Opinion: Don’t Miss Out On Study Abroad Just Because Of The Pandemic

Jessica Trujillo-Hernandez, Reporter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Studying abroad as a high schooler is stressful enough. 

Now add a global pandemic to it. 

Not many people are thinking about passports, but high school students hoping to study abroad this summer are definitely stressed out about it.

Waking up on a Friday morning in March, I thought I’d only miss one class. Eventually, I was running around to get a passport appointment for a study abroad experience in Japan. 

We were given two options and my father picked the closest postal office in Century City. We were roaming the busy but lonely streets, and we had a hard time finding the first postal office, which actually didn’t exist anymore. 

Phone in hand, anxious mind, and burning sun had my father and I having to navigate where we could find a place where they accepted walk-in appointments.

Once we found the second location, we were relieved to finally have my passport ordered. I was looking around the crowded office and I kept thinking about how much parents care for their children as I saw families struggling to acquire a passport for them.

Applying for a CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) study abroad opportunity was something that I didn’t overthink too much since I was sure I wouldn’t be accepted to travel with them. Months go by, and then I received an email saying I had been accepted and rewarded with a scholarship of $6,500. 

It was so unreal to me that I was deemed worthy of their acceptance. I’ve been wanting to study abroad for as long as I can remember, and although the world’s situation is complicated, I couldn’t let this chance go.

Studying abroad is a beneficial opportunity for students to learn about cultures in a more authentic way. CIEE has taken it upon themselves to help high school students study abroad under safe terms.

For this year’s accepted participants, CIEE hosted meetings where they presented their plan and answered questions about the programs. Students will have to present a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before traveling, and they highly recommend quarantine for 10 days prior to travel. 

When you arrive in your host country, participants will be required to take part in a soft isolation, which is a seven-day quarantine before any classes or activities can take place. Face coverings will be required at all times outside your assigned accommodation. 

They’re dedicating their time and support to take care of every student accompanying them abroad. If a student is tested positive during the program, participants will have to quarantine until having to return to their home country. By taking these precautions, they believe students will be kept safe. 

My parents have been a part of this journey with me. At first, they were very skeptical about me going abroad. Slowly but surely they started warming up to the idea and have been a great help to me. 

My mother says, “If it’s her dream to study abroad then we should do our best to support her.”

If possible, Venice students should look into CIEE for an opportunity to study abroad since Venice has encouraged students in the past to sign up for this organization and has offered support in order to be accepted. 

Although it’s not an ideal time to travel, I believe it’s best to achieve your dreams the safest way possible.