By: Gaby Tietyen-Mlengana
NORTHFIELD, MN — As spring term comes to an end, a plethora of students have submitted their study abroad applications. Students from all over have applied to programs that range from studying French in Paris to politics in Romania.
While many students are excited to go abroad, the staggering cost has caused some students to doubt their ability to study abroad.
Yet these doubts are not shared by low-income students at Carleton, as Carleton has proven to be a leader in providing access to study abroad programs for people from a variety of different income levels.
“We are committed to providing students from all income backgrounds the amazing ability to study abroad” said Lance Hans, head financial aid coordinator at Carleton College.
However, according to Hans, the college’s initiative to provide students with heated water fountains across the campus has limited the financial aid office’s budget for low-income students planning to study abroad.
“We tossed around a lot of ideas, but finally settled on providing low-income students with access to Adobe Photoshop Pro, so that they can Photoshop themselves into pictures that will capture the essence of studying abroad,” said Hans.
He continued to explain the benefits of this program. “Students will have the ability to pretend that they are abroad without actually having to experience anything that comes with studying abroad! It’s a great plan, and, it saves thousands of dollars for the school.”
Gaby Tengana, a freshman on financial aid, recently went through the exclusive Photoshop pilot program. “I wanted to ameliorate my French by studying in Paris, but the school provided me with a one hour session to photoshop myself at key Parisian monuments. I even got to photoshop myself in Morocco!”
The program offers a variety of background pictures from various locations. “I mean, if a kid wanted to say they studied in Antarctica, now they can. We’ve got great shots! Even some with penguins in the background,” Hans said.
“I was worried at first about whether people would really believe that I studied in Paris, but the office assured me that along with professional mock-ups, I would receive a letter of 100% authenticity,” said Tengana.
Hans continued, “I mean look at Ms. Tengana’s photos! They look 100% real, I mean if I hadn’t been the one leading the Photoshop course I would have actually thought she studied in Paris!”
Hans hopes that other low-income students can share Tengana’s experience. “I mean, that’s why I do what I do. I provide kids—no matter their background—with these amazing experiences.”