GENESEO, N.Y. — COVID-19 has impacted so many things in so many people’s lives. For many college students, the opportunity to study outside of the United States was also put on hold. Now, SUNY schools have resumed their study abroad programs.
Jocelyn Haines is a SUNY Geneseo sophomore who’s going places. Not just going places on campus. Going places — she’s never been before, like Uganda.
“Sounds a little odd, but I really, really wanted a major culture shock, said Haines. “And this, I think this will do it.”
SUNY Geneseo has the highest study abroad participation of all the New York state universities. International travel is a big draw.
“I had two programs get canceled because of COVID,” said junior Jarrett Marrapese. “And it's been really, really difficult.”
Marrapese will leave this summer to study in Japan for a full year.
“My hope, and the hope the whole time, has been to immerse myself in the culture and the language as much as I can,” he said. “And to become fluent in the language within the time that I'm there within the year.”
In March of 2020, 67 SUNY Geneseo students were studying abroad in 30 countries. Because of COVID-19, they had to come home quickly, and for two years, the program was put on hold.
“It was definitely disappointing some students did not have this opportunity,” said Sam Cardamone, SUNY Geneseo study abroad office director.
Now they do. The student abroad program is back. Some go for the language; some for new experiences.
“It just offers a brand new perspective that exposes them to new insights,” said Cardamone. “And allows them to ask new questions and be thoughtful and intentional critical thinkers of information.”
Haines will work on a sustainable community development project while in Uganda.
“A lot of planning, not much traction,” she said of the delay. “But now it's definitely starting to pick up, and students have been rolling in, so it's been great."