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Study Abroad Program Hits Pre-Covid Enrollment Numbers

By Julia Ross-McGuire | September 5, 2022

Photo Credit: Pixabay

UAlbany’s study abroad program has exceeded its pre-COVID-19 enrollment numbers this fall and continues to offer fewer semester-long programs because of pandemic restrictions and concerns.

According to Renee DeCelle, Director of Education Abroad, the office has 72 students abroad this semester in 19 countries. The number of programs offered by UAlbany has dropped from 120 to 15. DeCelle noted that there can be more than one program per country.

“The process of review and approval to re-open programs and destinations will be ongoing and available programs are subject to change,” said DeCelle.

62 of 72 students abroad are taking part in UAlbany administered programs, and an additional 10 students are studying with other SUNY programs, DeCelle said.

Michael Elliot, the Director of International Student and Scholar Affairs, said the most popular programs have been reopened with some exceptions.

One exception is UAlbany’s China study abroad program, which has been off the table since the start of the pandemic due to concerns that students might not be able to get out if there is a lockdown in the country, Elliott said.

Just last week, China locked down 21 million people in the city of Chengdu in response to a COVID-19 outbreak.

UAlbany’s Study Abroad program is following the general federal travel guidelines for China, which the U.S. Department of State described as having a “zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19.” That approach includes a minimum 14-day quarantine upon entrance into the country, making it difficult for individuals to travel to China.

Despite the decrease in the number of programs, Elliott said that students are not being rejected at higher numbers than pre-Covid. This is due to the higher capacity in the offered programs.

In fact, DeCelle said that this fall’s number of 72 students abroad is higher than the 65 students who studied abroad in Fall 2019.

According to data from the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education, the number of domestic students studying abroad declined 53% in the 2019-2020 school year from the previous year.

UAlbany did not send any students abroad for the Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, or Spring 2021 terms, electing for a cautious approach that reopened programs for Summer 2022.

DeCelle said the “UA Education Abroad team is preparing to submit re-opening petitions to SUNY System Administration for the following existing partnerships for Winter 22 to 23 and Spring 2023: JAPAN: Kansai Gaidai University, SOUTH KOREA: Seoul National University, and SOUTH KOREA: Yonsei University Winter Abroad as part of their continued ‘cautious’ reopening.”

The Study Abroad office will host a UAlbany Education Abroad Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lecture Center Concourse and a Virtual Education Abroad Fair on Friday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with more information about Winter and Spring study abroad offerings.


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