The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of plans for people around the world, and one of its biggest implications being travel. This doesn’t just affect vacations and business trips, but also the lives of university students, specifically those who planned to spend time studying abroad during their academic careers.
In the first few months of the outbreak, Florida State University canceled its Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 international programs in accordance with CDC guidelines to avoid all non-essential travel. Howver, they weren’t the only ones. FSU students that were studying overseas were asked to return to the U.S. and self-isolate as soon as possible, lest they risk travel restrictions barring them from flying home any later.
Since then, some spring study abroad options have been canceled, while others are expected to proceed as planned. Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 are also currently expected to remain open for applicants, but the International Programs department has cautioned that they will keep monitoring the virus, as the situation could change.
[bf_image id="q4s6il-gd0h4-9lzrab"] However, both FSU International Programs (IP) and Global Exchanges have not stopped recruiting for students still interested in spending some school time overseas. IP continues to hold virtual information sessions multiple times a week and has set a Sep. 23 commitment fee deadline for students wishing to enroll in spring semester abroad. Likewise, Global Exchanges has established a daily meeting schedule, virtually, for any students wishing to learn more about or begin the process of studying abroad.
The steps are the same as any other year. After attending an information session, students are encouraged to browse the programs and locations offered by FSU IP or Global Exchanges, and select the one that best suits their academic and personal goals. They then have the opportunity to speak either with their own academic advisor or one especially well-versed in FSU’s study abroad options. After the research and advising phase, the application process is next. Application fees and acceptance rates can vary based on what program a student is seeking to enroll in. But generally speaking, having a better academic profile places someone in higher standing.
Florida State is ranked No. 11 among other U.S. institutions for its study-abroad programs. FSU International Programs offers official study centers in London, Valencia, Florence and Panama City, as well as curriculum-focused programs in other locations around the world, such as First Year Abroad and internship options. FSU Global Exchanges offers even more opportunities, with over 45 partner universities across the globe for students to enroll at while paying Florida State tuition. FSU IP and Global Exchanges both emphasize that travelling with their programs will offer students a chance at rich cultural immersion, unique academic coursework and personal independence and development, all with the support of the university and its staff.
While the majority of college students don’t participate in overseas programs during their undergraduate careers, over 34,000 did during the 2017 to 2018 academic year, a number which continues to rise annually. What Florida State and thousands of other institutions of higher learning decide to do over the next few months will certainly be watched closely by many.