Hickey ’22 Learning Online, Abroad

By Caitlin Burns | October 9, 2020

Psychology major Kimberly Hickey ’22 was determined to study abroad this year, even if she would still be learning virtually. On Aug. 31, she realized the first step of her goal when she flew to Stirling, Scotland, to study abroad through the University of Stirling. 

“I figured why stay at home and do online school when I could be in another country and do online school,” said Hickey, who studied abroad in Stirling as a member of the 2018 Fall First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE) cohort. “The only places that [The College of Global Studies] were doing study abroad possibly were Scotland and England, and I wanted to come back.”

The South Shore, Massachusetts resident flew from Boston to London, and then from London to Stirling; she was required to wear a mask throughout the entire travel experience. Upon arrival, Hickey was required to quarantine for two weeks. However, after only one day of being able to move freely around Stirling, her roommate became ill and Hickey was once again required to quarantine until their COVID-19 tests came back negative. 

“Comparing it to last time [in Stirling], it’s much more isolated,” said Hickey. “Last time, my friends and I would go into Edinburgh a lot because it was a quick train ride. Now, with the restrictions, it’s harder to go and do things, but it’s also nice to stay around here and see around the town.”

Earlier in the year, Hickey was forced to return home after her study abroad program in New Zealand was moved online due to the pandemic. Then, her summer study abroad in Australia was cancelled. Those experiences didn’t stop her from trying to study abroad again though.

Although Hickey had only planned to study abroad in Stirling through the fall, she’s just applied to extend her experience for the entire 2020-21 academic year.

“I’m glad I’m here,” said Hickey. “I don’t think I’m being held back [from experiences] because we’re allowed to travel within Scotland. It’s just harder because I have to rely on public transportation to get around.” 

In addition to studying abroad in New Zealand and Scotland, as well as participating in the Stirling FYSAE, Hickey also went to China for Preview in 2019. Growing up in a small town, Hickey noted how she became much more independent and curious about the world because of her study abroad experiences.

“I like learning about different cultures and stuff, and seeing the world,” said Hickey. “Now I know I want to hopefully move to Scotland in the future or do grad school in Scotland because I just like it here so much.”