Semester-long study abroad programs resume at full capacity

Jacklyn Pellegrino, Staff Writer

Quinnipiac University students are able to study abroad after a nearly two-year hiatus amid the ongoing pandemic.

Erin Sabato, director of global learning, said that a limited study abroad program resumed for the fall 2021 semester, with students traveling to Cork, Ireland, where they attended University College Cork. Over winter break, three students studied in Ireland, 16 studied in Spain, 14 studied in Costa Rica and five students studied in Mexico. 

This semester, there are 83 students in Spain and Ireland. There will also be a few short-term programs during spring break, in May and in the summer.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

Sabato said students have many options for studying abroad. Besides traveling for a full semester, students can partake in a short-term affiliate program where they can study abroad during the winter, spring or summer breaks. 

Some faculty members also lead semester-long courses that have a travel component for students either mid-way through or at the end of the semester. 

Sabato said that there are new COVID-19 protocols for studying abroad, such as students applying through a portal for all study abroad opportunities. She said that ​​the biggest change is making sure that every student is applying, enrolled and registered in the portal.

“Safety and security has always been our main priority even before the pandemic,” Sabato said. “We do discuss with students the different safety and security policies that we have in place. I would say that things haven’t changed too much because we’ve always been concerned with our student’s safety and well-being.”

Samantha Niblock, a second-year 3+1 computer information systems and accounting double major, is currently studying in Cork, Ireland. She said that she has seen so much in a month and “it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

 “I wanted to study abroad in Cork because I have always heard how beautiful Ireland was, and I wanted to gain that experience and be able to travel to other countries while I am there,” Niblock said.

Niblock said the COVID-19 protocols were “pretty intense.” She said practically all establishments closed at 8 p.m., but restrictions were lifted Jan. 22, and protocols are pretty similar to “home.”

 “The (application) process was a bit scary during the pandemic because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to go but other than that fear, it was very smooth and COVID-19 did not get in the way of being able to come,” Niblock said.

Kaitlyn Fitzgerald (top left), Keirsten Dunn (top middle), Samantha Niblock (top right), Nicole Miller (bottom left) and Amanda Callahan (bottom right) visited Blarney Castle and Gardens in Cork, Ireland. (Photo contributed by Samantha Niblock)

Deveney Paine, a second-year 3+1 advertising and graphic and interactive design double major, is abroad this semester in Seville, Spain. She said she chose to travel to Spain to improve her language skills.

“Spain is great,” Paine said. “It rarely dips below 60°F, and it’s sunny almost (every) day of the year. The people are very nice, and the architecture is beautiful.”

Paine said most of her classes are centric to Spain, including Gender Views in Spanish Media, History and Mythology in Spain and Spanish Literary Myths. 

Regarding the country’s COVID-19 protocols, Paine said they are similar to those in the U.S., but “the people here are much better about following them.”

Sophomore nursing major Maggie Londregan is also studying in Cork, Ireland, this semester and said she has already experienced some cultural differences.

 “Some of the biggest differences I have noticed is how Irish people speak,” Londregan said. “There are a lot of phrases and words that we don’t use in America.”

Londregan said that the classroom environment is similar to Quinnipiac. Although, there are some key differences.

“Professors are called ‘lecturers,’ and Irish students skip class a lot more than we do in America,” Londregan said. “Also, Irish students don’t say ‘I have class at 8’ they would say ‘I have college at 8.’”

 Niblock and Londregan are taking various introductory classes in Ireland such as  Introduction to Irish Music, Introduction to Irish Folklore, Irish Step Dancing and Irish History. Students studying abroad also have the opportunity to live with Quinnipiac students or students from other schools, such as the University of Massachusetts, University of Vermont, University of North Carolina and University of Alabama.

“I am living with four other Quinnipiac students, but we just met and it worked out so well for us,” Niblock said.

Londregan said she has been able to ride horses through the mountains with her friends in Dingle, Ireland and Niblock has traveled to Dublin, Galway, and Cobh, Ireland.

“I highly recommend studying abroad,” Niblock said. “It is amazing to be able to live in another country, embrace their culture, meet new people, and travel to so many other countries while I’m there.”

Sabato advises that students should plan early, talk to the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, attend the information sessions and meet with staff from the department individually  to learn more about study abroad opportunities.

 “We’re really excited that students are excited to travel again, we really look forward to supporting students throughout their time here,” Sabato said. “There are so many options, and I want students to be aware of all of them so come and talk to us, stop by our office hours, because we’re really here to help and support their global learning goals.”