Courtesy of Kalina Mladenova

70 students will go abroad in the spring, a rebound from spring of last year but still slightly figures before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Center for International and Professional Experiences had initially predicted that between 75 and 100 students would choose to spend their spring semester abroad.

“For students who had their time on campus disrupted by COVID-19, it has been harder to make a decision to spend another semester not on campus,” Director of Study Abroad Kelly McLaughlin said. “We think that explains why the numbers are a little down, compared to pre-COVID times.”

Far more students tend to choose spending summers abroad over semesters abroad. 691 Yale College students went abroad this past summer, down from 803 who did so in the summer of 2019. Study abroad programs had generally been put on pause between the summer of 2020 and the spring of this year.

McLaughlin explained that the study abroad application process is not competitive and that students received the results of their application two weeks after the Oct. 11 application deadline. 

Audrey Zhong ’24 said she plans to study in Paris next semester. Zhong noted that losing her first year to the pandemic made her question whether or not she wanted to study abroad during the school year. Without COVID-19, she said “there would have been no hesitation.” 

Students tend to participate in a wide variety of programs, including study-center, direct enrollment, hybrid and field-based types.

In the 2018-2019 school year, students studied in 57 countries representing 72 Yale College majors. According to McLaughlin, Yale students tend to pursue programs in Western Europe, though they also study all across the world.

The fall 2022 semester is the first during which students have been allowed to study abroad since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are 23 students studying abroad this semester, and CIPE projected that many more will participate in similar experiences next semester. 

Kaia Mladenova ’24 is currently studying abroad in Paris, France. As an international student from Bulgaria, she had always hoped to study abroad and experience life in another European country.

“Reach out to the advisors at the Yale study abroad office,” Mladenova said. “They know so much and are super helpful. … And don’t be afraid, there will be a bunch of other students in your program and it will be super fun.”

McLaughlin discussed the application process and requirements to study abroad for a semester. The primary review focuses on ensuring students’ eligibility for studying abroad and ensuring that they do not surpass the maximum number of transfer and outside credits that count toward their Yale diploma. A 300 to 500-word personal statement is also part of the application, so the CIPE office can review each student’s plans for the semester ahead. 

Students studying abroad next semester have begun making plans for their time away from campus. 

Sasha Nelson ’24 is planning to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in the DIS Copenhagen Child Development and Education program. She explained that she would have studied abroad earlier but that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented this. 

“I think college is a really good time to explore the world, especially if you get a chance to do it on Yale’s dime,” Nelson said. “Travel is an amazing opportunity I’m not sure I’ll get in my future life and career, so I wanted to take advantage of it while it’s available to me.” 

Many people around ABET mechanical engineering major Samantha Lorr ’25 told her it would be “impossible” to study abroad due to the many major requirements she had to meet. However, she decided to take matters into her own hands and designed a schedule that would make her study abroad goals possible. 

“Even if people tell you it won’t fit into your schedule or you won’t have time to finish your major requirements, you definitely can fit study abroad into your schedule!” Lorr said. “Just make sure you plan ahead and doing distributional requirements while abroad is a great way of making it possible if you have a lot of other classes you want to take while at Yale.”

Lorr plans to study abroad in Athens, Greece in Spring 2023.