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Study Abroad Takes The Right Steps During COVID-19

Maria Darley in the JSAC

Studying abroad offers students a global perspective and memories they will carry forever. The world may look a little different right now, but Augusta University Director of Study Abroad, Maria Darley, knows that with additional health precautions and modified course delivery, Jagnation can still experience a robust traveling and learning opportunity amidst COVID-19.

“We are moving ahead as if things are going to get better, but we are aware that there is a situation and things could change, get better, or get worse… So we are monitoring it,” Darley said. “Also we work with what the Department of State says and what the CDC levels are. We also tell people that we treat each trip individually – you have to, because every country is so different.”

When the public and multiple countries gained awareness of COVID-19, the Study Broad Office called off all trips for the safety of students and have strategically been planning a return to traveling abroad. There are cutoff points for when they need to make decisions on each trip. Depending on what the situation is in those few weeks leading up to those dates, will help us make a decision. December 1st is the deadline to decide which Spring 2021 programs are still going and March 1st is the cutoff for Summer 2021.

For anyone fearful of traveling overseas, AU also offers domestic trips and plans to travel to New York, North Carolina, and a special trip called Deep South. The Deep South trip is an intense immersion in the Civil Rights Movement with stops in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Montgomery, and Selma.

Augusta University is known for its academic excellence and student-focused environment. The academic experience is enhanced through institutional support for study abroad programs. Students are able to adventure and explore 20 study abroad opportunities at AU. Programs change from year to year, so there is an opportunity for everyone.

With all the changes from COVID-19, the students are still hungry to experience other cultures and learn from afar.

“Since we opened our deposits on Sept. 1st, we have seen a surprising demand from our students to sign up for programs,” Darley said. “One of our programs is already full and the other is almost full. This is telling us that students want to travel sooner than later. Our annual study abroad fair had intentional traffic and students seeking these type of opportunities.”

It is clear that students are seeking out trips and craving the unique interaction that comes with studying abroad. This spring and summer in 2021, AU Study Abroad is offering trips to New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, Greece, Jamaica, Ecuador, Mexico, Ireland, South Africa, Italy, New York, and North Carolina.

Visit the Study Abroad Office to see upcoming trips, how to get involved, and what precautions are being taken for COVID-19.

Darley supports faculty, staff, and students with the details of planning study abroad and study away programs. She works to market all programs to students to help them make the decision on which study abroad/away program is the best option. With over 24 years in higher education, Darley has worked in various student services roles with Augusta University since 2003 after stints at Florida State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

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Taylor Lamb

Taylor Lamb is the Digital Content Manager at Augusta University Contact him at talamb@augusta.edu.

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