Studying abroad in the wake of coronavirus
Univ. announces restrictions to student travel following updates about the coronavirus.
Provost Lisa M. Lynch announced in a March 9 email to students and families that international trips planned between now and May 3 would be canceled. It is unclear whether this will affect fall semester study abroad programming. As the March 20 deadline for summer study abroad programs quickly approaches, students must decide what the prospect of studying abroad will look like for them in wake of the coronavirus.
Students are permitted to study abroad over the summer; however, Brandeis has suspended all University travel and study abroad programs in mailand China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, Associate Dean of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid said in a March 6 email to the Justice. In a March 9 email, Lynch announced that all upcoming University-related, international travel until May 3 will be suspended.
Students returning from Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, Italy and South Korea) and from Level 2 countries (currently Japan) will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus, Lynch wrote. Lynch explained that students who live on campus must complete their self-quarantine period off campus.
Since the coronavirus is constantly evolving, primarily impacting travel, studying abroad can be daunting.
“The Office of Study Abroad is in daily communication with its affiliate program partners abroad (program providers and host universities) in order to continuously monitor how the situation might develop over the coming weeks and months,” Van Der Meid said.
Students hoping to study abroad in a French, Hebrew, Spanish or Italian speaking country are required to successfully complete class levels of at least 10 and 20 beforehand in order to “demonstrate a basic knowledge” of the language, according to the Study Abroad website.
“Students who study abroad in China, South Korea or Italy are required to take one course in that language if they go abroad to that country,” Van Der Meid said.
He explained that students who switched study abroad locations this semester due to the coronavirus were able to switch into countries that did not have a language prerequisite.
Students who would like to study abroad but have only taken languages where travel is restricted can still study abroad, if they so choose, he said.
“Brandeis understands the impact that a mid-semester change to coursework can have and strives to work closely with our affiliate program partners in order to help mitigate potential impacts on students’ academic progress,” Van Der Meid said. “Should a program decide to suspend operations for the semester, we will work with students to consider alternate means to maintain academic progress, following the options set out by their respective programs or universities.”
At this point, study abroad programs outside of mainland China, Italy, Iran and South Korea are still operational this summer. However, since this situation is constantly evolving, it is important to carefully weigh whether or not studying abroad is the right decision for you, Van Der Meid said.
“Students and families with questions about how their time abroad might be impacted should reach out to the Office of Study Abroad so that we can navigate this complicated global health situation together,” Van Der Meid said.
More information can be found on the Brandeis Study Abroad Responding to the Coronavirus page.