The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt suspends Fall 2020 study abroad

Prospective fall study abroad students were informed on the morning of May 15 that all Fall 2020 study abroad programs would be suspended.
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Emily Gonçalves
The Global Education Office, found next to Sarratt Box Office, has chosen to suspend all fall study abroad programs.

Prospective Fall 2020 study abroad students received an email informing them that the Global Education Office (GEO) has cancelled all fall study abroad opportunities for the coming semester May 15.

The email, from Director of Global Education Office Arik Ohnstad, reads that students who are not currently registered for fall classes at the university will be given a special registration period May 21-22 to adjust their registrations accordingly. Students were further instructed to contact the Office of Housing and Residential Education (OHARE) to register for the housing assignment process if they had not done so already.

Fall 2020 abroad students were also given the choice to defer their international studies to Spring 2021. The email also stated that Vanderbilt’s partners had waived their deposit requirements, but any student that incurred a non-refundable deposit was instructed to contact their GEO advisor as soon as possible. 

“Many factors make study abroad challenging at this time, including not only the logistics of travel between countries but also the difficulty of predicting specifics of the health and safety situation for our students,” the email reads. “Given the pandemic and ongoing need for measures including quarantines and social distancing, we are also mindful that study abroad experiences in the coming months likely would not look like the study abroad you’ve imagined.”

While Vanderbilt has been monitoring public health guidelines and U.S. State Department guidance, GEO has also encouraged students to develop a backup plan. In a March 10 email to prospective fall study abroad students, GEO emphasized that students should still register for classes and housing.

Rising junior Noelle Sweeney was originally debating between two fall semester study abroad programs in Ireland and Spain. Seeing the effects of COVID-19 at home and abroad, Sweeney ultimately decided to withdraw both of her applications a few weeks ago because she had concerns about complications due to COVID-19 abroad.

“It’s a tough situation for everyone overall,” Sweeney said. “Hopefully Vanderbilt will be able to work something out and give something back to those people.”

Sweeney added that GEO was helpful in assisting her as she withdrew her applications and said that their correspondence was understanding and supportive.

Boston University, Georgetown University and Trinity University have either entirely or partially cancelled their fall semester study abroad programs. The email stated that Vanderbilt’s partners had started to announce fall cancellations and GEO believes that other agencies will also cancel their programs in the coming days and weeks.

“All of us at the Global Education Office are saddened that you won’t have the opportunity to study abroad this fall,” the email reads. “We believe strongly in the personal and educational value of study abroad, and want to do everything we can to support you in your planning.”

This story has been updated to include student reactions.

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About the Contributors
Avery Muir, Former Managing Editor
Avery Muir ('21) is from Bethesda, MD. She studied political science and economics in the College of Arts and Science. Avery has been on staff since her first year at Vanderbilt, previously serving as a staff writer, Life Editor and then Copy Editor. In her free time, Avery likes drinking way too much coffee and exploring the Nashville food scene. You can reach her at [email protected].    
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
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