Sidelined Study Abroad Program Preparing for the Future


JSU international students share their culture at the annual UN Day Tea celebration in October 2020. Photo by Grace Cockrell.

Travel bans and self-isolation orders have reduced our view of the world to the size of a TV screen. Yet, there’s much for students to learn as global citizens. That’s why JSU’s Study Abroad program has remained vigilant – and patient – continuing to improve its offerings while waiting for pandemic-inspired restrictions to be lifted.

Jason Mallet, program coordinator, explained that many organizations and institutions, including JSU, have used virtual programs to fill in the gap during the pandemic.

“JSU will continue with virtual information sessions for all available study abroad destinations,” he said. “Students are kept informed of these opportunities. We think this may have a small influence on the future. When speaking with others in the field, the opinion is that once the pandemic reaches a more settled level, exchanges and short-term trips will begin back in earnest.”

JSU, like its peers nationwide, was forced to suspend all international travel earlier this year due to COVID-19.

“We did not want to put any of our students, faculty or staff in harm’s way,” Mallet said. “However, our office has received many inquiries and requests from students about studying abroad in the future, so the interest is still there. We continue to collaborate with several faculty members on their preparation for future faculty-led study abroad trips.”

Considering that it takes 18-24 months to prepare for study abroad trips, the respite from travel is giving students time to plan for their future adventures.  

“This time that we have in hand has allowed us to plan effectively with our faculty leaders,” Mallet said. “We have continued our efforts to expand our international university partnerships.” 

To that end, JSU recently signed an agreement with Kristianstad University in Sweden, where students can visit for a semester or a full year. The program also remains in touch with existing partner universities in Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates and India.

JSU also recently joined the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), through which students can study abroad for a summer term or a full semester at more than 150 universities in over 50 countries.

“We are working hard to ensure that our students and faculty leaders have multiple opportunities to engage in study abroad trips as soon as travel restrictions are lifted,” Mallet said.

For more information on studying abroad, e-mail