After a year of canceled flights and forsaken travel plans, the Study Abroad Office is hopeful to send students overseas to Oxford and Leipzig in the fall of 2021.
COVID-19 continued to make study abroad a challenge for the university and the students. Despite the challenges, the Study abroad office is hopeful for the future.
“We are hopeful that it’s going to happen,” said Stephen Shewmaker, executive director of Study Abroad. “Things are trending in the right direction in the United Kingdom and things are starting to trend in the right direction in Germany and in other countries in Europe. Hopefully that will continue.”
The Montevideo program will not be offered this fall, because there is still uncertainty as to what Latin America will look like in the coming months. The program will be offered again in the spring of 2022.
About 20 students are signed up to go to each location, which is a normal number for the fall study abroad programs in Europe. One of those students is Hatley Whitfield, a sophomore global studies major from San Antonio.
Whitfield’s study abroad program to Oxford in the fall of 2020 got cancelled as a result of the pandemic, and she looks forward to the prospect of studying in the United Kingdom next fall.
“I’m excited to be able to experience new things,” said Whitfield.“I feel like no one has been able to experience new things this past year, so I think it will be a good change of pace. I’m hoping it can happen.”
Restrictions are expected, especially when it comes to travel out of designated countries on the weekends. Restrictions were even worse during the 2020 travel year and it is unlikely the university will know what the travel plans for the upcoming years will be like.
However, Shewmaker assures students that should the programs run in the fall, students should not worry about having a lower quality experience than they would have had otherwise.
“We would expect the daily lives of students to be pretty comparable to what it would have been pre-pandemic,” said Shewmaker.“If we felt like that wouldn’t be the case, we wouldn’t run the program.”
The Study Abroad Office will communicate a decision on whether or not study abroad for the fall semester will be canceled or not no later than July 15.