Construction and renovation of ACU’s new Oxford house for the Oxford study abroad program will be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The house, which was originally supposed to be ready by the beginning of the fall semester, is located at 163 Woodstock Road, covering 6457 square feet and has eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, two kitchens, five reception rooms, a studio, an outside deck and backyard.
Even though the delays have also postponed the introduction of the new house, Cassidy Miller, study abroad coordinator, said that students will get to experience the new house later in the fall semester.
Miller said that this is because the students going to study abroad in Oxford and Leipzig will experience something the programs have never done before.
“We are actually combining the two programs,” Miller said. “They’re going to be spending five to six weeks together starting at the beginning of the fall semester in Leipzig and then they’re going to go over to Oxford for the remaining eight to 10 weeks,”
Miller said that because of this new experience, many of the students have said that they are excited for this opportunity.
“I know a lot of them are really excited, since we were already deciding between the two cities, that the students get to experience the best of both worlds.”
Stephen Shewmaker, executive director of ACU’s Center for International Education, said that although the plan is to have students studying abroad by next semester, they are staying updated as to make the right decision regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s odd to be in early to mid-April with no students abroad and knowing they won’t be until the earliest being July 1,” Shewmaker said. “This is not just affecting us but the whole world. We’re more aware of that acutely than others because that’s just the work we do.”
Because of this, Miller said that they are prioritizing safety for students and want them to know they are when considering study abroad in the future.
“Safety is always going to be our number one concern and we want students to have this great opportunity,” Miller said. “If we knew [a student] was not going to be safe in a certain situation, we would not put [them] in it. If there is a concern, we ask students to come talk to us. We are all about open communication so we can address those concerns and make students feel better.”