Calista Anderson & Cami Godbold
(Rock Hill, S.C.) – As COVID-19 moves from the pandemic phase to endemic and restrictions across the globe are reduced, the study abroad program at Winthrop University has returned and school officials are looking to recruit students to participate.
Prior to the pandemic, Winthrop sent hundreds of students to study abroad over the last decade, as the university has student exchange agreements with eight foreign colleges and partnerships with at least 13 other schools.
Winthrop also participates in the National Student Exchange program, which gives students access to an additional 180 institutions in the U.S. and its territories — including the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam — and Canada.
Taylor Evans, the study abroad adviser at Winthrop, appeared on the Palmetto Report podcast to discuss the program and explain the new COVID-19 protocols that students should prepare for, if they plan to study abroad.
“I just want to make sure that all students who are even remotely interested (in studying abroad) have the resources to make that decision,” she said. “Even in a COVID world, we are sending students abroad as safely and as cautiously as possible.”
Evans — who studied abroad in Ormskirk, England while she was a student — began her role as study abroad adviser in September after she graduated from Winthrop last year. She is also a former contributor to the Palmetto Report.
She said there are many benefits to studying abroad, but from her own personal experience, Evans said one of the most important things she learned was independence.
“You learn how to advocate for yourself more and how to be comfortable with yourself and kind of be your own company,” she said.
“I loved my experience, because once you’re over there, traveling is super cheap, but I really did love my experience. I made some lifelong friends that I still talk to on a daily or weekly basis, so I highly encourage it to everyone.”
While many students may have concerns about the cost of studying abroad, Evans said the price is the same or very similar to Winthrop’s tuition and board.
Some programs even allow students to pay the Winthrop meal plan costs at their host university.
“When I went abroad to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England, I paid Winthrop tuition, housing, meal plan and all of my scholarships carried over, so it was basically paying the same price, school wise, as being here at Winthrop for a semester,” she said.
Last fall, Evans said, seven Winthrop students studied internationally or participated in the National Student Exchange. This semester, 11 students are studying abroad and 24 have been provisionally approved for the program this summer or the upcoming 2022-23 academic year.