Spring Term Abroad returns

Students and professors remain cautiously optimistic in light of COVID-19


The Center for Global Learning houses resources like the Center for International Education, the Global Discovery Laboratories and numerous language departments including Arabic and Russian. Photo by Lilah Kimble, ’23.

Luke Fountain

Spring term Abroad program (STA) is returning after a two-year cancellation hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

STA provides students with an up-close, personal experience for one immersive course based in a foreign country during the final four-week term of the year.

This year, the program kicked off with an informational Zoom meeting on Thursday, Oct. 7 to talk about logistics and course offerings. 

This year, 20 unique courses will be offered in locations that span multiple countries and regions including Scandinavia, China and  Costa Rica. 

Both Professor Haley Sigler, who will be co-teaching a course about childhood and education throughout Scandinavia, and Professor Mark Rush, the head of Spring Term Abroad program, stressed that precautions are being taken in regards to COVID-19. 

They remain hopeful that STA this year will be a success.

Sigler said that she even expects the number of students applying for Spring Term courses this year to be higher. 

“In normal, pre-COVID times there is already a demand for Spring Term Abroad courses that exceed the capacity,” she said. 

With STA being canceled two years in a row, she said she is assuming the interest will be greater.

But Rush fears that COVID-19 could actually deter some students from applying. 

“Ongoing travel concerns about COVID could dampen that demand,” he said. 

Camilla Beeley, ’22, had planned on studying in Ireland during her spring term of 2020 and  spending an entire semester at Oxford or St. Andrew’s in Scotland during 2021. 

Despite a change in plans, Beeley said the pandemic made her thankful to have faculty and staff who are working hard to give students opportunities to study abroad this year. 

But Beeley said students who are applying this year should be willing to alter their original expectations of what it means to receive a global education — especially because of the effects of COVID-19. 

“Studying abroad now includes how to travel safely, how the pandemic has affected the place you’ve gone to, and where your new area is with regard to their COVID protocols and procedures,” she said.