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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.

GEO to resume Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 study abroad programs

Thirteen Fall 2021 programs will take place across eight countries. Regarding Spring 2022 opportunities, students can choose from approximately 50 programs in 25 countries.
Alex Venero
The Student Life Center, which houses the Global Education Office, as photographed on March 16, 2021. (Hustler Multimedia/Alex Venero)

On June 21, the Global Education Office (GEO) announced the resumption of study abroad programs for the Fall 2021 semester. Approximately 50 undergraduate students, mostly seniors, will be studying in 13 programs across eight countries.

“We typically have a smaller number of students engaged in Study Abroad during the fall semester, and given our smaller number of approved offerings for fall 2021, this number of students is not surprising,” a GEO representative said in an email to The Hustler.

Vanderbilt suspended study abroad programs beginning in Summer 2020 due to COVID-19. The resumption of 13 programs for the Fall 2021 semester comes after considering factors including host country entry requirements, health care capacity and vaccination access and equity, according to the representative. The programs were also chosen based on relationships with overseas partners and their capacity to provide quality experiential learning, the representative added.

All students studying abroad, as with all students returning to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, are required to be vaccinated. While they can request exemptions from this mandate, requirements from partner programs, airlines or governments can overrule such accommodations.

“GEO and the Office of Global Safety wanted to prioritize a safe and controlled restart to study abroad, recognizing that the logistics would be complicated and additional risks would need to be mitigated,” the representative said. “The fall 2021 semester was the appropriate time to re-open study abroad given improved worldwide conditions and vaccine availability.”

Regarding tuition, the representative said that study abroad programs have worked toward keeping prices similar to those before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Junior Sara Brown, a French major and business minor, will be studying under the SIT Switzerland: Banking, Finance, and Social Responsibility program during the Fall 2021 semester. She commented on the benefits of financial aid offered by Vanderbilt’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

“At Vanderbilt, we’re really lucky to have an amazing financial aid system that allows students to study abroad for an entire semester for often less than the cost of tuition [on campus],” Brown said.

While most of the Fall 2021 programs were offered in previous years, the GEO added Yonsei University in South Korea to its roster of opportunities. The new offering is a result of a collaboration with the College of Arts and Science and the Department of Asian Studies

According to the representative, students in Fall 2021 study abroad programs are now entering a pre-departure planning stage. This phase includes meeting with relevant staff to learn about program orientation, travel logistics, COVID-19 mitigation measures and other aspects of studying abroad.

“Students may see a number of potential logistical changes depending on their destination country and program,” the representative said. “These include adjusted program lengths, housing changes (such as homestays being replaced with dorms or apartments), changes to program excursions, hybrid in-person/virtual course schedules, restrictions on independent travel, and of course the need to follow local COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.”

In Brown’s program, a two-week excursion from Switzerland to Greece transformed into two one-week excursions within Switzerland to curb the possible exposure to and spread of the COVID-19 virus across countries.

In regard to circumstances that could force cancelation, the representative said the Office of Global Safety conducts ongoing monitoring of its programs abroad. They stated that the GEO consults with the Vanderbilt Travel Risk Assessment Committee (VTRAC) to review each situation and recommend corresponding mitigation measures.

“While we can’t predict exactly how the pandemic will affect programming around the world, we do not anticipate students needing to return early from abroad as they did in spring 2020,” the representative said. 

In a July 14 email, the GEO announced a roster of approximately 50 study abroad programs to take place across 25 countries in Spring 2022. VTRAC will assess each of the Spring 2022 locations and make a final decision on Oct. 20 regarding their viability. 

“Students will be solely responsible for any costs associated with program cancellation, and for that reason students should avoid committing funds to airfare, housing, visa applications, and other arrangements as long as possible, and not until October 21, [2021], at the earliest,” the GEO website reads.

Brown encouraged students to take advantage of the university’s study abroad opportunities, especially those whose programs were upended by COVID-19.

“Vanderbilt is a school for study abroad, so if you’re even considering doing it post-pandemic, why not make it post-pandemic now?” she said.

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About the Contributors
Jonathan Liu
Jonathan Liu, Former Deputy News Editor
Jonathan Liu (‘24) is from Fremont, California. He is pursuing a major in Neuroscience and Music with a minor in Medicine, Health and Society. You can reach him at [email protected].
Alex Venero
Alex Venero, Former Multimedia Director
Alex Venero (‘23) is from Rumson, NJ. She is majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in World Politics. When not shooting for The Hustler, she can be found at almost any Vanderbilt Athletics event or exploring the food and coffee of Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].    
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