Dear Co-Chair Roblan, Co-Chair Smith Warner and members of the Joint Committee on Student Success,
With the help of Rotary Clubs, a few Oregon students spend a high school year studying abroad. In Eastern Oregon, there are Rotary Clubs in Baker City, Ontario, Hermiston, La Grande, Milton-Freewater, Enterprise, and Pendleton sending student abroad. Milton-Freewater will have a 2018-19 outbound youth exchange student going to St. Peterburg, Russia. Hermiston has a student going to Mexico. “The Pendleton Rotary Club selects and provides expenses for one or two out-bound local students each year, and coordinates local living arrangements for in-bound international students.”
The question is whether there are more Eastern Oregon high school students who would want to spend a high school year studying abroad if the opportunity were there. Please ask the students.
Every Oregon high school student should have the opportunity to spend a high school year studying abroad paid for by the State of Oregon as a part of their public education program. High school study abroad should not just be for the wealthy who can afford it.
Extending study abroad opportunities to all Oregon students does not require more revenues or more spending, just a shift in what the educational system spends money on. Instead of spending money for students located in high schools in Oregon, we spend money on our students in high schools abroad.
There are current study abroad organizations that offer high school years abroad for less than current per student expenditure in Oregon. In the National Education Association’s “Ranking and Estimates” for 2016, Oregon ranked 21st nationally and spent $12,519 per student in average daily attendance.
For example, here are the 2017-18 fees for the study aboard organization ASSE. Most are significantly less than $12,519.
ASSE was established in 1976 as the American Scandinavian Student Exchange by the Swedish Government to organize student exchange programs between Sweden and the United States. It maintains 38 offices in 31 countries and accommodates more than 30,000 high school age students and host families annually in its programs in the participating countries.
Program fees include: Round trip international airfare from New York to Europe and South Africa, from Miami to Brazil and Argentina, from Los Angeles to Asia/Pacific. Fees also include comprehensive health, accidental death and travel insurance, host family recruitment and screening, non-English speaking country language training, and orientation.