Despite uncertainties, Yale Summer Session programs abroad see strong interest
Students continue to express interest in studying abroad in Yale Summer Session courses despite lingering questions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yale Daily News
With undergraduate students slated to study abroad this summer for the first time since 2019, the Yale Summer Session study abroad programs reported receiving “strong” student interest in the courses.
Applications for Yale Summer Session’s programs closed on Feb. 15, but students are still able to apply for non-YSS programs. Both YSS and non-YSS study abroad programs are coordinated by the Center for International and Professional Development, or CIPE. YSS courses are designed to provide a similar rigor to classes offered at the University during the academic year. They are intense and condense a semester’s worth of material into a single summer session, according to the YSS website.
“Interest in summer study abroad so far has proven very strong,” Director for CIPE Summer Abroad Kelly McLaughlin wrote in an email to the News. “Western Europe continues to draw students’ attention most. The main wild card, of course, remains the COVID situation.”
Daniela Del Angel ’25 is planning to use her first-year summer to explore Spain, and earn a language credit while doing so.
Del Angel added that she felt compelled to travel abroad during her first year because summers thereafter will pressure her to search for internships more related to her major and her career. But she mentioned her concern that the COVID-19 pandemic may alter her plans.
“I have been wanting to go to Valencia, Spain for a really long time and I feel like it has been really hard to practice the language here,” Del Angel said. “Living in a host family and being immersed in the culture is fascinating.”
Charlotte Emerson ’22 shared her various experiences studying abroad with the News.
Emerson first studied abroad through the Yale Summer Session in the summer of 2018, when she visited France after her first year at Yale. Then, in the spring of 2020, she studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain through a non-YSS program to improve her Spanish skills.
“I think the Yale [Summer Abroad] program was definitely much more rigorous,” Emerson said. “It was also a much more diverse community in every sense of the word.”
Emerson said that students are generally more stressed about their careers during the summer after their first year, which makes that summer particularly appealing to study abroad, rather than complete an internship. Still, Emerson said she feels as though no summer needs to be “particularly career-oriented.”
Peter Zhang ’25 shared that he plans to study abroad in France after his first year. Zhang said he chose to apply to the Yale Summer Session because the available courses matched his interest in law. He also decided to study abroad — rather than complete an internship — to avoid complications with permits needed to work in the United States, as Zhang is an international student.
“Being able to take ‘Private Law and Contract Enforcement’ in France in the summer was a reason why I chose [Yale Summer Session abroad,]” Zhang said. “Since it was a Yale Summer Session course, I did not have to worry about transferring credits.”
The CIPE office has continued to inform students in its virtual information sessions and website about the uncertainty behind all summer abroad programs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the office announced the cancellation of study abroad programs for the spring 2022 semester within weeks of students’ departures.
Allie Agati, study abroad senior associate director, said that the decision to allow travel abroad is dependent upon the Yale Travel Policy, which is set by the University. She added that Yale has the right to enforce this policy until students’ date of departure.
“It is very important for us to note that we cannot at this time guarantee that study abroad will be permitted in the summertime,” Agati said in a January information session. “However, we are remaining cautiously optimistic about the possibilities for the summer and we’re very hopeful that more options will be available this summer, compared to the past two years.”
YSS Study Abroad offers around 25 courses, including “Society and Politics of North Africa” in Morocco, “The Age of Cathedrals” in France and intensive courses in various languages.