LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After a year confined to U.S. borders, study abroad programs are taking off. Students who couldn’t travel last year will get a second chance in just a few weeks.
“So it’s been a very disruptive year, but we are excited and eager to send our students abroad again,” Sukant Misra, Vice Provost of International Affairs at Texas Tech University said.
Texas Tech will send more than 300 students to Spain, Costa Rica and 10 other countries this summer.
“Overall, we feel that this is going to be a successful year, a successful start to normalcy for us,” Misra said.
Misra says the university will be stricter than normal on travel to other countries after students arrive.
For countries that require a negative COVID-19 test, he says testing will be available.
“Even if there’s restrictions, and obviously whatever restrictions Spain or the U. S. government has we will abide by, but even if you’re going to wear a mask in Europe, you’re going to be in Europe,” Heather Howell, Director of Global Campus at Lubbock Christian University said.
Howell says it was heartbreaking to tell students trips were cancelled last year.
She plans to send 12 students to Avila, Spain, in the fall. Eight of those couldn’t go last year.
Normally, students get a week-long fall break and spend the last week of the semester in London.
“And so, it all depends on are other European countries even allowing American citizens to cross the border. And so, that’s kind of what we’re watching right now, is how much travel can students have when they actually get there,” Howell said.
Both are optimistic that students will benefit from the programs soon.
“To be able to interact with people they never get an opportunity to interact with, to visit sites, to do things on their own,” Misra said.
“Once you learn how to travel, your whole world is available and open to any possibility,” Howell said.
Both universities are encouraging students to get a COVID-19 vaccine before they go, but won’t require one.
Misra says he’s expecting a boom in interest for study abroad in the next few years, as students are hungry and eager to get back to normalcy.