Ready to study abroad after Covid? When we talk about “normality” “returning to how it was before covid” it makes me smile. As if it were going to be the same. As if any personal experience that forces you get out of your comfort zone, were not going to change you. And as we have all experience in the world, we didn’t even have to leave our countries, homes or even relatives behind to test our resiliance.
Study abroad students are back. Yet when Covid was still around. We see international students again having one of the best experiences of their lives. But as we all know, because we are still experiencing Covid in our lives, with many differences.
This”Study abroad after Covid” post is to our BSA students who had the guts to study with us this Spring and Summer terms. Our brave students who not only had to leave their comfort zone, but to re-adapt their lives to a study abroad experience with Covid 19 restrictions. This is what they went through.
There are nine Spanish consulates in the US territory. At first sight, it seems that there is plenty of time and many opportunities for our students to get their visas. However, the reality is that when you start searching their different websites, you realize that they don’t have an unified criteria in their requirements. Study abroad providers and administrators start getting crazy as of how to inform their students as of what they need to request their visas.
To make things worse, we live in Covid 19 times and this affected the embassies and their staff. Either because they had to accommodate all the different appointments from in-person to on-line or mail. Or they had to close down offices now and then due to somebody infected. And at last but not least, a problem that was more obvious in emergency situation: lack of personell working. The thing is that, our students in many cases had to wait weeks to receive their visa to buy their flight tickets.
Proof of vaccination
Another new requirement for our students to attend the BSA program was the proof of vaccination. Our priority in the program is the safety and security of our students with us. Since they were going to spend a lot of time together in class with other students, in cultural activities and excursions, it was a must. But also, we neeeded to take care of the people they were going to be involved with. These are host families, volunteer and internship sites staff and members, CLM professors and students, etc.
Since we follow the Spanish law, the proof of vaccination was also a requirement to enter in the country and in the majority of public places.
Language classes and internships
Another effort our students did was following class explanations with faculty wearing a mask. In our general lives, we tend to look at the mouth of the person who talks to us, as a way to follow the conversation. When learning in a foreign language, and not being able to use this important resource, requires more effort from students to follow the classes.
It is the same when participating in one of our internships, experiential learning or volunteer programs. The limitation of the interaction when wearing masks is harder to overcome when you are out of your comfort zone, immersed in a different culture and language.
Many students take advantage of studying in Spain to travel to other European countries but this was another challenge they faced this academic year. The BSA program didn’t prohibit students to travel abroad but highly recommended them against it. The reason was the travel restrictions of each country to enter of leave them. That would impede students from going to class.
However, our students managed to enjoy their personal travels. Spain being such a diverse country, they enjoyed different languages, foods and cultures by simply going to Barcelona, Valencia o Cádiz.
Study Abroad students are back!. They were ready to have the experience of their lives and we are sure they truly did. No need to say that we are very proud of them given the circumstances with Covid still these days. Our students demonstrated a level of empathy, patience, resiliance and collaboration that we never expected. Their willingness to learn the culture and the history of Granada and Spain was outstanding. They made the most out of their time in Granada in both Spring and Summer programs and yet, we learnt with them. We have more than 20 years of experience but these 7 students were the first ones for BSA and they will remain fondly in our hearts.