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COVID-19 not hindering study abroad opportunities

The Study Abroad Expo was held Feb. 3 and allowed students to learn more about study abroad programs at USD through the Gallagher Center. 

The expo consisted of tables advertising faculty-led programs, financial assistance help and a student ambassador booth where study abroad alumni discussed their previous trips. There was also a virtual reality (VR) headset put on by the Center of Teaching and Learning (CTL) that allowed students to get a virtual tour of potential study abroad locations. 

Study abroad advisor Jessica Winterringer was at the event and talked about the many options students have available while choosing to study abroad. 

“We have anything from a two-week program to a year-long program, really wherever you would like,” Winterringer said. 

Types of study abroad trips available are faculty-led programs, national student exchange and third-party programs. 

One of the faculty-led programs displayed at the expo was a trip to Canada with professor Jonelle Hook and professor Jamie Turgeon-Drake. 

The Canada trip is connected to the online class HSC 375 Global Healthcare Systems and has students learning about health care and human rights in a 3-credit hour class this semester before embarking on a seven-day learning experience in Canada over the summer. 

“It’s a really neat opportunity and also one of the most cost-effective since we don’t have to fly,” Turgeon-Drake said. 

Other faculty-led programs include trips to Greece, Germany, Ireland, Costa Rica and Kenya. 

Winterringer said COVID-19 has not had a big impact on the university and a lot of program providers are still running programs.  

“National student exchange is allowing programs in the U.S. and Canada. I wouldn’t say it’s hindering anybody except for the fact that COVID-19 changes on a dime. For the most part, students that go, must be vaccinated,” Winterringer said. 

This semester there are 12 students studying abroad. Winterringer said students can go to the Gallagher Center and talk to a staff member or attend their study away 101 sessions to begin planning their study abroad opportunity. 

“It will give you an overview of all our programs, how to pay for them and scholarship opportunities. It’s a great way to get some information without having to fully commit,” Winterringer said.