What will study abroad look like post pandemic?
Global Learning Hub discusses plans for study abroad programs in fall 2021
By Nora Farahdel, The California Aggie
"Among the many experiences lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been studying abroad. Given the stay-at-home orders and health directives, the prospect of students traveling overseas became dangerous and study abroad programs have been canceled or moved online since March 2020. However, as vaccines begin to be distributed, hope for a travel-filled future lingers in the air and provides possibilities for students dreaming of a study abroad experience.
Zachary J. Frieders, the executive director of UC Davis’ Global Learning Hub and Global Affairs, shared that the Global Learning Hub is continuing to navigate the uncertainty of these times as they determine the best decision for student safety. Frieders said that a decision about in-person fall programs will likely be made in May.
“Hopefully things will continue to evolve [and] we can send our students this fall,” Frieders said. “But if not, we want to get back out there as soon as we possibly can, and so we’ll just keep looking at the evolving guidances, the vaccination program rollout and how the virus is impacting different parts of the world differently. But we certainly intend to send study abroad as soon as we feel like it’s safe to do so.”
Joanna Regulska, the vice provost and dean of Global Affairs, shared that the decision-making process involves a variety of careful considerations.
“As always, we will be following guidance from the CDC [Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention], public health officials and others to adjust logistics and/or accommodations as necessary and we will continue to plan programs that have high quality academic and experiential rigor,” Regulska said via email.
Regulska shared that beyond the in-person study abroad programs, the Global Learning Hub also offers remote opportunities such as the Global Career Development series and the Global Ambassador Mentorship Program that provide students with experiences from their own homes.
“Study Abroad is an excellent way to gain global perspectives and experience the world, but it isn’t the only way,” Regulska said via email. “Global Affairs is here to help, especially our Global Learning Hub, which is linking students to existing global learning opportunities across campus and developing new ones.”