Loyola senior enjoyed a summer abroad despite the pandemic


Courtesy of Zoe Stambaugh.

Before graphic design senior Zöe Stambaugh was even able to set foot in the city of Seoul this summer, she had a cotton swab shoved up her nose. 

Stambaugh, a designer at The Maroon, had to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to her arrival in South Korea and had to get an additional test done once she arrived. She also had to quarantine for two weeks after her arrival and take another test once those two weeks were over. 

Stambaugh, a recipient of the Gilman scholarship, was one of only two students to study abroad this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite the many hardships that the pandemic brought upon students at Loyola, the Center for International Education felt confident sending students out in the summer, said Wyatt Boykin, study abroad advisor. 

Loyola typically does not allow students to study abroad in countries that have a travel advisory designation of Level 3 or 4, but much of the world is at this level, according to Boykin. 

South Korea was categorized as a Level 4 for COVID-19 by the South Korean Government when she planned to go, according to Stambaugh. She said there was a city curfew at midnight and that you could only go out in pairs. 

“It made it difficult to hang out with many of the people in the program. However, I felt safer being in smaller groups for COVID safety,” Stambaugh said. 

Stambaugh said that every time she went to a restaurant or café, she had to write down her current address, phone number, temperature, and any additional symptoms she may be experiencing which would allow her to be contacted if there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 in that space. 

Despite all the restrictions, Stambaugh found ways to have fun in Seoul. 

“We constantly went out when we could and explored,” Stambaugh said. She said her favorite experience was at the Gyeongbok Palace, an ancient palace in the center of Seoul.