Study Abroad

Study+Abroad

Rebecca Meghani

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, on-campus operations were all forced to go online.
Students and departments alike adjusted and arranged their lives to operate remotely in order to
continue school safely. While there were difficult transitions in all areas of campus, the study
abroad program and their participants got the brunt of it. Study abroad courses for the
remainder of the spring 2020 and all of summer 2020 semester were canceled.

Since last fall, there have been potential plans to restart this summer with the program
overseas. Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 concerning restrictions and border
closures, the International Education Center announced that GC has withdrawn all summer
2021 Study Abroad programs.

There are some students who plan to join Study Abroad programs at other institutions and
organizations. Regarding if students are required to be tested for COVID-19 or if they must be
vaccinated in order to travel, since GC is not having any programs this summer, students should
follow the regulations set by the organizations and institutions they will be participating with, by
both countries.

There is a continuing uncertainty for the future of study abroad at GC because of the on-going
pandemic, but everything is being carefully watched to plan accordingly.

“We’re always watching closely to the changes in regulations, expectations and the paths of the
virus and its variants,” stated Liz Havey, Assistant Director of Education Abroad. “We are
cautiously optimistic about restarting faculty led study abroad programs in the near future.”
There were many adjustments made last year in GC due to the pandemic that arrived abruptly.
Unfortunately, all study abroad programs were cancelled and many students missed out on the
opportunity to travel during the Summer of 2020.

Jolie Roberge, a junior mass communication major, planned to go to Paris, France during
summer 2020.

“Though I’ve always dreamed about going to Paris and studying there for college, it’s something
that is not going to work out due to time, job and internship commitments I have to take care of
in order to graduate in time,” explained Roberge. “I’m not planning to go this summer or fall
because there are a lot of classes that would not be offered to me.”

Similarly, Alex Spagnuolo, a sophomore mass communication major, was also supposed to go
to Paris, France during Summer 2020. Unlike Roberge, she plans to try to attend a Study
Abroad program during summer 2022.

“I was doing the Paris program for my GC2Y and humanities core class but I’m going to try and
find a study abroad for my major.” explained Spagnuolo referring to her future potential study
abroad program for next summer.

For Education Abroad, COVID-19 taught them something new when working with
rapidly-changing variables. Already preparing ahead of time, in fall 2019, they had begun efforts
to internationalize the campus in ways that would not require physical travel and in January
2021, they launched Border-Free GC.

“Border-Free GC aims to bring international opportunities and experience to all Bobcats,
overcoming both real and perceived barriers.” explained Havey. “Through this innovative
initiative, we have worked with academic departments as well as student affairs units to host a
variety of virtual study abroad programs, shared courses, global conversations, creative writing
workshops and conferences and symposia with organizations and partner universities
overseas.”

While travelling overseas isn’t currently an option, GC has created a solution where all students
are provided an opportunity to gain diverse experiences in a different and exciting way. As a
liberal arts school, GC stands confident in their goal to provide a well rounded education and
broadened worldview for their students during their time on campus by using Border-Free
education.