An Amplified Experience: A Phenomenological Study of Studying Abroad During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Jeremy Doughty University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC)
  • Alyssa Nota University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC)



COVID-19, Education Abroad, International Education, Student Affairs, Phenomenology


COVID-19 largely brought U.S. education abroad to a halt. As universities and education abroad organizations bolstered risk management policies, students slowly returned to study abroad programs. Our phenomenological study explored the meaning that students who studied abroad during the pandemic gave to their experiences. We found that the essence of the phenomenon was an amplified version of the meaning that students gave to pre-pandemic study abroad experiences.

Abstract in German

Der Ausbruch der Covid-19-Pandemie hat US-Austauschprogramme weltweit nahezu zum Erliegen gebracht. Nachdem Universitäten und Austauschorganisationen ihre Richtlinien für ihr Risikomanagement verschärft haben, kehrten Studierende langsam zum Angebot von Auslandsaufenthalten zurück. Unsere phänomenologische Erhebung hat die Bedeutung untersucht, die Studierende, die während der Pandemie im Ausland eine Hochschule besucht haben, ihrer Auslandserfahrung zugeschrieben haben. Wir sind zu dem Ergebnis gekommen, dass jene Studierende dem Format eines Auslandsaufenthalts eine noch größere Bedeutung beigemessen haben als es Studierende bereits vor der Coronakrise getan haben.


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Author Biographies

Jeremy Doughty, University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC)

Jeremy R. Doughty serves as the resident director for USAC’s education abroad programs in England. Jeremy has worked in the field of international education since 2005 in roles that range from an English instructor with the Peace Corps in Ukraine to the director of study abroad at a liberal arts college in Wisconsin. Jeremy received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Bowling Green State University.

Alyssa Nota, University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC)

Alyssa Nota was named CEO/President of USAC in 2017, after 17 years as onsite Director and expanding USAC’s Italy programs and additional programs across Europe and Asia. Over more than 25 years in international education, she has been active in international program design and implementation, curriculum development, negotiation with international universities, student support, and teaching. Alyssa received her Ph.D. in education/curriculum and instruction from Boston College.


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How to Cite

Doughty, J., & Nota, A. (2022). An Amplified Experience: A Phenomenological Study of Studying Abroad During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 241–274.



Research Articles