FAYETTEVILLE, Ark, (KNWA/KFTA) – After being canceled a year ago, it was recently announced that study abroad could be returning to the U of A as early as this Summer.
Elizabeth Lankford is a student a the University of Arkansas, and someone who remembers the end of the study abroad like it was just yesterday.
“We knew the situation, Italy was getting bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was and everyone was freaking out. It was terrifying, it was scary, I mean it was a new virus no one really knew,” says Lankford.
Like Lankford, the Director of Study Abroad Sarah Malloy agrees studying abroad is an important part of a students’ education. But, the reopening needs to be a thoughtful one.
“The mission of our office is to help bring our students to the world, to help them gain global competencies, but we also have to do this in a way that’s careful and a slow reopening,” says Malloy.
Associate Dean of International Education, Curt Rom says the plan right now is to open the Rome Center in Italy. The Rome Center is the University of Arkansas’ European campus that has been in business for more than 30 years now.
Due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19, Rom can’t say for certain which other countries the program will include.
“We will be looking at local infection rates, local access to medical testing,” says Rom, “so we will look at all of those and what access we have to provide a safe experience for our students.”
Lankford is one student who trusts the measures the university is taking and is looking forward to the possibility of going back.
“Without a doubt, I’m actually looking into an internship over the summer in England,” says Lankford.
Associate Dean Rom says while the tentative plan is to restart study abroad in May, students looking to sign up can expect more decisions come April.