Thanks to Ace, it has come to my attention that my alma mater (American University) is under investigation for kickbacks between the school and its study abroad programs.
I actually participated in a study abroad program at AU. Unlike some of the other programs, mine did not come with a contact in my chosen country to help me settle in- I was completely on my own in terms of which classes I could/should take, where I could live (I moved three times while I was there, and spent part of my semester living in a hostel,) everything. The AU study abroad office was kind enough to point me in the direction of the school’s website, so as to help with my housing search. Thanks assholes.
The other thing that really irritated me is that even as a foreign student, and allowing for the exchange rate, my tuition overseas was LESS than my tuition at AU. Just to recap- I paid a program fee (even though there was NO program) and AU tuition (even though my tuition that semester was less.) Did AU allow me to keep the difference? No. Did they cut me a break, since they were making money on the deal (since they sent me merrily off on my own, doing nothing but paying tuition to my chosen school)? No.
Study abroad is a great opportunity, and I’m glad I took the chance to go (although if I had it to do over again, I’d go someplace considerably warmer. That being said, the more I look back on my experiences at AU, the more disenchanted I become, and the more it’s confirmed for me that college is less and less about education, and more and more a money making enterprise.