University of Wisconsin International Academics Program saw recovering interest in study abroad towards pre-pandemic numbers.

IAP Director Dan Gold said in a statement to The Badger Herald said the number of students participating in a study abroad program for the fall semester is still below pre-pandemic numbers. But, the current number is close to what IAP expected, Gold said, and overall interest for study abroad is at a record high.

“So far, students have started more than 1,500 applications for spring 2022 semester programs— a very strong response even compared to pre-pandemic interest,” Gold said. “Spring and summer are the most popular times for study abroad. The spring application cycle is currently in progress, with many deadlines still upcoming, and summer applications will open later this semester”

Increased travel restrictions have placed burdens on students attempting to go abroad. The United States was recently taken off of the “safe list” from the European Union and other countries, according to the European Commission website.

This means vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals have to submit a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before their flight and quarantine according to the rules of specific countries, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

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UW-Madison student Lindsey Dreger said she feels safety is a top concern when considering the abroad experience.

I have prepared myself to take the precautions necessary where I end up going and while traveling,” Dreger said. “I will safely no longer put my life on hold and have decided to seize the incredible opportunities presented to me because you never know if you will get a chance to do something like this ever again.”

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According to an IAP statement from July while the pandemic was unprecedented and greatly impacted study abroad in recent semesters, it also highlighted the importance of global interconnectedness.

Over 260 programs in more than 65 countries were previously offered through the IAP. Gold said over 100 programs have already been approved and more than 60 programs have been approved for the following Spring semester since the reopening of the study abroad programs.

“To my disbelief, there are opportunities available in many different countries,” Dreger said. “Given the current situation, I think that it is safe to once again study abroad with the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine, safety measures taken and people now being more educated on the topic of COVID.”

This story was updated 9/14 at 5:54 p.m. to reflect clarification from the IAP regarding the current application interest and was originally published under the headline, ‘UW abroad applicants decline, students still feel hopeful for abroad programs’.