The Collegian
Monday, October 26, 2020

31

Total cumulative cases

5,842

Total COVID-19 tests

0.5%

Total positivity

6

Current cases

1.1%

Current monthly positivity rate

Study abroad will happen spring 2021

The Office of International Education announced limited study abroad programming yesterday, wrote Ellen Sayles, associate dean and director of education abroad, in an email to The Collegian on Oct. 5. 

Sayles wrote that 71 students had applied to study abroad in the spring semester, but not all locations and programs would be available.

Students who were not able to study abroad this semester did not have to submit a new application, but they will have to change any information that is no longer accurate, Sayles said in an interview with The Collegian. 

The offerings for spring 2021 programs are less than usual, Sayles said. The OIE took travel restrictions and U.S. Department of State advisories into account when deciding which programs to allow students to apply to, she said.

The list of study abroad programs that are scheduled to occur is available in a document in Box

Students whose programs were approved received an email on Oct. 5 from the OIE stating precautions for students such as a 14-day quarantine once students arrive in the country and limited traveling within the country and outside, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Collegian. 

The email sent to students also stated that the decision to hold limited study abroad was based on current circumstances and could be reversed at any time, according to the email.

Junior Hadley Beckstrand applied to the IES-Rome program for the spring semester, but she was not sure if she would go if accepted, she said.

“I kind of want to get out of the country because it's like a mess,” Beckstrand said. “But on the other hand, it's difficult because it's not going to be the same abroad. You're not going to be able to go to different countries while studying abroad during COVID.”

Beckstrand had originally applied to study abroad this semester, she said. She wanted to go to Rome to learn about art history, her major, she said.

“[Rome is] such an important place for art and the origination of art-historical thought," Beckstrand said. "So many of the thinkers and kind of grounds setters or whatever -- they were from Italy. So it is a key place to be and to see all the stuff there that I've been studying in my class."

Junior Elena Bagnoli, who was also supposed to study abroad in Italy this semester, decided to apply for a summer 2021 program because she does not think students will be able to study abroad next semester, she said. Bagnoli also does not want to wait until fall 2021 to study abroad, she said. She wants to be on campus her senior year, she said. 

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“I've always wanted to study abroad in Italy," Bagnoli said. "My dad studied abroad in Rome and always talks about it. We went on a family vacation to Italy. And that just kind of cemented it; I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to study here.’”

Some of the most popular study abroad programs are not being offered next spring, including programs in Australia, New Zealand and Spain, Sayles said. The only program in a Spanish-speaking country is in Ecuador, according to the spring 2021 study abroad offerings list.

Junior Aerin Kalmans, a Latin American and Iberian studies minor, wanted to study in Madrid in the spring semester, but study abroad programs in Spain got canceled, she said.

“The main reason I was going to go to Madrid was to immerse myself, because I'm trying to become fluent,” Kalmans said. 

Kalmans decided not to study abroad during summer 2021 or the 2021-22 academic year because doing so would interfere with internship opportunities and she wants to be on campus for her senior year, she said.

“I think that [not studying abroad] will, in the long run, impact my Spanish, but hopefully I'll be able to do something in the future in different ways to boost my Spanish,” Kalmans said. “But I love [UR], and I'm really happy to be back. And I'm really happy that we're in person. 

"I'm thankful for a lot of things, but I definitely was expecting to go abroad in my college career.”

Sayles recommends that students whose desired study abroad programs have not been canceled make other academic plans in case they are not able to go abroad in the spring, she said.

“Given the current status of the world our recommendation [for students] is to be as flexible as they can, and to develop plan A, plan B and maybe even Plan C," Sayles said. "We never know what's going to happen these days, in terms of the pandemic."

Contact news editor Jackie Llanos at jackie.llanoshernandez@richmond.edu.

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