Despite travel uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, the Spring Study Abroad Fair presented study abroad options for students for the upcoming semesters and was held in the Harper Ballroom last Thursday.

Students wishing to attend were required to register for a single, one-hour time slot through the Global Engagement Office in an effort to abide by COVID-19 safety procedures.

Although the ability to study abroad was taken from many students in the past year, the future potential for study abroad in 2021 seems hopeful.

Jill Muegge, director of study abroad and ILAC spoke on the likelihood of going abroad this coming fall.

“Our top priority is to make sure that students travel to destinations that have proven ready and capable to support the health and safety of students during this time,” said Muegge. “Realistically, not every destination in the world will meet these criteria in a time frame required for summer and fall 2021 travel, so the Global Engagement Office will make limited placement offers.”

The uncertainty of study abroad remains, yet Muegge emphasized the importance of going abroad for all students.

“I think studying abroad exposes students to so many new people, experiences, places, languages and food,” said Muegge. “All of these things help make you a well-rounded person and can play into your future in so many ways.”

Students who have experienced study abroad further spoke on the importance of encountering new cultures, food and life lessons.

“Study abroad opened my eyes to the inequalities that exist in the world and how communities are impacted by climate change,” said College of Arts and Sciences senior Olivia Burleigh, who studied in the Galápagos Islands.

Alexandra McDermott, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, also said that study abroad has had a large impact on her life.

“[Study abroad] broadens your perspective. Sometimes you have to experience something fully to have a change of heart,” said McDermott. “It’s really easy to dismiss something until you are fully immersed in a particular culture. It’s influenced my academic plan, changed my perspective, and changed my morals.”

“I am hoping to study abroad in Scotland come Fall 2021, but everything is still so up in the air. A big part of what will happen is determined by the University of Glasgow and how they feel. The state of the world is just too unpredictable at this point in time, but I’m latching onto hope.” Arts and Sciences junior, Eve Aspinwall.

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