Education Abroad Emerges from a COVID-19 Hiatus with 20+ Offerings

A young woman walks away from 100s of yards of castle walls and behind them a hillside of adobe-topped residences
Joselyn Villarruel '21 in summer 2018, when she participated in Education Abroad's summer program in Madrid.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 11, 2022) — One of the biggest jolts to higher education institutions from the COVID-19 pandemic was endured by study abroad programs. UAlbany’s was no exception.

Now, however, it is time for a comeback.

Back in early 2020, UAlbany Education Abroad boasted 80 distinct worldwide offerings that allowed 200 of the University’s students to study overseas in the summer and fall of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. Additionally, there were 166 students signed up for spring 2020 UAlbany study abroad programs.

In January 2020 amid COVID concerns, a UAlbany student studying in China was brought back to the United States. By March, study abroad began grinding to a halt as SUNY recommended that all participating students return to the United States and all summer programs worldwide be canceled. In April, several fall semester programs began being canceled and, on June 23, all fall 2020 programs were suspended.

Semester after semester likewise went by the wayside, until this past spring. UAlbany Education Abroad opened applications for six summer 2022 programs and 16 semester programs for Fall 2022 and academic year 2022-23; about 100 students signed up.

Two young women on the deck of a ship in open waters
Junior Helena Horvat, at right, took advantage of this year's renewed UAlbany study abroad via the program in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, she enjoys a pleasure cruise with a friend.

Renée DeCelle, Education Abroad’s director, described UAlbany’s reopening approach as “cautious,” with limited programs and destinations available. “Evaluations are based on global travel conditions, health and safety guidelines, re-opening protocols from SUNY System Administration and UAlbany priorities,” she said. “The process of review and approval to re-open programs and destinations will be ongoing and is subject to change.”

DeCelle expressed confidence that UAlbany’s Education Abroad positive trajectory will continue. “We’re looking forward to once again providing accessible and inclusive global learning programs, experiences and curricula intended to equip students with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to be responsive citizens in an ever-changing world,” she said.

Students can explore available programs on the Education Abroad website through its “explore locations” and “discover subjects” drop-down features. In addition, scholarships and information can be found on the Education Abroad’s “Finances” link.  

“Students seeking more information can also reach out to a member of our dedicated Education Abroad team,” said DeCelle. “We’re ready and available to guide you in planning for your future experience abroad. Let’s go!”

Key Numbers

UAlbany-administered programs with the most applicants include a new offering in Valencia, Spain (12 students) for Fall 2022 or AY22/23; Yonsei University in Korea for its semester program (11), plus six more students for that university’s summer program; and Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy (nine for the semester program and four more for the summer program).

On par with pre-COVID years, the most represented majors of those studying abroad are Business (12), Psychology (nine), Political Science (nine) and Communication (eight). Fifty percent of current applicants identify racially as non-white, a 7% increase from AY19/20. Approximately 39% of current applicants are Pell grant recipients, on par with AY19-20. 

Why study abroad? “This can be one of the most rewarding, valuable experiences you will have during college,” said DeCelle. “Check out our student stories. Study abroad students attest that their experiences helped them grow as students, future professionals and persons. Study abroad really allowed them to reshape their futures.”