Expanding educational horizons, St. A’s goes back on the global road

The Orvieto study abroad program remains on hold

Courtesy/Saint Anselm College

The Orvieto study abroad program remains on hold

Jason Burns, Website Coordinator

The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to most global travel, which was a major disappointment to students looking to take part in study abroad programs. After over a year’s absence, international travel is beginning to creep back into relevancy. Countries across the world have begun reopening their borders with varying restrictions in place, which has allowed Saint Anselm’s Office of International Programs to once again begin planning a range of global learning opportunities. 

Before the pandemic, the Office of International Programs, located on the lower level of the Student Center, ran a wide variety of study abroad programs. The most popular of these programs was the Orvieto program. Students had the opportunity to travel to Orvieto, Italy in either a spring-semester long program, or a six-week summer archaeological program. Students taking part in the 2020 Orvieto spring program had to return to campus due to the initial outbreak of COVID-19, and the 2021 program was, of course, cancelled. At the time of writing, Orvieto 2022 has also been suspended. 

When asked about the possible return of the Orvieto program, Director of the Office of International Programs, Jane Bjerklie-Barry, was hopeful, stating that the Orvieto program “is a foundational pillar of the Saint Anselm portfolio and we are looking forward to getting [the programs] all back online and getting back to the business of global education as quickly as possible!” 

Though Orvieto’s future is uncertain, trips to Austria and Argentina are scheduled for 2022 as a part of the return of Global Seminars. These trips work in tandem with courses offered by the college, allowing for students to have a firsthand experience with the content they learned in the classroom. 

The return of Global Seminars was challenging. “Due to their complex nature and connectedness to Saint A’s courses, Global Seminars take a year or more to plan,” said Ms. Bjerklie-Barry. Not only do these trips take time to plan, but “travel protocols have changed significantly, and we now have steps in place to comply with foreign government requirements such as proof of vaccination and testing.” 

Covid remains a factor in the future of these trips, however. When asked if she was confident that the programs would remained scheduled, Ms. Bjerklie-Barry was optimistic, stating she was “confident in our ability (and that of our partners) to pivot and adjust safely in the event of a pandemic- or other crisis-related circumstance. The health and safety of our students and faculty is paramount and every precaution is taken to ensure they stay healthy and have the experience of a lifetime.” 

In addition, other short-term programs are available through the Office of International Programs. Interested students may “choose to enroll in short-term programs if they wish. This includes January (“J-term”), May-mester and Summer options.  They still must work through our office and get courses approved, but there are no limitations on selection for short-term programs outside of the standard travel advisories,” said Ms. Bjerklie-Barry. 

Study abroad is making a comeback with the first two trips to Austria and Argentina. The Austria trip will follow MU246: Music and Culture In Vienna, 1700-Present. Students interested may speak with Professor Harringer or Ms. Bjerklie-Barry. Students interested in the Advanced Spanish Immersion and Internship trip to Argentina can contact Professor Elizabeth Fouts or Ms. Bjerklie-Barry.