The first study abroad programs since the pandemic will begin in the fall

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BYU students pose in front of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster while studying abroad at BYU’s London Center in 2016. The London Center program is one of eight Kennedy Center travel programs being held this fall and which will be the first semester with travel programs since the pandemic. (Regan Crandall)

This fall semester, more than 200 BYU students will travel abroad for internships or international study programs. This will be the first semester of BYU-approved international travel through the Kennedy Center.

The eight programs traveling this fall are Arab Flagship Program in Morocco, Baltic States Internship in Riga, European Government Internship in Brussels, BYU London Center Study Abroad, Internship in France Program, Internship of International Biology in the Netherlands, the Korea Direct Stage Registration Plus and Study Abroad Program in Spain.

BYU Arabic Flagship Center director Kirk Belnap said last year that students were required to take the flagship program entirely online, which was “far from ideal.” The Flagship Center said it was delighted fourth-year students could visit Morocco this fall.

“We are deeply grateful that the BYU administration believes that ‘the world is our campus’ and is doing everything possible to allow students to experience this larger world,” Belnap said.

Ella Baldwin is a senior in Middle Eastern Studies and major in Arabic and is participating in the flagship Arabic program this fall where she will take intensive Arabic classes, be enrolled in a Moroccan university, do community outreach and complete a one-semester internship.

After failing several study abroad and internship projects over the past year, Baldwin said “it’s almost hard to believe this one comes to fruition.” She said she was very excited to travel again, as travel experiences are a crucial part of her education and being in an immersive environment will be invaluable to her goal of higher mastery of science. Arabic language.

Baldwin plans to pursue a career in diplomacy and national security, which will involve frequent travel and call for navigating various cultural and political contexts around the world, she said. “There is no better training for this career path than the Arabic Flagship Capstone program! “

Russian professor Tony Brown is looking forward to sending students to the Riga internship this fall. “Our pool of internship providers continues to grow despite the challenges associated with exiting a pandemic,” he said.

This year, students will most likely have to wear masks and will only be able to travel within the country of Latvia compared to previous years where students could take weekend trips to neighboring countries like Poland or Estonia. Despite this, Brown said he believed students would be able to delve deeper into Latvian culture and find new things to explore.

“I am optimistic that some sacrifices on the part of the fall group will result in the discovery of new and unforeseen opportunities that should benefit future groups for years to come,” said Brown.

Students going to the biology internship in the Netherlands will also have to stay within the country’s borders, which limits some of the researchers they can meet, said biology professor Seth Bybee. Despite these limitations, Bybee said he was really thrilled that the students were participating in this internship.

Bybee said this internship is a great opportunity for students to gain unique experience in a different culture and setting while advancing their careers.

Bybee does not do these travel programs for his own benefit, he said. He does this because it blesses the lives of his students and gives them opportunities they normally wouldn’t have. “That’s why I’m here and that’s what I want to do for my students. The more opportunities are open, it is a huge relief.

For these travel programs, all students were required to be fully immunized before the start of their travel preparation course, said international studies program coordinator Aaron Rose.

Rose said all programs traveling this fall are full, but applications are starting for the 2022 trip. Decisions about international travel are made one semester at a time, but Rose said all information for winter travel 2022 will be available at the Study Abroad Fair on September 16.

Applying for travel programs right now is like “standing in line to go,” Rose said. The Kennedy Center will notify students later if the program will proceed once official approval has been given for this program to travel.

The Jerusalem Center is also planning a fall semester, but more details are not available at this time.

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