When the pandemic first hit at the beginning of this year, Study Abroad Programs was forced to extend its trips to the year 2021.
As COVID-19 rapidly spread in the middle of March, Georgia State students were unable to study abroad in China, Italy, Japan and South Korea, according to Laura Boudon, director and coordinator of Study Abroad Programs.
Since March 19, the U.S. Department of State has maintained a level 4 global health advisory, which means U.S. citizens should avoid international travel during the spread of COVID-19.
According to Boudon, Georgia State’s travel advisory is at a level 3 or higher. In order for students to travel to any country in 2021, the country has to be at a level 2 advisory or lower, according to the State Department (although level 1 is ideal). Therefore, there will be no traveling in the fall semester for the study abroad students.
As the pandemic continues apace, countries have set their own legal requirements for entrance into their country.
According to Boudon, residents of the U.S. are not allowed to enter the European Union without a specific exception.
”If a country requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entrance in 2021, then we would discuss this with the program director and the students in that program and make sure they complete this step before departing for their study abroad program,” Boudon said.
The Study Abroad Programs team has stated it is willing to discuss health and safety concerns with students. Georgia State will not permit students to study abroad until they believe it is safe for them to do so.
Though study abroad is not currently available, the advising and information sessions for fall 2021 has encouraged students to gain interest.
Kalynn Harris, a Georgia State student, was looking forward to being a part of the study abroad program.
She always wanted to travel out of the country, particularly to France.
Harris had been in contact with Study Abroad Programs since last spring to plan her trip to France before it was canceled.
“I was very disappointed,” Harris said. “I was looking forward to going to France because I love their culture.”
Although Harris was disappointed with her trip being canceled, she’s still looking forward to her trip to Toulouse, France in the year 2021. She will be taking courses that count towards her marketing degree at Toulouse Business School.
“I had actually befriended some people from Toulouse [on] social media and we still talk on Snapchat and Instagram,” Harris said. “I’m looking forward to finally meeting them and experiencing this unique opportunity to study in a foreign country and get out of my comfort zone and discover more of who I am as an independent person in a new country and all the lessons and the ups and downs that come with that.”
This upcoming school year, Study Abroad Programs and the Office of International Initiatives are working with faculty and students for spring and summer 2021.
”We currently offer virtual advising, will host a virtual study abroad fair September 22 through 24, and offer a variety of virtual programming in summer and fall to discuss the benefits of study abroad and the various scholarships available to students for study abroad,” Boudon said. “We continue to prepare students for future opportunities.”