While the transition for COVID-19 has been hard for most programs at Arkansas Tech, one program faces a stronger sense of change. According to information provided by study abroad coordinator Gabriele Haulmark, there has been an increase of interest in the study away program.
“There has been more interest in the study away program this year than previous year, which is more than likely due to the inability to travel internationally because of the pandemic,”
Study Away is a program for students to study at another college, within the United States and its territories for a semester or academic year while still being a student at Tech.
“Students will get to experience different cultural and geographical settings, boost their self-confidence and gain independence,” according to Haulmark.
Senior Sarah Snodgrass from Greenwood, a double major in chemistry and environmental science, discussed what her experience was like when she took part in the study away program her sophomore year in 2019, a semester before the pandemic, at Colorado Mesa University.
“There was a lot of outdoors stuff,” Snodgrass said “The Colorado National Monument, so that was pretty close to campus… It’s like Mount Nebo of Arkansas Tech.”
Snodgrass states what she feels her experience might have been like if she were to have done the program now during the pandemic or when it first hit.
“I think where we’re at now if I went, a lot of things have opened back up so instead of having all the classes online, I feel like the majority of [them] are in person, we just have to wear our masks,” Snodgrass said. “Since we’re in Covid and things can happen just out of the blue, going out of the country. If someone is scared to do that, this is a lot, I guess more easy to get into, cause you’re still in the United States,”
Mario Mendez from Dardanelle, a double major in political science and Spanish, is currently attending Queens College under the study away program. He said COVID has impacted New York City harshly, but that it seems it’s now getting back to normal.
“COVID did not permit for my classes to be in person at the beginning, but now my classes are in person, which has been great,” Mendez said.
Mendez said that he felt the biggest takeaway of studying away at Queens College for the semester was diversity.
“Just walking around the areas around my college means that whenever I turn into a different street it could be as if I am walking into a different country,” Mendez said.
In the end, Snodgrass discusses the life lesson of what she felt her experience had taught her.
“I think it made me be okay with doing things on my own. I kind of learned that if you wanna go do something, you don’t have to wait for someone to join you. Like people will be there,” Snodgrass said.