A message from the Global Education Office on study abroad support

Photo of group looking outward to the mountains.
Photo courtesy of Liz Reilly

Dear Global Education community,

The last few weeks have brought unprecedented global developments causing anxiety and concern for many of our students, families, faculty, staff, and partners. We want to take a moment to thank all of you for your understanding. We share in your disappointment over canceled programs, early returns home, and experiences that did not occur. While our focus is still on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we understand that you may have questions about the future of study abroad programming.

We cannot know with certainty what the timeline will be moving forward. The situation evolves daily, at times hourly. We are responding first to the immediate needs of our students — both domestic and international exchange — and appreciate your patience as all concerns are addressed. We are making every effort to be transparent in our communications while providing the most up-to-date and accurate information. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Global Education website. Please also refer to the university’s COVID-19 page for the latest information and announcements.

To our faculty program leaders and students of Fall and Winter 2020 programs: At this time, please proceed as if study abroad programs will run as normal by the fall term. All of this is contingent on the alleviation of the COVID-19 crisis. We strongly encourage that you take precautions such as purchasing travel insurance and preparing contingency plans. We strongly recommended that program leaders work with University Legal Counsel to vet vendor contracts and that financial commitments are made closer to travel dates. Should you have questions, please connect with members of the Global Education program management team.

For students interested in pursuing study abroad programs: We commend you for recognizing the value that international experiences can add to your academic, professional, and personal development. We want to continue to offer you support throughout the entire study abroad process.

Following CDC and university guidelines, all Global Education Office events and programs have been canceled for the remainder of Spring 2020. This includes in-person student advising and the Spring Fair originally scheduled for March 24. A full list of canceled events can be found here.

We will be offering virtual study abroad advising via Zoom. Our dedicated team of peer advisors will be available to speak with interested students. We will share this information as details are finalized.

For students who returned from programs early or were participants of canceled programs: We are coordinating with on-campus partners to design programs and resources with you in mind. If you have ideas on what offerings might be beneficial to you, please feel free to reach out to us.

The Global Education Office team is here to support you. Given possible closures, the best way to reach us is by email to vtabroad@vt.edu. We will have the ability to check the office voicemail, but responses may be delayed.

The ongoing global health crisis recognizes no borders and highlights how very connected we all are. Just as our social distancing at home is driven by concern for our community, so our discontinuation of programs abroad reflects our recognition of global concerns and in no way signifies our withdrawal from international engagement writ large. We fully believe that interactions and mutual understanding between cultures will be all the more important in the aftermath of COVID-19. We look forward to when the world can safely open its doors and these meaningful interactions can take place again.

 

Theresa Johansson

Director of Global Education

Global Education Office, Outreach and International Affairs