After two semesters of cancellation, students confirm university enrollments abroad.
By Matilde Pozzato / Matthew staff
JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY –– JCU degree-seekers enrolled in the Direct Exchange Program will study abroad next semester after a year of cancelations due to the pandemic. Of the 31 students who applied to study abroad in Spring 2022, 29 were accepted, and 22 of them have already confirmed their departure.
“We never officially canceled the program, as the evolution of the pandemic was unpredictable,” said the Coordinator of the Direct Exchange Program, Sonia Steinberg. In both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, students were able to apply but all those who got accepted ended up canceling.
Since JCU reopened its premises for in-person classes after lock-down, there has been a slight increase in the number of applications received, according to Steinberg.
JCU currently offers study abroad programs in 32 universities across the world. Twenty-one in the United States, 6 in Europe, 2 in Asia, 2 in Africa, and 1 in the Middle East.
JCU degree-seekers in Spring 2022 will attend eight universities: five in the United States, one in the UK, one in France, and one in South Korea.
Partner universities have the same number of places for JCU degree-seekers as before the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to Steinberg. This number varies depending on the university and on the semester.
California continues to be students’ top choice to study abroad, especially San Diego State University and the University of San Diego. Other universities of new interest for students are Rikkyo University in Tokyo and Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul. Students say that in a future post-pandemic scenario, they aim to study abroad in San Diego, New York, and the recently added Richmond University: The American International University in London.
Many students are ready to study abroad, and while destinations and expectations are different, the hunger for new experiences is common to all.
Junior International Affairs major Eleonora Cammarano is almost set to leave for the University of San Diego next semester. She said she wants to experience the West Coast and finally has the opportunity to attend an American university in the United States, given that the COVID-19 outbreak cut her dream short in 2020.
Cammarano said she wants to have new experiences on both the academic and social sides, and she hopes to “create bonds that will be bridges in my future career.”
If some students cannot wait to leave, others are stalling to see how the situation will settle down planning to study abroad in Fall 2022.
Junior International Affairs major Francesca Papalia’s application choices are the University of Miami and the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She said the process to apply is clear to her, although she said she is afraid of a new COVID-19 wave and is worried not to get in, even if she meets the general application requirements. Her main goal while abroad is to have fun: she said she wants to have a true American experience, travel the country, make new friends, and do extra-curricular activities.
For the Fall 2022 semester, the deadline to apply is Jan. 22, 2022. Steinberg says it is too early to know how many students will depart then.
Sophomore International Affairs major Kayla Kirkpatrick said she hopes to be an exchange student in Seoul in Fall 2022. She has never been to East Asia, and she said that being an exchange student in Seoul would allow her the experience the country as a local.
Information about the application process and deadlines for the Direct Exchange Program can be found on the program’s website. For further questions, students can contact Steinberg.
“That’s what I am here for,” she said.
Steinberg has been the Coordinator of the Global Exchange Program since Fall 2018. Her office is at the Critelli campus in the Visiting Students Admission Office. Steinberg alone oversees the outbound students – JCU degree seekers studying abroad.
For an application to be submitted to partner universities, the JCU Direct Exchange Program requires students to have a minimum GPA of 3.00, completion of the English Composition course with a minimum grade of B; sophomore standing and completion with a minimum of 15 credits at JCU. When applying, students are also requested to write a short essay explaining why they want to go to the selected school and select four courses they are interested in taking at the chosen university.
Meeting the general requirements does not automatically mean students will be accepted into the preferred university, as some programs are more selective than others. To give students more opportunities to go abroad, the Direct Exchange Program requires them to select a first and a second choice.
Once the student has been accepted, the admission steps vary according to each university.
After an initial hesitation to study in a new country while the world is still assessing the new normality, students’ desire for in-person interactions with others, the curiosity to discover new places, and the need to finally leave the house are increasing at a fast rate, making student mobility a priority not just for schools but also for students, who are strongly pushed to save money for the experience and improve their academic results to get scholarships to finance the period abroad.
In this scenario, universities that can offer a safe space abroad as well as efficient and quick possibilities to switch to remote learning if needed will be the ones to thrive, according to experts.
Study abroad students from universities across the world are encouraged to make backup plans for the Spring 2022 semester as circumstances can change at any minute. Moreover, students are applying to universities in more than one country to ensure they won’t be caught off guard if border regulations change.
Universities are aware that it is imperative to be ready for any unexpectedness. While it is impossible to foresee a concrete scenario for next semester, curious and motivated degree-seekers are bringing student mobility back since the pandemic began.
Direct Exchange Program contacts: email@example.com