2020 is the year of unanswered questions. When is the next time you will see swarms of people in maroon and gold outfits on game day? When will you finally stop staring mindlessly at a wall while reminiscing about the good old days? Cue your favorite 2019 memories. When will “I don’t know” stop being everyone’s answer to almost everything?
Most students are drowning in an ocean of uncertainty when it comes to these questions. However, some members of the Boston College Class of 2022 are about to receive one answer that will bring either a silver lining or another rude awakening to this year. That’s right, spring study abroad programs are just around the corner.
BC’s Office of International Programs (OIP) emailed students its October newsletter at the beginning of the month. It contained a good deal of information about events and deadlines––for summer abroad programs. With a lack of updates about spring abroad, juniors are left to finalize any applications and forms needed for their international programs without knowing whether they will actually be attending their chosen schools in a few months.
Jonathan Ye, CSOM ‘22, plans to study at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany. His biggest concern about the uncertainty of next semester is the not knowing how housing will pan out if he has to remain in Chestnut Hill.
Ye currently resides in the 2000 Commonwealth Avenue Apartments, and he hopes to keep the same on-campus housing if abroad is cancelled. However, BC’s Office of Residential Life has not given him any indication of whether or not this will happen. Even with this apprehension looming over him, he does not regret his decision to apply for abroad.
“I did briefly consider withdrawing from study abroad just because I lost a large portion of the spring semester last year at BC,” Ye reflects. “In the end, I decided that going abroad is a really great opportunity and I shouldn’t miss that.”
Ye knows that a semester abroad will be different in a pandemic, but he believes he would still have the once-in-a-lifetime chance of meeting new people and immersing himself in another culture in a way that he would not be able to do as an everyday tourist.
Kaitlyn McCaskey, MCAS ‘22, expects to study at Royal Holloway, University of London in England. She agrees with Ye’s mindset, as the extensive amount of time she spent at home this summer made her realize how much of a privilege it is to see other corners of the world.
McCaskey shares her current situation of being in limbo between two different lives for the spring semester. She has not been able to commit to a course schedule as she does not know what the future holds. In the spring, she will either be studying British literature at a university that is in close proximity to London, or she will be taking courses next to the iconic Gasson Hall right here on the Heights.
So what is it like having to come up with two game plans for the upcoming semester?
“I want to start making plans for when I’m abroad, like places I want to go and travel. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much just in case we’re not able to go in the spring,” McCaskey adds. “I feel like I’m stuck between two realities, and I kind of don’t picture either one of them happening.”
McCaskey continues to wait for an email that will decide where she will be in the spring. She holds an optimistic outlook that she will make the best out of whatever has to happen.
OIP plans to release a final decision regarding spring abroad by mid-fall. To stay updated on abroad announcements, click here.