When In Rome

For the first time since March 2020, Sacred Heart University has sent their students back to being abroad for the Spring 2022 semester. 

In order to allow students to study abroad, many discussions took place before making the final decision. 

“We look at a number of factors and sources, including vaccination rates, healthcare infrastructure, reports from local staff, CDC recommendations, etc., in determining when to return to our study abroad programming. The length of the semester program also allows for students to be abroad for a longer period making any need for Covid related protocols like testing and quarantine/isolation a feasible part of the program”, said Renee Pang, Senior Associate Director, Office of Global Affairs.

The biggest obstacle was Covid-19, which came with precautions that students had to take before going abroad. 

“SHU requires that all study abroad participants are fully vaccinated, including the booster dose, once eligible,” said Pang. 

Aside from personal precautions, each country has requirements for entry. 

“We also looked closely at the entry requirements for each country, which may include testing or completing specific documentation,” said Pang. As usual, students also completed an online health and safety orientation as well as a pre-departure orientation and all students are enrolled in international health insurance through GeoBlue.” 

While abroad, students are still taking Covid precautions, but they are not letting them take away from their overall experience. 

“Covid has mostly impacted our experience in relation to the strict restrictions on travel,” said junior Emily Cenci, who is currently studying in Rome, Italy. “But I’m still experiencing so many amazing things that I wouldn’t have if not choosing to go abroad.” 

The impact that the abroad experience has on SHU students is truly irreplaceable.

“Study abroad is an amazing opportunity for students to learn in a new environment. Particularly with semester programs, students are able to further develop their independence, flexibility, language skills, and intercultural awareness,” said Pang.

Students who are currently abroad have started to adjust to their new scenery.

“Overall, it’s been a cultural adjustment that has really pulled me out of my comfort zone,” said junior Emily Cenci, who is currently studying in Rome, Italy. “I think it’s important to have this experience because I have learned so much in such a short amount of time.” 

Students studying abroad have only just started their travels and will not return until the end of the spring semester.

“I’m so grateful to be able to have this amazing opportunity,” said Cenci. 

About the author

Assistant Features Editor

Leave a Reply