have to worry about food costs. “I had a strict budget for myself and I was able to survive on less than $300 for my food expenses.”
Overall, 50 percent of Lafayette students receive financial aid towards their tuition, yet only 30 percent of these students who travel during interim receive financial aid. Where is this extra 20 percent going? Through speaking with the financial aid and study abroad offices, no direct conclusion could be made.
“Lafayette does pay for the staff for each program,” said Gisolo. “Without this, the program logistics and implementation could not be possible.” Even though Lafayette does not give out financial aid to 70 percent of the students on these trips, it does pay for the mandatory medical insurance that all students and faculty might need.