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Study abroad programs return after a year of cancellations

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After more than a year of cancellations due to COVID-19, study abroad programs in Ohio are slowly making a comeback as a small number of students begin their trips around the world. Credit: Shree Luitel | lantern reporter

With the spread of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, Ohio State has canceled its study abroad programs. Even more than a year later, a small number of students were sent around the world and they are still restricted due to the pandemic.

according to Annual Report of the Bureau of International Affairs on Education AbroadNearly 90 percent of the more than 1,600 students enrolled to study abroad have canceled programs in 2020.

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For students whose programs were canceled, more than 1,300 received no credit, 39 received alternate credit and 31 transferred their application to another semester.

According to the report, 145 summer programs were canceled and 47 had to return in early 2020 due to the pandemic.

April Weintritt, a senior Italian language lecturer and assistant director of the Italian language program, said some of her students were forced to return to the United States in early 2020. Due to the way application courses were organized, many students’ applications for a different semester were postponed. .

“The students thought they could go in the summer or fall, but they just couldn’t,” Weintrett said. “It’s been a series of disappointments rather than just one big year.”

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Jenny Simmons, director of global education at the Bureau of International Affairs, said the ongoing effects of the pandemic have forced coordinators to change itineraries, and students do not have as much freedom of travel previously.

“Right now, when the pandemic is still very much a factor, it’s affecting the trajectories of the program — they are simpler and more conservative,” Simmons said. “Students are unlikely to be able to travel as much after the semester program, and there may be places they can’t go.”

Simmons said that along with program changes, the International Travel Policy Board and university leadership are tasked with determining whether study abroad programs can be open for the fall and spring semesters, and there are many factors influencing those decisions.

“There is a lot of fluidity in testing requirements, mandates that change, and keeping pace with that is a priority,” Simmons said.

Simmons said interest in study abroad programs has been strong, with attendance at informational sessions rising and students booking advisory appointments to plan ahead.

“The impact of studying abroad on students is almost immeasurable, from gaining multiple cultural competencies, building confidence, and learning about another way of life,” Simmons said.

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Alex Misick, a second-year anthropology student, said she wants to study abroad and is looking forward to the experiences.

“I look forward to meeting new people, experiencing a new place, and most of all, I am excited to meet people in my major from all over the world and share these experiences with them,” Messick said.

according to Office of International Affairs website, decisions have already been made for spring semester programs, with some programs approved. A limited number of programs are approved in the following countries for the spring semester: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

according to Office of International Affairs websiteThe dates for program feasibility decisions are as follows:

Faculty-led May cycle programmes: January 31, 2022.

Faculty-led programs in late summer: February 28, 2022.

Third Party Providers, Direct Enrollment and International Exchange Programs: March 14, 2022.

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