Upcoming media sessions will solidify plans for the return of global learning
Written by: Yasmine Abdel Dayem
After a long hiatus, CSI’s study abroad programs will be back in operation in the summer of 2022 and beyond.
“All of our sites are back with in-person courses,” said Stephen First, Executive Director of the Center for Global Engagement. “Many of them have some online component and are willing to go online in case of a ban.”
Every Tuesday, CSI’s study abroad advisors host sessions via Zoom to brief students on returning programs. Past fall 2021 sessions have discussed international credit tolerance programmes, such as those in China and Japan.
Final sessions for the fall semester will take place on November 30 and December 7 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., which will review funding for trips and general information about the program.
After a stagnation since early 2020, CSI’s study abroad portal now lists nearly 50 programs with updated application deadlines and tentative dates for 2022. Options range from geology in Edinburgh to film studies in Paris to life sciences in Taiwan.
Since the pandemic began, many schools that were part of the Consortium of Colleges for International Studies have closed study abroad offices. CSI has taken many new programs from those universities, with studies in Liverpool, Barcelona, Brussels and others.
For most summer and fall 2022 programs, application deadlines are around mid-March, so now is the time for students to consider traveling abroad for future semesters.
If students’ indecision prevented them from applying for spring, they likely made the right call. Existing spring semester applicants are advised to apply for CSI credits as a Plan B.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an overwhelming number of countries are at Level 3 and 4 — a high risk of COVID-19. Adjustments to the spring program are likely, and stricter vaccine mandates are the only hope of a shift in the level of risk by summer, at the earliest.
First sent 200-300 students a year abroad before the pandemic. About 50% of CSI students were and only five to seven percent of CSI’s baccalaureate students graduate with international experience. Staff would like to encourage students to study abroad, but the COVID-induced uncertainty surrounding travel and enduring financial factors pose strong opposition.
In terms of affordability, winter and summer courses get more attention, as opposed to semester-long programs that can cost close to $26,000. Three overseas credits would be less than a quarter of that. Students who receive federal PELL scholarships can apply to study abroad, which can cover just under $1,000.
Financial aid has its limitations, so students often have to move elsewhere. Michelle Callahan, fellowship and scholarship advisor, assists with scholarship applications, such as the prestigious Gilman Scholarship, received by 19 City University of New York students in 2021.
The Global Chancellor’s Scholarship is an option that only applies to CUNY students who attend CUNY programs, which has sparked controversy.
“The goal is to internationalize CUNY as much as possible,” said John Dunleavy, study abroad advisor. “Why should it just be programs we charge fees for, when my number one priority is getting students abroad?”
While the process can be daunting and exclusive at times, nursing student Gabriella Costanza was awarded $5,500 in grants, with money to set aside after paying for the program.
Before the March 2020 closing, Costanza went to Lorenzo de’ Medici for a winter training course on nutrition. Free time during those four weeks was marked by long walks in Tuscany, wine tastings, and weekend trips to Milan and Rome. She cites cultural experience as an integral part of the interactions she will have with her patients.
According to Dunleavy, several applications have been submitted for the Summer and Fall 2022 sessions.
“Overcoming your fears is a big thing,” Costanza said. “But it cultivated a sense of independence that, like everything I had to do, wasn’t in anyone else’s hands.”