The University of Iowa

In the news: Study abroad prioritizes virtual experiences, bringing back travel in the fall

March 31st, 2021

Mary Hartel, The Daily Iowan

When University of Iowa junior Linette Lang embarked for Spain in spring 2020, she anticipated staying for nearly eight months and completing two different experiences abroad.

But when Lang got recalled home after just two months, she had to find a new way to use her Gilman scholarship — a grant that helps undergraduate students study abroad.

Lang said that, after a discussion with her study-abroad adviser, she decided to use the scholarship to do a virtual internship through University Studies Abroad Consortium during fall 2020.

According to the UI International Programs 2020 annual report, Lang is one of 24 students who participated in virtual global internships between the summer and fall of 2020.

With undergraduate student travel at the UI on hold through at least Aug. 1, International Programs is continuing to develop virtual programming and plans for the future, like Lang’s experience.

The in-person and virtual experiences were similar in the sense that they both gave Lang a chance to learn a foreign system and gain a new perspective on how America runs, she said.

“I wouldn’t put one over the other because my virtual internship really taught me time management and learning responsibility and discipline,” Lang said.

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