Spain and France study abroad in summer

COVID-19 restrictions have eased, allowing students to return to Lyon and Avila this summer. Photo courtesy of Marisa Perez-Bernardo.

In the summer of 2022, the French and Spanish departments will send students to study abroad at outside universities – in Lyon and Avila respectively – for the first time since 2019. This decision was made in part due to the apparent reduction in threat. of COVID-19.

President Jonathan Sanford said, “I think it has more to do with easing COVID restrictions than anything else, especially with these partner institutions. Because we are facilitating on our side, but it is really the other institution that is directly involved.

The institutions that will host the summer programs are the Catholic University of Lyon and the Catholic University of Avila.

The only requirement for students applying to the program is that they have completed the first two years of Spanish or French courses at UD or passed the placement test and withdrawn from both first years.

Students will either reside with local families or in campus dormitories.

Dr Marisa Perez-Bernardo, associate professor in the department of modern languages ​​and organizer of the Spanish summer program, said: “I think we are better prepared, even if there is a new variation or something like that, we are better prepared. You have to be flexible with things, but I don’t foresee any problems.

Junior biology major Maria Pecha, who will be heading to Avila in July, said, “I am thrilled to finally fully engage in Spanish while learning the culture, being immersed in all things Spanish and same time always having the possibility of finishing my concentration in Spanish.

Freshman Felice Lagarde, who is considering going to Lyon, said: “I think the French program would be a great challenge to trigger a new level of improvement, pushing me out of my comfort zone thanks to complete daily immersion in French.”

Students will still need to follow certain restrictions related to COVID-19. Dr Jason Lewallen, Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages, said: “Students will need to meet all the requirements to travel abroad and live in France, which are not unlike the requirements in place in the rest of Europe. By far the easiest way to meet these requirements is to get vaccinated. Students will have to follow similar restrictions in Spain.

Speaking of the overall experience, Perez-Bernardo said, “I think it’s a very unique program because the students who go there, go with it, and have classes with other students from other American universities or other universities. universities in Italy or in different countries. Students are exposed to the culture and language all the time. And it’s the best way to learn about the country’s history. Being there, completely immersed, you are at the middle of Spanish life.”

A trip to Russia was also planned this summer for students or graduates who would be interested, but unfortunately the trip was canceled due to the situation in Russia and Ukraine.

The trip would have been a cultural experience, not a study abroad program, as Russian is not offered as part of the basic courses, although there is an introductory Russian course.

The trip had been in the works for some time. In 2020, the trip had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and in 2021, the trip was postponed again because the Russian Embassy was not issuing visas due to COVID-19 issues. 19. Now, again, the trip will be cancelled.

Speaking about the trip, Dr. Irina Rodriguez, Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages ​​and one of the trip organizers, said, “This year we were hoping to do it again and I’m so grateful to the people who stuck with it. us and were still waiting and hoping to go this year. And that’s when Russian-American relations started to deteriorate and we still hoped maybe to make that possible, but in view of recent events, it’s very clear that we can’t do that.

Although a trip to Russia will have to wait, students can still study abroad in some of the most beautiful places in the world. “It’s a lab semester for the humanities, you might say, and there’s no substitute for first-hand encounters with great works of art and cities,” Sanford said of the benefits of degree programs at the University. ‘foreigner.

“There’s a tendency to really mature as a human being, because of the challenges of traveling, and learning to do some of that on your own, cultivating friendships because of the closeness of life. academic and spiritual formation.”