Study abroad program in full swing as students embrace education abroad

(Photo courtesy of Kaia Hayes)

The pandemic has presented obstacles and hiccups to studying abroad, but now more Kansas State students are studying abroad again as programs and universities adapt.

Acting Director of Education Abroad Brent Holliday said there are currently 82 students abroad, with several more going abroad this semester and about 20 students who have studied abroad. last fall. About 210 students would study abroad in a typical spring term before the pandemic.

Interior Architecture and Product Design MA student Lauren Rudd is studying abroad in Orvieto, Italy. Rudd said the experience has been amazing so far.

“The town here looks like it was taken out of a storybook… The first few days we were here, [the locals] showed us the historic sights of the city like the duomo and the underground cave system, and now we spend our days drinking espresso, taking classes and eating gelato,” Rudd said.

Even so, COVID-19 has changed parts of the experience.

“We have to wear masks all the time and we have to show our vaccination cards every time we enter a new store or restaurant,” Rudd said. “The biggest thing that COVID has affected has been the process of getting here. We had to self-isolate a week to two weeks before we left to make sure we didn’t get COVID. And then we had to test negative 72 hours before arriving in Italy.

Through the odds, students like French hotel management junior Kaia Hayes, who is studying in Aix-en-Provence, France, still found the experience of studying abroad worthwhile because it is a unique opportunity to be a student in another country.

“Exploring new cities is cool, but taking classes and experiencing daily life in another country is something you won’t get otherwise,” Hayes said. “There are so many advantages to living abroad while studying. There are discounts on everything for students in Europe, and there are plenty of programs for students.

Education Abroad Advisor Kelly Plazibat said K-State is better prepared to handle COVID-19 overseas with its new insurance policy.

“Fortunately, K-State has recently started working with a new international insurance provider,” Plazibat said. “They cover the cost of quarantine, so hospitalizations, meals, and other quarantine-related expenses are now covered by KSU’s international insurance policy under which students are all covered when they go to school. abroad as part of one of our programs.”

Holliday said another upside to studying abroad during the pandemic is that students can spend more time in their host country.

“There has been a shift towards more singular location experiences rather than multi-country study tours for obvious reasons — mostly related to regulations around COVID,” Holliday said. “A good thing is that students engage more with their host country and city, and develop more friendships locally.”

Hayes agreed with Holliday, saying she had already benefited a lot from the friendships she made overseas.

“I didn’t know how many people I would meet, which is so cool,” Hayes said. “I’ve made so many friends and I’m already close with my roommate. I’m excited to continue building those relationships.

If you’re interested in going overseas, Rudd suggests doing so.

“I haven’t even been here in ten days and I’m so in love with this experience,” Rudd said. “Being here – completely immersed in another culture completely different from mine – pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to grow in new ways. I love who I am as a person more because of that.

Holliday said students should take the first step and meet with their education abroad advisor if they are curious about what opportunities might be available to them through an education abroad experience. .

“Meeting someone in our office is a great first step, and you’re not committed to anything at this step,” Holliday said. “It’s just about learning and exploring the opportunities that are out there.”

“If students want to have a study abroad experience, I don’t want them to feel like they can’t right now,” Plazibat said. “We are doing everything we can to make this a reality for them.”

The Overseas Education Office is located at 304 Fairchild hall and can be contacted at [email protected]

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