Students that studied abroad during the spring were sent home due to the pandemic.

Education Abroad helps students travel the world while they work toward their degree. 

Recently due to concerns of COVID-19, the students’ time overseas was cut short. 

“Most all of IUP's Education Abroad students from spring 2020 have returned,” said Jessica Mulvihillm, director of Education Abroad.

Colin Hale a senior political science major was studying in Spain this semester when the outbreak began. 

“So IUP actually allowed us to stay if we wanted to in Spain,” said Hale. “All the other universities sent their students home while IUP sent us an extensive email and paper we would sign in order to stay. Most people went home then or shortly after the recall of citizens to the U.S.”

Spain began taking precautions earlier than the U.S. and is now beginning to ease on restrictions. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said each region would relax restrictions at a different pace, depending on the severity of its outbreak.

“Being in Spain who was affected before the U.S., just hearing about the stories of the other Spanish cities closing, we became worried as students that we were next to be sent home,” said Hale. “I wasn’t scared or anything, but at first, I wanted to stay there and finish. I soon realized it was better for me to go home and be with friends and family during this time.”

The country had some of the toughest containment measures since March 14. 

“I didn’t experience much of the shut down in Spain but they’re a lot harsher than the U.S.,” said Hale. “You’re only allowed to leave the house to go to the grocery store or walk your pet. The police are patrolling the streets and will question you like they did with us as we were waiting at the bus stop to go to Madrid. But you’re only allowed to go out by yourself, no one with you. It just didn’t seem very appealing to stay as there is a bit more freedom here, and I came home to see my family.”

The future of Education Abroad is not cemented yet, but Mulvihill has hopes for the fall semester that students will be able to travel. 

“Summer 2020 is suspended,” said Mulvihill. “We're moving forward with in-person study abroad for fall 2020, but we won't know until later this summer if this would change. Changes from the pandemic are affecting everyone across the globe, but with time, study abroad will rebound, and people will travel again for academic, cultural and personal reasons.”

Education Abroad is available to all students and majors. Information workshops are held at 5 p.m. each Wednesday on Zoom, and the final meeting is May 6. If you are interested learning more about the program, email to sign up for the Zoom meeting, or for more information visit the IUP office of international education website.

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