Vermont colleges see uptick in study abroad programs

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Due to evolving COVID-19 restrictions, studying abroad hasn’t been possible or desirable for some college students since the pandemic started.

Now nearly three years into the pandemic, colleges in our area say studying abroad is back on.

For some college students getting the chance to study abroad is an exciting and important aspect of their four years.

“I think I am they have a lot they have something in Europe and something in Japan which looked cool” says, UVM Freshman Camryn Fortunato.

UVM freshman, Casey Murphy adds, “I’ve always really wanted to study abroad, if I got to choose where, it would definitely be somewhere in Europe, probably Ireland.”

When COVID-19 hit, programs got cut short, and some programs never happened.

“My sister she’s two years above me and she wasn’t able to do it because of COVID so it is really great that we will hopefully have the opportunity to do that” says, Murphy.

“There was a pretty significant gap of nearly two years of study abroad activity at the university. And I would just say now we’re getting restarted.”

Kim Howard is the Director of International Education at UVM, where hundreds of students choose to study in over 70 countries every year.

She says their application numbers are up compared to the pre-COVID Spring 2020 numbers and a recent study abroad fair attracted 17% more students than the pre COVID Spring 2020 fair.

“Students can grow their individual self confidence, their judgment, their ability to understand people from other places, hopefully improve another language for more than one language. So it’s exciting to be able to be back in business and doing that” says Howard.

And at Middlebury College, students can choose from 50 schools in 15 countries.

The college’s Dean of International Programs, Carlos Velez Blasini, says their applications are hitting if not better than pre pandemic levels, with around 550-600 students applying for next year.

“We live in a very interconnected and we also live in a world where we see a lot of conflict. And we think that right now it’s very important for us to be able to understand each other to speak each other’s languages to understand each other’s cultures” says, Vélez-Blasini.

But there are some restrictions due to the war in Ukraine as well as COVID.

Middlebury and UVM both say they don’t have plans to send students to Russia at the moment — and Middlebury says their schools in China and Morocco aren’t open currently to students due to COVID restrictions.

“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the fall with this situation in Russia and of course the situation in china as well because of travel restrictions there.”

At St. Michael’s college, director of study abroad, Peggy Imai says their application numbers are starting to uptick, but aren’t at pre pandemic levels just yet.

Imai says they have 25 students abroad currently compared to four in the fall in 11 countries.

We also reached out to Dartmouth College who told us in a statement that their enrollment for the summer through next spring in robust.

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https://www.wcax.com/2022/04/16/vermont-colleges-see-uptick-study-abroad-programs/

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