As schools prepare to resume in the fall, ACA (Adventist Colleges Abroad) has made the decision to resume its program, which will allow students to travel abroad starting in September.
Despite worldwide COVID-19 concerns, ACA’s programs in Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon and Spain will be prepared to open their campuses to students arriving in the fall. The only programs that have been suspended for the 2020-20201 school year are to Austria and Brazil.
Sandra Esteves, director of ACA, believes that campuses are taking precautions necessary in order for students to be safe during their time there.
“Each campus abroad has remained safe from COVID-19,” Esteves said. “Surprisingly, it looks like living abroad right now is safer than living in the United States, given that the U.S. has become the new hotspot of COVID-19 spread. Nevertheless, because this virus has spread to all the world, caution and education about how this virus is spread is essential to guide our daily life wherever it takes place.”
According to ACA’s website, safety measures at the campuses and dormitories will be adjusted to abide by WHO (Worldwide Health Organization) and government guidelines. Students will be given the opportunity to stay in single rooms with no additional cost. If a student is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, online courses will be ensured while in quarantine. Some of the other safety measures include face coverings provided and required to be worn by students and faculty, social distancing and body temperature checks, which will be taken regularly on campus and during cultural tours.
Along with studying on campus, organized tours and personal trips are a significant part of ACA’s program.
“As far as the cultural component of each program, each program director will do their best to offer an impressive ‘menu’ of cultural tours, equal to pre-pandemic times. But it is possible that some tours may have to be adapted due to safety concerns,” Esteves said.
For Hannah D’Avanzo, senior broadcast journalism major, this will be her second time going to Italy through ACA.
“I believe campuses abroad will take the measures needed regarding safety precautions. Overall, it’s our responsibility to keep ourselves safe, and I feel very comfortable going back to Italy for another year of school,” D’Avanzo said. “Although it will be a different experience than when I attend Villa Aurora my sophomore year, I’m excited for a new experience my senior year and am thankful it can still happen despite COVID-19.”
Heidi Ramierz, Hannah D’Avanzo and Alexis Johnson. D’Avanzo is going to Villa Aurora in Italy for a year abroad with ACA. This is the second time D’Aavanzo is participating in the ACA program. Photo courtesy of Hannah D’Avanzo.