The Return of Study Away

Photo by Spencer Davis on

Story by Culture Editor Leah Ash

The Study Away programs at Aquinas have been shut down the last two years (for good reason). However, the future looks bright for international studying. As restrictions ease for travel and we slowly work on emerging from the pandemic, opportunities to learn outside the country are coming back. 

A brand new development at Aquinas is the creation of the Office of International Programs. The new director, Nisha van Laar, was previously the Coordinator of ESL and Global Student Services at the Center for Opportunities, Resources, and Excellence (C.O.R.E.). She describes the new office as “ a restructuring of international services into one comprehensive unit.” This includes international students coming to Aquinas, study away programs, the visas needed for both, and anything else related to learning internationally. 

For Spring 2022, there are short term study abroad trips available to students. All short term trips are associated with an Aquinas class, followed by a trip to the country that ranges from 9 days to a couple of weeks. They can go to Greece, Iceland, Costa Rica, Germany, and Italy.  The classes are offered in a variety of courses to fit in everyone’s schedule; whether they cover a major or a Gen-Ed requirement. For example, the Iceland course can fulfill requirements for either History, Geography, and English, while Greece is a Humanities course and Costa Rica is Sustainable Business. There are actually two trips to Germany slated for next semester: one for Business and one for German, Studio Art, and Art History. Students should apply quickly, as many classes are getting pretty full!

Currently, there are semester-long study away programs that are slated for the year 2022-2023. Each country’s program runs in a specific semester, so plan ahead if you choose to study abroad. In Fall 2022, the programs in England, Italy, Japan and Spain are planned. In Spring 2023, students can travel to Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, and Argentina. Within the next couple of weeks, the application should be available to students to apply for the semester-long sessions. The application will be open until mid-January, so keep an eye out for it! It will be on the Aquinas Study Away webpage. 

Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on

Why should students study away? There are a multitude of reasons. Studying Away allows students to fully immerse themselves into a new culture, and put their learning into practice. Van Laar says “experiencing things first hand not only helps cement learning but it builds empathy. Plus new places means new food, new adventures, and cool stories to share when you come home.” Do you want to explore the world? 

Want to apply? Check out the website for both semester-long and short-term options (

If you want to learn more, contact Nisha van Laar at

The health and safety of Aquinas students is the priority, and Study Away will continue to monitor the health and safety of the international destinations to ensure students are safe.