The COVID-19 pandemic has issued a major blow to all involved with study abroad and cultural exchange programs around the world. As we were reflecting on how the global crisis had impacted our students and their study abroad experiences in Valencia, we found no better way to explain it than to ask them directly.
Here are some student perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on their study abroad programs in Spain…
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your study abroad program?
I was forced to leave after only three and a half weeks of a 10-week program. This was devastating for me, since this was a new endeavor for my university and a unique experience in my program which I had been working on for two years to set up. However, it was a good decision to leave, as the situation would have meant that my internship would have been canceled regardless. – Keoni, USA
The coronavirus situation resulted in me having to leave a month earlier. The plan was to stay in Valencia for three months and take 20 hours of class every week. As I said I had to leave a month earlier to return to the Netherlands and be with my family. This resulted firstly in temporarily quitting my classes. However, after a couple of weeks I decided to continue with my classes online! – Bram, Netherlands
COVID-19 affected my program in several ways, I had to leave Valencia where I was having my internship and go back home to be with my family because they wanted me to be with them during the pandemic. It also changed the project I was in charge of at the company I was interning for, but thankfully me and my colleagues managed to come up with a new project that would allow me to keep up my work for the company. Furthermore, sadly I was forced to pause my Spanish lessons which I was enjoying a lot and benefiting a lot from, as well as the whole Valencia experience, and when they cancelled Fallas especially, it was a shame. – Miguel, Portugal
How did Valencia, and Spain as a whole, react to the situation from your perspective?
I think Spain took strict measures, and for me I thought this was really good. However, it took a lot of work for me to organize my trip back to Japan. – Mizuki, Japan
I believe Spain did not react very well, but I understand as well that it was something nobody had faced before and it had a lot of things involved to make drastic decisions quickly. But for example allowing people to witness the fireworks and the Fallas events to take place was wrong, it shouldn’t have been allowed since there were many cases reported in Spain at that time already. – Miguel, Portugal
How did EUROACE react to the situation and were you able to continue with your program?
Euroace, especially Isabel, was very honest with me about the situation and did not have a problem reaching out to help me find flights, as my university forbade me from continuing the experience. They kept in touch with me afterwards and were always available to help with whatever I required. – Keoni, USA
In my own experience, Euroace behaved in a responsible and professional way, offering me with the necessary support throughout the entire experience. – Maricela, Costa Rica
After a couple of weeks I decided to continue with my classes online. Euroace was very flexible and quick with setting everything up for me. So no complaints anywhere. When I left Valencia at short notice the communication was very easy and quick as well. The information I got from them was sufficient and clear. And also compliments again about how flexible and nice you all were. – Bram, Netherlands
Can you write a short reflection on your Spanish living and studying experience?
I truly loved my time in Valencia. I have very little complaints, and most of those are surrounding the pandemic and my university. My host family was very welcoming and I learned so much just from talking with them and sharing our cultures and languages; it was so hard saying goodbye. However, I recommend any student who is serious about learning the language should stay with a host family, they were such a great resource to have. As short as my experience was, I really got to know the staff members and learned so much, my only regret is not getting more time there. – Keoni, USA
Despite not being able to complete my program in Spain, the time I spent in Valencia was great and I really enjoyed it! I only have positive things to say, no complaints whatsoever. It was an unforgettable experience, and I’m especially grateful to my host family who were amazing to me and made me feel at home. – Maricela, Costa Rica
In short, I was enjoying my stay in Spain a lot. It was a learning experience, I had never been so close yet so far away from home so it was something different for sure. The language program was especially a great part of it, meeting new students and people from all over the world and sharing a common goal of learning a new language definitely made it even more special. Overall, I had a great time in Spain for the time I was there and it really was a big shame that it had to be cut short so quickly. – Miguel, Portugal