Options for studying abroad – during a pandemic

According to the Office of Global Engagement at Utah State University, approximately 500 students participate in study abroad programs each semester.

Although that number has dwindled due to the pandemic, students and faculty are excited to start traveling again.

“We still hope that travel will be possible,” said Monika Galvydis, director of the study abroad program. “The pandemic has been unpredictable, but we continue to prepare students if travel is possible. We hope that one day, very, very soon, we will send the same number of students as in the past.

The pandemic has presented an interesting challenge for the Office of Global Engagement, bringing many student projects to a halt and making travel extremely difficult.

University Policy 536 prohibits travel to countries with high travel risk or restricted travel, as determined by the U.S. Department of State. Tier four countries are considered high risk.

According to the State Department website travel reviews, many of the most popular study abroad sites are tier four, including France, Germany, Spain and the UK

Under normal circumstances, these are slots that would normally fall under tier one or two.

Galvydis said some countries had been closed for the past week, disrupting study abroad plans already in place.

“USU wants to protect our travelers, so we are very careful when reviewing every program in every destination,” said Janis Boettinger, vice president of global engagement.

Thanks to all this, USU has always been able to welcome international students.

About 450 study in Utah at different campuses across the state. Nearly 50% of these students are undergraduates.

According to International Student and Scholar Services staff member Shelly Ortiz, this provides a wonderful opportunity for students who are waiting to travel again. “We have many international student organizations that organize activities and events on campus,” Ortiz said. talking to someone about the facility they want to go to is a great way to prepare for when COVID is over and we are cleared to travel again.”

Bonny Lu came to USU in 2018 as an exchange student from Taiwan. Since graduating, she has returned as an international student seeking a degree to obtain her Masters in Exercise Science.

“I’m usually very cautious about all new things,” Lu said. “But studying abroad made me want to try new things, and when I’m scared or something, I know that I can do it. I don’t think I would be myself right now if I hadn’t come to USU to study, even if it was only for one semester. It really turned out in a whole different way.

USU also hosts virtual study abroad programs, where students can earn credit from institutions around the world from home.

It is an option for those who cannot afford traditional study abroad programs. However, studying abroad can be more affordable than you think.

There are several common misconceptions about study abroad programs that might put people off going, including the cost. However, most financial aid can be used to pay for study abroad programs.

For many of the programs offered, students pay normal tuition fees as well as travel and accommodation costs.

There are three different types of programs offered to USU students – direct faculty-led programs and exchange programs.

Faculty-led programs are often shorter, lasting anywhere from 10 days to six weeks. Direct programs are facilitated by a third party affiliated with USU, and tuition is not based on USU costs. These programs often last about one semester.

There are also exchange programs. Students pay USU tuition and fees and exchange places with a student from a foreign university. Students can choose to study abroad for a semester or a year.

For more information, see USU’s Office of Global Engagement website.

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