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COVID-19 and learning abroad

Keeping students safe is important.

Among the damage caused by this pandemic, COVID-19 has hit international education very hard. International student mobility, the very foundation of learning abroad, is based on the ability of our students to travel around the world for academically rigorous and personally beneficial learning experiences—something the pandemic has severely disrupted. However, there are positive changes that should be highlighted.

Virtual programming

With COVID-19 precautions and a reduction in international travel, the field of international education has had to embrace virtual programming. While in-person programs will remain popular, the move to virtual programming has many positives for students.

Virtual international programs offer unique courses taught by professors in host countries, which may not be offered on our main campus. Since these programs are accessible anywhere, students who may not have been able to participate on learning abroad programs in the past, are now able to. The cost, both time and money, is lower as well. Many students at the University of Utah work while attending school—virtual programs are cheaper, more cost-effective and can be done from home, making them more accessible to many.

Virtual international internships have also gained in popularity. For the first time, the U has had students participate on virtual internships working for international companies and organizations around the world. Despite being stuck at home, students have taken advantage of virtual international internships to add valuable work experience to their resume.

If you are interested in participating on a virtual internship or program, check out upcoming information sessions during our program preview week.

Utah Asia Campus

The University of Utah’s Asia Campus (UAC) in Songdo, South Korea, has been growing in popularity since its founding in 2014. The UAC has become a top destination for students wanting to study communication, psychology, film and media arts, urban ecology, public health and biomedical informatics. As of writing, the UAC is considering adding more areas of study. Given the UAC’s status as a University of Utah campus, Learning Abroad has been able to offer semester-long programs at the UAC despite the pandemic. In spring 2021, we saw our highest number of students attend the UAC through Learning Abroad.

If you are interested in participating on a program at the UAC, check out the upcoming information session during our program preview week.

The future, post-pandemic

We look forward to the day when we can send students abroad on impactful learning abroad programs. Until then, the field of international education will continue to innovate so that all our students can benefit from international education.