Internationalization Continues without Mobility
Is there really anything new to write about the pandemic era?
If this newsletter is any indication, the answer is “yes.”
As with nearly every other element of our culture and work, international education was buffeted—some might say nearly capsized—by the pandemic. Study abroad stopped at most institutions, including at St. John’s University, and inbound mobility—to the extent it did continue—was sustained by the remarkable determination of international students who worked tirelessly to make it happen, often under nearly impossible circumstances.
But as you will see throughout this “first peek” newsletter, international efforts advanced in new forms. Some represented a continuation of ongoing trends, such as our virtual exchange program GOLE. In other cases, they revealed entirely new ways of looking at cross-cultural engagement.
As you read these articles, you will find that mobility is far from the sole means of inculcating a broadened, more global mindset into our graduates. Instead, for reasons of equity and access, environmental impact, and yes, fast-emerging disasters like a pandemic, the St. John’s community has worked with our partners to use virtual platforms that connect students, faculty, and staff to peers, materials, and research opportunities far beyond New York City.
I want to close with a glimpse of our future: more than 50 students currently study abroad in Rome, Italy, and we have welcomed far more new international first-year students than we did in 2020. These trends are obviously positive, if preliminary, indicators of the post pandemic future that awaits us. We will do our best within the Office of Global Programs not to forget the lessons of the past year. As a first step, we will commemorate and learn from the extraordinary work of our colleagues, including those featured in this newsletter, who kept our global mission alive during a time in which it was most threatened.
We hope you will join our efforts as we move, with increasing confidence, into that new reality.
Matthew Pucciarelli, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Global Programs
By Pablo J. Sanchez