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April 9, 2020
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Student Voices: Navigating finances and internships post study abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Just a few weeks ago, I was studying abroad and exploring in Prague with my best friends and a group of new friends. After hearing news of Italy and Spain study abroad programs getting cancelled, I felt lucky to be in a country with a mere level one threat. But seemingly overnight, I was being called home by both my home university and the president. 

While I could go on for hours on the lost study abroad experiences and the goodbyes said too early, that would be of little use to anyone. But, what did all of this mean financially? To start, it meant a $1,300 one-way flight back to the United States, eating the airline and hotel costs of future trips and lost housing money. 

Amidst all the chaos of getting home before borders potentially closed, these costs were unavoidable so I try not to dwell on them. In an attempt to look on the positive side of being forced out of my Prague study abroad program, I told myself I would look for a job or internship that would fill my time and bring in extra money. However, once I arrived back in the US, San Francisco closed all non-essential businesses, and summer internships were being cancelled left and right. Within the week, the rest of the country followed suit. 

With this being my last summer before graduating college, the thought of an internship-less summer is weighing down on me like a ton of bricks. Although things like summer internships must take the backburner during such scary and uncertain times, college students like me still have to keep a part of our minds focused on school, work and our futures. 


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As a journalism major, I am looking into potential freelance writing and/or remote internship positions. Really, I am looking for anything to gain professional experience and potentially some side money for now and this summer. Although it is not a paid opportunity, I recently registered to write for The Artifice as a way to get my writing published and build my portfolio while conventional internships are put on pause.

With few paid opportunities in sight, I am trying to take the entire situation day by day, setting aside a chunk of time each day dedicated to internship and/or professional experience opportunities. 

Photograph of Sophia Westover
Sophia Westover
Student Blogger

Sophia Westover is a junior at University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is currently working on BA in Journalism with an emphasis on Strategic Communication and a minor in Gender and Women's Studies.

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