SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Traveling abroad is a rewarding experience for college students, but the pandemic continues to hamper those chances.
College campus’s across the country are facing decisions on whether to cancel travel abroad trips as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads.
“As the holidays started to approach, each individual faculty member that was running a course, really had to pay attention to what was happening not just in our country with exit and entrance requirements but we also had to do the same for whichever our destination country was,” Hicks said.
Patrick Hicks was supposed to leave for Ireland yesterday.
“We had to make the choice ourselves as professors and experts that it was time to pull the plug on the course mainly because we realized very quickly with quarantine our students would be experiencing Ireland in a hotel and that did not seem like an educational experience we wanted to offer,” Hicks said.
International travel has proved difficult, especially since each country has different COVID-19 requirements.
“So it’s just the different ways the countries are handling the pandemic and the dynamic nature of that, that’s a main concern,” Joy Lind, vice president of academic affairs at Augustana University said.
That means colleges have to be more flexible. Augustana University is making sure students who are traveling are practicing COVID-19 precautions.
“There were many measures that we took leading up to the trip, and we made sure they were well equipped with at home tests with masks,” Lind said.
Hicks says preserving educational experiences and keeping students safe is what matters most.
“It’s called study abroad. It’s not shopping abroad, or eating abroad, study abroad. So we really want to make sure that we can give an impactfull and meaningful educational experience to our students,” Hicks said.
As the pandemic continues, more international trips could be canceled.