Simpson’s study abroad program will continue despite COVID-19


Students traveling abroad to Germany in Spring 2019. Photo submitted to the Simsponian.

by Sophie Reese, Staff Reporter

After a long year of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Simpson College will be offering a study abroad option in the fall of 2021.

Eight students are taking the opportunity to be able to study abroad at Roehampton University in London.

This is a long-awaited opportunity for some students since Simpson’s Study Abroad programs were not available because of the pandemic.

 “Simpson is not requiring that the eight students who are enrolled in the Fall 2021 London semester program to be vaccinated against COVID-19, if our partner institution or the U.K. government would shift their policies to require it, then the students who need to comply in order to participate in the program,” Director of International Education, Jay  Wilkinson said. 

 Sophomore human services and psychology major Jessica Pierce is just one of several students who will be participating in the program this fall. 

I am looking forward to seeing what is outside of the midwest and making connections with people that have different perspectives than I do,” Pierce said. “I am really interested in visiting their monuments and also gaining more independence.”

“I am looking forward to learning about a new place and culture as well as gaining new perspectives within my field of study.” junior Morgan Sorenson said.

However, COVID-19 is still a concern, one that Pierce is anxious for.

“I am mostly worried about how they will view me, as England has very strict lockdowns and take the pandemic very seriously,” Pierce said. “I am worried that they will view me being American as associated with having COVID.” 

 Sorenson is not concerned about traveling abroad this fall. 

“I do not have any concerns with studying abroad regarding COVID,” Sorenson said. “I will be fully vaccinated in just a few weeks and the University I will be studying at has strict protocols in place for study abroad students that includes a mandatory quarantine upon arrival and the entire campus has to wear masks.” 

This is a long-awaited opportunity for many people. Pierce and Sorenson both express what it’s like to finally be able to have this study abroad set in place.

Having this opportunity feels great and very rewarding, almost as if my efforts to maintain academically sound this year have paid off. It also feels as if the universe is giving me a break from the routine, we have all been in for over a year now and I cannot wait to take this break.”

For Pierce, this will not only be her first time traveling out of the United States, but it will also be her first time traveling by airplane. 

“I feel even better knowing that I am going to a country that is safer during COVID than the U.S. is right now,” Pierce said. “I have been so isolated that even if it is few interactions, they will be new people, so it will be so much fun and engaging.”

Wilkinson also stated his excitement that students will be able to study abroad again. 

I am very excited that it appears Simpson students will once again be able to immerse themselves in another culture through a first-hand, learning experience like study abroad,” Wilkinson said.