Upcoming informational sessions will solidify plans for global learning’s return
By: Yasmine Abdeldayem
After a long hiatus, CSI’s study-abroad programs will be back in action for Summer 2022 and beyond.
“All of our locations are back with in-person coursework,” said Stephen Ferst, Executive Director of the Center for Global Engagement. “Many of them do have some online components and are prepared to move online should there be a lockdown.”
Every Tuesday, CSI’s study-abroad advisors have been hosting sessions via Zoom to update students on returning programs. Past Fall 2021 sessions have discussed international credit-bearing programs, such as those in China and Japan.
Final sessions for the fall semester will be held on November 30 and December 7 from 2:30-3:30 pm, which will review financing for trips and general program information.
After remaining stagnant since early 2020, CSI’s study-abroad portal now lists nearly 50 programs with updated application deadlines and tentative dates for 2022. Options range from geology in Edinburgh, to film studies in Paris, to life sciences in Taiwan.
Since the pandemic began, several schools that were part of the College Consortium of International Studies have closed their study-abroad offices. CSI has taken on several new programs from those universities, with studies in Liverpool, Barcelona, Brussels, and more.
For most summer and fall 2022 programs, application deadlines are around mid-March, so now’s the time for students to consider going overseas for future semesters.
If students’ indecision prevented them from applying for spring, they likely made the right call. Current spring applicants were advised to apply for CSI credits as a plan B.
According to the CDC, an overwhelming number of countries are at level 3 and 4—high COVID-19 risk. Spring program adjustments are likely and stricter vaccine mandates are the only hope for a shift in risk level by the summer, at the earliest.
Ferst sent between 200-300 students abroad annually pre-pandemic. About 50% were CSI students and just five to seven percent of CSI’s baccalaureate students graduate with international experience. Staff want to encourage students to study abroad, but the COVID-induced uncertainty surrounding travel and ever-present financial factors form a strong opposition.
In terms of affordability, winter and summer sessions garner more interest, as opposed to semester-long programs that can cost nearly $26,000. Three credits overseas would be less than a fourth of that. Students who receive federal PELL grants can apply it toward studying abroad, which could only cover under $1,000.
Financial aid has its limits, so students often must turn elsewhere. Michele Callahan, Fellowship & Scholarship Advisor, helps with scholarship applications, like the prestigious Gilman Scholarship, which 19 CUNY students received in 2021.
The Chancellor’s Global Scholarship is an option only applicable to CUNY students attending CUNY programs, which has drawn debate.
“The point is to internationalize CUNY as much as possible,” said John Dunleavy, Study-Abroad Advisor. “Why should it just be programs we make a fee off of, when my first priority is to get students abroad?”
While the process can be strenuous and occasionally exclusive, Gabriella Costanza, a nursing student, acquired $5,500 in grants, with money to spare after program costs were paid.
Before the March 2020 shutdown, Costanza went to Lorenzo de’ Medici for a winter course on nutrition. Leisure time during those four weeks were characterized by hikes in Tuscany, wine tastings, and weekend trips to Milan and Rome. She cites the cultural experience as integral to the interactions she’ll have with her patients.
According to Dunleavy, many applications have been rolling in for summer and fall 2022 sessions.
“Getting over your fear is a big thing,” said Costanza. “But it cultivated a sense of independence, like whatever I had to do, it was in no one else’s hands.”