You either study abroad and risk your health and the health of others or you forego studying abroad altogether. However, it’s entirely possible to partially mitigate the risks involved with traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic if you pay attention to safety measures in place and pursue destinations with reputable safety protocols on the national and local levels.
It’s also important to note that if your provider or university allows you to delay your semester abroad, weighing the opportunity to see if there are improvements regarding COVID-19 worldwide is an option to consider. Your comfort level is the ultimate decision maker, so always respect your personal boundaries.
Safety Tips For Students Studying Abroad During or After Covid
1. Choosing Airline with High Safety Standards
In regards to flying, if passengers wear surgical masks continuously, very little of the virus spreads, because of how the air is circulated and filtered on the planes. This is great news for the safety of those traveling. It’s also important to choose airlines that have high safety standards. These airlines are enforcing all four of these important safety precautions: masks required, providing masks, cleaning before every flight, and blocking the middle seat from purchase.
2. Utilize Helpful Pandemic Tracking Resources
COVID-19 Risk is Very Low include Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and 24 others. Study abroad locations such as New Zealand and Thailand are ranked low risk. Consider choosing a study abroad provider, such as IFSA, that offers significant pre-departure, on-site, and post-program support. Make sure your provider is monitoring details such as making sure the location’s border is open to U.S. travelers and providing plans for a two week quarantine if required.
3. Reach Out to Students Studying Abroad Through Social Media
Students are studying abroad right now and you can follow along on Instagram and blogs. Most students welcome giving advice to others looking to study abroad so send them a message on Instagram and you’ll be able to connect with them directly. Knowing what to expect during a semester abroad during COVID-19 will put your mind at ease, and you can gather some detailed study abroad safety tips.
After doing your research on destinations that are safe, it’s important to focus on your academics and interests. One of the most crucial factors in deciding where to study abroad is how the program, location, classes, professors, and activities excite you academically and personally. Reading the program listings thoroughly, and researching which classes, extra curriculars, and activities are offered will help you find a program that you will enjoy safely.
5. Read Blogs and Listen to Podcasts
The best way to calm your nerves and get valuable information is by listening to those who are studying abroad right now. Blogs from program alumni are also a great way to learn about what to expect. A quick Google search will return multiple accounts of student experiences studying abroad during COVID-19, and how the experience has changed perspectives for the better. Hearing from your peers will definitely give you insight into the safety and experience of studying abroad during the pandemic.