Study abroad programs have started to be canceled or modified for the fall semester due to COVID-19.
The programs that have been canceled for the fall semester have instead been deferred to spring 2021. These include the Southern Hemisphere programs, exchange programs and the Budapest Film Academy, according to Director of Study Abroad Lisa Loberg.
Other popular programs, such as in countries like Spain, France and Italy, are currently still planning on running as normal. The study abroad office told students planning to go abroad to register for LMU classes and apply for on-campus housing in case the programs are canceled, according to Loberg.
This leaves these students with much uncertainty about what their fall semester may look like.
“It has been extremely difficult to place hope in where my future lies for the fall. I have not allowed myself to get really excited about study abroad yet because there is still so much uncertainty whether it’s happening for sure or not,” said Christina Beardall, a sophomore health and human sciences major. “It’s disheartening not knowing where I can start placing hope for the future of this fall but I am trying to remain optimistic.”
Many programs have modified the semester to be shorter due to difficulties in the acquisition of student visas. Normally, students apply for visas so they can stay longer than a tourist visa permits. Since the shutdown of cities nationwide, the consulate offices that give out visas are currently closed. This caused study abroad programs to cut the length of the program so that students only need a 90-day tourist visa, according to an email sent out to students in the affected programs.
LMU's study abroad office has extended withdrawal deadlines and taken away fees for canceling or deferring. They are communicating with partners abroad, as well as monitoring the CDC and U.S. State Department advisories to make a decision regarding the fate of the rest of the programs for the fall, according to Loberg.
“LMU proactively monitors and evaluates worldwide conditions on an ongoing basis and will continue to respond swiftly as we prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” said Loberg.