Many students dream of getting the opportunity to be able to study abroad through Eckerd. During the spring semester of 2020, every Eckerd student that was abroad was required to return back to their homes in the US due to COVID-19.
This caused a lot of difficult times for everyone involved, especially the students. They had to return back to the US midway through their respective programs.
Among those students is Sophie Levinson, a junior who had to end her trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. With regards to having to leave, Levinson said “I was super sad to leave my friends that I met abroad. They were so kind but we were all in the same boat and were really supportive.”
Senior Victoria Martin was in the London Study Center last semester among 10 other Eckerd students. “I would have been heartbroken if the study abroad program was cut short while we were there,” Martin said.
While the change was difficult on many students, it also caused a headache for Diane Ferris, director of International Education. She explained that there was a lot more work to do than expected. “It's a lot more than just bringing a student home - making certain that there are plans in place to protect them in terms of ability to complete their courses and also availability of flights at reasonable courses,” Ferris said.
Fortunately, Ferris and the rest of the team at the Office of International Affairs managed to get the process done early on and have every student back home before the dorms closed on March 18.
As for the future of The Office of International Affairs, it seems bright as of right now, according to Ferris. There are a lot of plans for the future and study abroad programs are moving forward in the Spring semester. “We are preparing as we normally do in the spring for study abroad at the London Study Centre and assisting all other students with study abroad plans with their preparations,” Ferris said.