Impacts on studying abroad

Graphic Courtesy | Cassy Tweed

Plans in place to keep studying abroad an option when the time comes

For some students, plans of traveling to another country to study and immerse in the culture were either cut short or canceled as the pandemic has changed plans of travel. One department that has to deal with travel restrictions is the Study Abroad Services at North Dakota State University.

Alicia Kauffman, the Director of International Student and Study Abroad Services, spoke about how they plan on making up for the canceled or shortened trips students had planned for this past spring and summer.

“It kind of depends on the faculty leading that program and what the timing will be like for them to offer it this coming spring, this coming summer,” Kauffman said.

“A lot of faculty still want to lead those programs so we hope that students will apply for the course again and take the course again in the spring.”

Kauffman also mentioned that it depends on how everything is going with COVID-19 and the “conditions at that time,” which might end up delaying some programs to next summer instead of next spring.

For students who are required to study abroad, such as those double majoring in international studies or any language minors, the pandemic is taking a toll on when they can complete their requirements.

Kauffman said that those students’ academic needs are being taken care of by the Department of Modern Languages which oversees the international studies program.

“They’ve been very flexible in working with students on a case-by-case basis depending on when they’re graduating,” Kauffman said. “They’ve been willing to work with students as needs arise based on timing as well.”

Kauffman also said that she thinks students are still interested in studying abroad saying, “While it may be unique right now, I hope that it’s something that they’re excited to do now that they’ve been back in session and looking at different options.”

The study abroad services have been working on keeping students interested in wanting to travel abroad in the future. An event will be taking place next week allowing students to learn more about their services.

On Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., students will be able to attend a food truck festival outside of the Memorial Union. The festival will substitute for the study abroad fairs that they have held in the past.

“There will be a few food trucks here that will offer international food giving students a chance to kind of experience that and thinking about where they might go on their next experience abroad,” Kauffman said. “We’re hoping that this will energize and get students interested in going abroad.”

Any students who are interested in studying abroad are encouraged to go to the study abroad services website and check out the “get started” link.

“That’s a good place to start in terms of talking with one of our peer mentors, so students who have studied abroad in the past will have appointments and chat sessions with students interested in going abroad,” Kauffman said.

“Once they’ve looked at some of the options that might fit what they’re interested in, they would then schedule an appointment with one of our coordinators or advisors to kind of direct them more on a specific path of which program they want to choose.”

The website also offers a program search allowing students to find what type of program they are interested in and when it would be offered. Students can also find various study abroad opportunities such as internships in other countries.

“We just hope that (for students), as we’ve opened now and we’re back in the fall semester, that study abroad will be something that they’re thinking about how to take part in the future.”

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