By Kerri Ann Campbell | Staff Writer | email@example.com
COVID-19 continues to impact global travel study abroad plans for students. While the number of St. Michael’s students abroad is down from pre-pandemic levels, 25 students are currently studying abroad in 11 different countries this semester. These students are adapting to the COVID-19 guidelines in different countries, and some travel restrictions tell study abroad students not to come.
“I never make an assumption anymore. No more. Because things have been off for so many years now,” said Study Abroad Director Peggy Imai. Making assumptions about numbers for the following years is not making a difference in students studying abroad, she explained.
All but two College-sponsored summer 2022 programs have been postponed due to COVID, though other program providers continue to offer study abroad opportunities. Freeman Foundation has accepted 12 St. Michael’s students for an eight-week summer program in Seoul, South Korea. Freeman Foundation is an international internship program that promotes global citizenship, made possible by the Freeman Foundation grant.
“We think that’s going to go, but that depends on what happens in the country between now and then,” Imai said. This uncertainty can lead students to back out from study abroad entirely.
Sabrina Bean ‘23 is abroad in Spain, and explained COVID restrictions in Barcelona. “If I want to travel outside of Spain, there are a lot of hoops that my friends and I have to jump through. Each country has different COVID-19 restrictions including paperwork, testing requirements, and even a requirement of a certain number of shots they consider to be fully vaccinated,” she said.
Aisha Navarrete ‘23 traveled 33 hours to Zanzibar, South Africa and received multiple COVID tests. She is currently abroad in Jambiani as part of an SIT program, and reflected on her experience to study abroaf amid COVID concerns.
“It is a drastic change and while it will be rewarding and I do not regret it. COVID has added a level of anxiety into my world, not to get it, but just a reminder that life can change at any moment in time. I have decided to embrace this,” she said.