By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
The Center for Global Engagement is offering alternatives to international learning due to the cancellation of study abroad trips through July 1 because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
Students affected by the cancellations can apply to a later term in the event that study abroad restrictions are lifted, Dr. Bo White, director of study abroad, said.
Holly Joyner, program manager of Global Baylor, said students whose trips were canceled are not guaranteed to be accepted if they apply again for study abroad, but they will help them through the process.
“We would obviously help those students a lot more in the sense of we’ll pull all their applications and pull it over to the next one if we can, so they maybe don’t have to rewrite it,” Joyner said. “They can be assured that we are in their corner, and that we will help them every step of the way if they want to try to make this work for them again.”
White said the decision was made to cancel summer one because COVID-19 alert levels from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State did not decrease. Other factors included closed borders in Australia and canceled international travel routes from Australia-based airline, Qantas. White also said the recent plan to lift restrictions in the U.K. projected a mostly full reopening around mid-June.
Overall, there is still limited mobility and limited entry into countries around the world due to COVID-19 cases here and abroad, White said.
“Many EU countries still have curfews in place or a color-coded system restricting travel within the region,” White said. “Due to the need to pay money up front for hotels, flights and coursework arrangements, we need to make the decision early enough to either refund student deposits or help students make alternative plans.”
White said he wouldn’t be surprised if students needed to get a vaccine before they traveled abroad since similar proposals have been made in other countries. He said they would expect to know more in the near future.
However, he emphasized that students can still engage in international study while travel restrictions are in place.
“International education is more than travel, and while restrictions may be in place, there is a lot for students to engage with at Baylor that will help them prepare to go,” White said.
Opportunities for international learning could include earning a certificate in global engagement, participating in virtual internships with the University of Sydney in Australia or fulfilling the embedded study abroad course, GBL 1101. The Global Baylor calendar of activities offers additional ways for students to engage.
Joyner said students who partake in the certificate program benefit from it on campus too.
“Any student who goes through and seeks out international experiences on campus is definitely going to take away more from their campus experience because they are getting a diversity of voices and they are getting a chance to try a lot more new things or new foods even. Obviously new friends if they get involved with the international students,” Joyner said. “And so I think it’s a much more robust experience, even on Zoom.”