Part 2: Impact of COVID-19 on Study Abroad
The COVID-19 pandemic quickly halted thousands of study abroad and cultural exchange programs around the world. As we were reflecting on how the global crisis 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…
1. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your study abroad program?
I had to cut my internship short by 4 weeks, however with the help of the Euroace program I was still able to continue my internship from the Netherlands as well as continue following Spanish classes online. – Sietske, Netherlands
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic meant I had to finish my program earlier than anticipated and return to my country. This interrupted my learning process during my internship position and affected the goals I was working towards during this experience. I was sad that I was unable to progress further due to the situation. Also, it’s a shame I couldn’t live, experience and enjoy the famous Fallas celebrations and all the social events that were going to take place in Valencia. – Maricela, Costa Rica
COVID-19 affected my program in several ways, I had to leave Valencia where I was taking 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 from home. Furthermore, sadly I was forced to pause my Spanish lessons which I was enjoying a lot and benefiting a lot from. – Miguel, Portugal
2. How did Valencia, and Spain as a whole, react to the situation from your perspective?
From what I have seen in the United States, I think the reaction is much the same. Some citizens are paranoid, others are too relaxed. However, I think both countries can agree that more preventative measures early on would have been appreciated, rather than having to enforce strict rules after the situation worsened. – Keoni, USA
I think that Valencia and Spain as a whole reacted too late to the situation. With the mascletas (fireworks displays symbolic to the Fallas festival) going on every day, and all the people coming to Valencia for the Fallas, it was super expected that the coronavirus was going to spread in Valencia. But when they found out how serious it was, they made strict new regulations quickly, which were fitted I think. – Miguel, Portugal
3. How did EUROACE react to the situation and were you able to continue with your program?
4. Can you write a short reflection on your Spanish living and studying experience?
I loved working for Villarreal C.F. and I really liked the Spanish relaxed culture. And of course, Valencia is a beautiful city! – Sietske, Netherlands
When I look back on my time in Valencia I only have good memories. The classes were fun and interactive and never felt really like “school” as I experienced previously in the Netherlands in high school. The teachers were always really nice and always helpful. You can ask anything and they will explain. In the two months of having Spanish classes I learned so much. I did have a bit of previous Spanish education, but that was very basic. In my first class I didn’t understand a thing, and after two months I was able to have a good Spanish conversation. Currently I am following the online classes and I am enjoying them as well. Of course it is worse than real life classes, but the teachers are trying their hardest to still make the classes enjoyable and educational. My housing in Valencia was really good as well. It was situated in the centre of the city, and the walk to school was no more than 2 minutes. I had some problems with the wifi in my room and Euroace helped me really good with that. – Bram, Netherlands
I really enjoyed my stay in Valencia especially thanks to the people I met there. I hope that the internship experience and the time taken to learn Spanish during my stay will bring positive things for me in the future. – Mizuki, Japan