The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in unprecedented ways — particularly when it comes to exploring this big, beautiful world of ours. Many college students are wondering, “Should I still study abroad during this time of uncertainty?”
The truth is, only you can determine the best course of action for you right now. Whether you’ve made the decision to study abroad during COVID-19 or are on the fence, some of our Spring 2020 alumni wanted to weigh in — as their semester abroad was ultimately cut short. They have a unique firsthand perspective of being abroad, albeit for a shorter period of time than hoped, during the pandemic.
Here’s some advice that a few of our alumni would give future participants who are choosing a study abroad program during this time of uncertainty.
Patrick, Curry College
“The only advice I have for students is: Do it. Go abroad, I promise you will not regret the decision. AIFS kept my whole program safe during our time in Italy, was always in contact with us and provided any resources we need. It is an uncertain time for everyone, but AIFS wants students to succeed and do it safely. The care from everyone involved, from the Admission Officers to the Resident Directors in your country, is unmatched. Going through AIFS was the right choice for me and it was proven with how they handled their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Laurel, Mississippi State University
“I would first tell them that just because we live in a time of uncertainty doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take the chance to study abroad. They should hope for the best and plan to study abroad, because some things in life are always uncertain. If they just wait around for things to become more clear, they might miss some great opportunities.”
“When choosing a study abroad program, remember to embrace every single moment when you are there. You never know what is going to happen in this time of uncertainty, so it’s important to be present in every moment.
Although my time in Barcelona was cut short, I don’t feel like I missed out on this experience. I made the most of every single day, and explored so much of the city. My experience will forever be special to me. I didn’t let this ruin my experience, I took every day like it was my last in Barcelona.
To future study abroad students, embrace the uncertainty. Live every day like it might be your last and I can promise you that it will pay off. Embrace the little moments, the trips to the supermarket, or the walks to class with friends. The small moments matter, don’t take them for granted.”
Jessica, University of Rhode Island
“I would tell students to check how the virus is dealt with/was dealt with in the country that they are hoping to study in. When narrowing down potential programs, chose one that you truly want to go on. Being cautious about the country’s COVID response is important, but AIFS will ensure your safety no matter where you are.”
Gabriella, Worcester State University
“Be cautious, but not fearful. I would tell students to always prepare for unseen circumstance, but do not hyper focus on what might happen.”
Alyssa, Seton Hall University
“In terms of choosing a program, definitely pay attention to the insurance information now more than ever. While studying abroad during these times, get to know your Resident Director well! She/he will be a huge source of support not only logistically, but emotionally. Lastly, take advantage of every day while abroad! Like we’ve learned, tomorrow is never guaranteed!”
Madison, Texas A&M University
“I would tell students to definitely check that country’s COVID-19 response, as many European countries are already back to life as normal… As long as students are diligent in their own health and feel comfortable with the health and safety guidelines of whichever program they choose, I think they can still get the full study abroad experience.”
Catherine, Adelphi University
“I would tell them to look at how the country they are thinking of going to handled the first wave of the virus and make educated decisions on their own.”
We understand students’ hesitation to study abroad during COVID-19. That’s why we’re prepared.
For over 55 years, we have run study abroad programs around the world, making decisions with our students’ health and safety as top priority. We will continue to do so as we face the challenges of the unfolding COVID-19 situation around the world. Click here for up-to-date information on our COVID-19 response and policies as they pertain to our study abroad programs.