Global Education Department Adjusts During COVID Pandemic

The University’s Global Education Department has redefined their opportunities for global learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, cancelling spring and summer 2020 trips for students. Governments have cautioned their respective citizens from traveling beyond state/provincial borders, going as far as restricting some cases of international travel.

Graduate Assistant, Dena Capparelli, stated that the Global Education Office is adopting new methods of reaching students as she handles the department’s social media accounts. “During the early part of the spring semester, people were constantly in and out of the office, and now, most of the faculty is working remotely,” she explained.

In addition, students are increasingly more cautious to traveling outside the country. Capparelli stated, “while we obviously want more people to study abroad, students have to recognize the risks going into it, including possible cancellations.”  

The Global Education Department has adjusted accordingly, making every effort to support interested students. Capparelli and her co-Graduate Assistant, Karla Avila, host weekly virtual Study Abroad 101 Information Sessions. Avila, who has worked with the Global Education Office for over two years, values these opportunities to share her abroad experiences and excite others as a result. Notwithstanding the outlook for near-future travel, Avila stated that “most students are still open, optimistic, and enthusiastic.” In addition to providing insight into Monmouth’s study abroad programs, the department has also encouraged its recent partnership with CIS Abroad and their virtual internships. 

Kailee Moszynski, CIS Abroad’s Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Communication, gave some background on the internship application process, the opportunity itself, and the unique benefits to remote learning. Moszyniski’s role in students’ virtual internship begins with students’ applications and ends after their completion of the six-week program.

She personally conducts the interviews, which are guaranteed for all applicants. After accepting a student, she works with her teams in Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, and others to determine a specific host location for that intern. 

Her role illustrates how she feels about the program, which is that “students are not alone in this program,” and everything is done to “ensure that they feel like they have a team behind them every step of the way.” After a student is placed with a host, they are assigned multiple programs and modules that get them internship ready. This includes resume building exercises, LinkedIn set ups, time management and organization tips, among other exercises. 

According to Moszynski, the team at CIS want “to make sure students are getting the most out of their experiences.” Subsequently, Moszyniski stated that “students were surprised at how much they were learning, and how confident they had become for future employment.” These students have access to employable skills that are that much more advantageous to have in this new remote world. 

When discussing the state of this program post-pandemic, Moszynski explained that “what started as a replacement has evolved into a sought-after experience.” Her sentiments were mirrored by both Capparelli and Avila. Avila had even said that she wished this was available to her as a freshman and sophomore, “it is just that unique.”

In terms of promoting this program to the University student body, Capparelli emphasized that this program be taken advantage of by first- and second-year students; she stated, “so many people only think of the huge trips, like Italy or London,” and neglect other programs that are better suited for their needs. 

The Global Education Department’s motto consists of the acronym ABC’s: Academics with a Global Perspective, Broadening one’s Cultural Awareness, and having a Competitive Advantage.

When students can keep an open mind about alternative abroad experiences, Moszynski stated that “students will leave with real experiences, having completed meaningful work and fostered tangible relationships.” This program is the beginning for “making international education a reality for more students,” Moszynski said.