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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s resumes study abroad programs

“Samantha Franzman ’23 on her study tour in Positano, Italy on Sept. 25th PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMANTHA FRANZMAN ’23”

Study abroad programs are back for the 2021-22 academic year.

Last semester, all semesters abroad, as well as study tours and summer programs for the 2020-21 academic year, were canceled due to covid-19. This semester, St. Joe’s has 15 students currently studying abroad and 40 to 50 students are expected to study abroad for the spring semester in 2022, according to Thomas Kesaris, the director of the Center for International Programs. 

Kesaris said deciding whether or not to cancel a study abroad program last year was difficult, and this year, the university thoroughly reviewed each program looking to run for this year before approving it. 

“We have been impressed by students’ resilience in the face of these decisions, and are heartened to see many exploring alternative study abroad programs this year or looking into international opportunities after graduation,” Kesaris wrote in response to written questions from The Hawk. 

Kesaris said students currently abroad are faced with having to navigate the changing covid-19 guidelines in their country. However, that doesn’t make study abroad programs impossible.

 “With adaptability, thoughtful expectation-setting and careful planning, students can still have the meaningful intercultural exchange and learning that makes study abroad such an important experience,” Kesaris said. 

Samantha Franzman ’23 is studying in Rome, Italy at John Cabot University. Franzman said she didn’t want to give up the opportunity to study abroad, and although she must wear a mask around the campus and when traveling, she says her experience so far has been amazing. 

“[Going] abroad is such an incredible experience that you really can’t understand until you do it,” Franzman said. “My favorite part so far has been getting to travel to a new place every single weekend.”

Franzman encourages other students to study abroad even if they are hesitant about it. 

“You will regret it more if you don’t go than if you do go. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you can’t get this back,” Franzman said. 

James Gordon ’22 is planning to go to Germany in January 2022 to participate in a one-week long study tour: “A Good Life: Health, Sustainability, Community in Germany.” Gordon made the decision after getting vaccinated for covid-19. 

“It might be pretty different just because of wearing masks everywhere and some things might be shut down,” Gordon said. “But I figured it’s still a pretty similar experience.”

Mackenzie Allen ’23 is also planning to study abroad in the spring semester of 2022 and plans to study in Florence, Italy. 

“I’ve always wanted to study abroad since coming to college. That’s always been in the back of my mind,” Allen said. “So far it looks promising and hopefully we’ll be able to go.” 

Kesaris wants students who are interested in studying abroad to know that valuable international experiences are still possible, even with the changes and challenges the pandemic has brought about. 

“We will continue to monitor evolving conditions and make informed decisions regarding the status of study abroad programs, as well as help our students to prepare for study abroad in the current travel environment.” Kesaris said. 

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