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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students regain study abroad opportunities

Photo by via

Texas A&M’s Education Abroad program gives students the opportunity to travel and explore new places particularly as COVID-19 cases begin to decline. 

After COVID-19 kept people in their homes and brought students studying abroad back to the states, Aggies are anxious to get out of the house and once again experience new places.
In the spring and summer of 2020, Texas A&M’s Education Abroad program was forced to make the tough decision to bring many students back home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the program has sent students abroad in increasing numbers, always maintaining the health and safety of students as their top priority. Additionally, Aggies are taking advantage of opportunities to travel for both work and pleasure as more countries become available to tourists.
Interning at a nonprofit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, marketing senior Reagan King said she has had an interesting experience getting to learn about the culture as someone who lives there, rather than someone visiting for a short period.
“It’s nice to be able to travel, but I definitely have a lot less freedom to do so here than in America due to the restrictions that have been put in place,” King said.
In order to enter the country, King said she had to test negative for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days.
“Thailand is in the midst of another wave, so you have to wear a mask everywhere,” King said. “It isn’t prevalent in Chiang Mai, which is why I was able to come, but it’s definitely still a big concern here.”
Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Thailand, King said her opportunities have been limited.
“Thailand’s economy is very tourist based, especially in Chiang Mai, so a lot of people are out of work, and there aren’t very many activities to do that you would think of when you think of Thailand,” King said. “But I have had the chance to go to some of the night markets, eat amazing food and visit Doi Suthep and other temples while I’ve been here.”
Currently in Alaska, Abigail Scott, Class of 2020, said her group encountered various COVID-19 related obstacles on the way there.
“We drove from Florida to get here, so we had to go through Canada,” Scott said. “There were a lot of restrictions going through Canada, especially because we weren’t Canadian citizens, so we weren’t going to quarantine because we were literally just trying to get through the country.”
During her time in Alaska, Scott said she is able to experience various new places like the town of North Pole, in which there are many North Pole and Santa Claus themed attractions.
“We came up last August, so I’ve been here about eleven months now,” Scott said. “I’ve been to Denali National Park, we’ve gotten to do a lot of hiking and there’s a natural hot spring up here that I’ve done. I’ve had to put my car in[side] because it’s been negative 40 degrees, but it’s been fun.”
As more people get vaccinated and restrictions are lifted, Scott said it’s a relief to see life return to normal.
“It’s great that things are opening back up, and I’m glad to be able to go to places and not have to wear a mask,” Scott said.
Also recently in Alaska, Megha Viswanath, Class of 2021, said her trip was much needed.
“We went road tripping and hiking and went on a cruise where we saw whales and other wildlife,” Viswanath said.
On the flight and at the airport, Viswanath said masks were required at all times.
“We also had to wear masks on the cruise ship, as well as in federally regulated areas, but other than that, if you were vaccinated, you were okay,” Viswanath said.
In her experience, Viswanath said traveling has been incredibly beneficial for her mental health.
“It was a mental break from staying home, especially because I hadn’t really gone on any trips during COVID[-19],” Viswanath said. “Just being able to get out of Texas and have new experiences was refreshing.”

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