Study abroad projected to continue after spring 2021

Ty Mcphee, Staff Reporter

Students seeking study abroad opportunities may be happy to hear that the program is looking forward to opening after spring 2021. 

Due to travel restrictions that have been in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans for some programs have been halted until given the all-clear for travel again.

The Office of International Studies and Programs offers over 500 different programs of learning in over 75 different countries worldwide. 

These can last anywhere from one week to an entire academic year.

Associate Director of Education Abroad Steve Cook spoke about the plans that have been made for the study abroad program amid the pandemic. 

“We’re letting [students] know that with the current [COVID-19] situation that we have suspended through the end of the spring and are monitoring conditions for making decisions beyond that,” Cook said.

Cook said that they are operating under the assumption that, come summer 2021, the program will be able to open back up and allow students wishing to study abroad the opportunity to do so. 

The projected date could be pushed back further into 2021, but they are hopeful they can continue with the program.

The study abroad program has been doing virtual exchanges to encourage students to continue their interests in an eventual program.

Cook said Japanese language students have been connecting with students at Shimane University in Japan to do virtual language exchanges. 

Students have the choice of going through email or Zoom, and follow guided conversations in their target language.

“That’s happened for Japanese, Korean and Russian and we’re trying to work on getting French and Spanish going as well,” Cook said.

This type of exchange opportunity was tested spring quarter with Korean, Japanese and Russian. 

There was demand for the Japanese exchanges to continue, as well as lining up with the exchange school’s academic calendar, so the program continued during the summer quarter. 

Cook also noted that Associate Professor in the History Department Jason Dormady has connected with a partner university in Yucatán, Mexico to have guest lecturers for his Latin studies and Latin American studies classes, and has connected students with Mexican students for a virtual pen pal exchange.

Students can attend study abroad information sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. via Zoom that go over financial aid help, how to look for a program, how to apply for programs and the benefits of choosing to study abroad.