Studying abroad goes virtual

Studying abroad informational bulletin board. Photo credit to Lyniesha Lewis

While COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of life across the world, students studying abroad must also cope with change. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. This caused some students at Florida A&M University to have high expectations for the Office of International Education and Development, that it might resume the study abroad program. 

Unfortunately, university-sponsored international travel is still on hold and all study abroad is virtual for the time being. 

William T. Hyndman II, assistant vice president with OIED, said that before the pandemic more than 100 FAMU students were being sent abroad each year on short-term, summer, or spring break programs. 

 “It’s still not very safe to travel,” he said.

According to The Associated Press, the European Union has taken the United States off the safe travel list and backs travel restrictions. 

But Hyndman still encourages students to apply for study abroad scholarships. 

 Since the pandemic started there have been nine students who received the Gillman Scholarship but because of COVID, they weren’t able to reap the benefits. 

“We liked to see more students study abroad. My office has been working to promote study abroad on campus,” Hyndman said. 

Even though students want to get the most of their experience of studying overseas in an actual country, Christina Jane, a FAMU alumna who is working on a master’s in international relations at Webster University in Accra, Ghana. She encourages students to still make connections virtually. 

Before the pandemic things were different for Jane; the country was more open, with a lot of crowds, and different events to interact with different people. 

“It was amazing. The people were great the food was great it was just a better quality of life I’ve never been introduced to before,” Jane said. 

It’s been completely different for Jane since COVID’s arrival in March 2020. Few people came out for Ghana’s festivals, and COVID was always the topic of discussion. She added that COVID did change life in the country, but it’s great the programs are keeping studying abroad alive, even if it is virtually.  

“It’s changed in the sense of its now more virtual opportunities,” Jane said. 

For more information about studying aboard first look at the OIED website, then make an appointment to meet with an advisor in the Perry Paige building on FAMU’s campus.