The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Record number of students study abroad during 2022-23 academic year after COVID-19 limitations

This year, 589 students traveled to 24 countries.
Lexie Perez
Graphic depicting study abroad experience. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

During the 2022-23 academic year, a record number of 589 Vanderbilt students studied abroad, according to the Global Education Office. GEO stated that students took classes in 24 countries during the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters, with the majority of students doing so in the spring as in previous years.

Some current students expressed gratitude that opportunities to study abroad resumed in the wake of the pandemic, enabling them to study in different countries during their undergraduate years. In Spring 2020, the university sent home a portion of the 548 students who participated in study abroad programs during the 2019-2020 academic year due to COVID-19 safety measures. During the 2020-21 academic year, all study abroad programs were canceled. GEO offered a reduced number of study abroad programs during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Coming into college at the height of the pandemic, I was unsure if studying abroad would be an option for me,” senior Cooper Bolton said. 

Sam Welch (‘22) emphasized the pandemic interfered with his peers’ plans to study abroad. 

“All in-person opportunities were limited at best through the end of my junior year, both in my academics and extracurriculars. Many of my friends had established plans to study abroad that they had spent several semesters planning their courseloads around, and they never got the chance to go,” Welch said. 

In Spring 2023, Bolton attended the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

“It was refreshing to have a semester abroad that felt like a ‘normal’ part of the Vanderbilt experience,” Bolton said.

Senior Annie Blount, who studied abroad in Spring 2023 as part of the International Honors Program with the School of International Training (SIT), echoed Bolton’s comments. She traveled to New York City as well as Argentina, Spain and South Africa with her SIT classes.

“I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but losing my freshman year to COVID-19 definitely impacted that. I debated it for a while, but at the end of the day I knew it was an experience I didn’t want to miss out on,” Blount said. 

Other students did not express the same motivations for pursuing the chance to study abroad during their time at Vanderbilt. Senior Maeghan Grady said that the pandemic did not play a major part in her choice to study at DIS in Copenhagen during Spring 2023. 

“I definitely had the travel bug after being stuck in one place for a while during COVID-19, but my decision was mostly driven by wanting the study abroad experience,” Grady said.  

Like Grady, senior Vanessa Figueroa had other reasons besides the pandemic for studying abroad in Fall 2022. Figueroa participated in the Universitat de les Illes Balears Palma program on the island of Mallorca, Spain.

“I don’t think COVID-19 impacted my decision very much because I’ve known since high school that I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country,” Figueroa said. 

She added that by choosing the fall semester, she had a different experience from that of other programs, and that she was the only Vanderbilt student in her program. 

“I lived with a host family and met a ton of Spanish students and also European students more broadly, since there were no other American students studying at the university,” Figueroa said. 

Grady, a history major, said she chose her program for the travel opportunities associated with certain history classes offered. 

“A big part of their program centers around traveling with your classes. You select a core course — mine was Holocaust and Genocide — and with my class I traveled to Hamburg, Germany and Poland for a week. I took another class on World War II, and we got to visit Normandy, France, during the month of April,” Grady said. 

Senior Lucie Scura studied abroad in Spring 2023 in Melbourne, Australia, at the University of New South Wales. Like Bolton, she said she was thankful for the opportunity to do so after starting college during COVID-19.

“There will never be another time in my life where I would be able to travel to this part of the world to explore and experience an entirely new culture,” Scura said.

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About the Contributors
Julia Tilton
Julia Tilton, Former Staff Writer
Julia Tilton ('24) majored in earth & environmental science and Spanish and minored in communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. When she's not trying new Ben & Jerry's flavors or going on her morning run, you can probably find Julia planning her next backpacking trip. She can be reached at [email protected].
Lexie Perez
Lexie Perez, Graphics Editor
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
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