SDSU study abroad programs to remain suspended through the summer

by Patrick Doyle, Senior Staff Writer

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out around the world with varying success, San Diego State has confirmed that all faculty-led study abroad programs will continue to be suspended through the summer.

While there is no word on when these programs will resume beyond the summer, the university said that “students can expect additional opportunities to become available as state, county and international public health guidance continues to evolve.”

The university also reiterated that study abroad graduation requirements, such as for the Weber Honors College, continue to be waived for the foreseeable future, but offered no word on when the waiver would end.

Many students who are required to study internationally to graduate hope the waiver stays in effect until more people are vaccinated and COVID-19 case numbers significantly decrease.

“Because I don’t know how other countries are doing with administering the vaccine, it seems a bit insensitive to travel and open up study abroad programs,” nursing sophomore Sathya said. “Even if I or the students in these programs are vaccinated, we could possibly spread COVID to other people in other nations…So I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable traveling even though I want to.”

Sathya said she is currently enrolled in a class that offers a virtual study abroad program over the summer, which is one of the methods SDSU claims will help students feel connected internationally despite not being able to physically travel.

“The university also continues to offer global education via many virtual classes and academic programs, which have traditionally had an international experience requirement; and have individually responded with a variety of alternative programming to continue to emphasize global learning outcomes during the pandemic,” the university said in a statement. 

Additionally, the university stated that they will continue to support students who pursue study abroad opportunities through approved organizations. They advise that students prepare for changes and install the Alert Traveller app to give them relevant public safety information for their location.

But despite these measures, some students like history and political science sophomore Grace deVega still feel uncomfortable about traveling this year.

“I think starting next summer, 2022, I would feel comfortable studying abroad,” deVega said. “I don’t think (currently) I would feel that comfortable just considering the fact that we haven’t vaccinated as many people as I think we should before we are allowed full international travel and study abroad programs. The school is all about student safety and so I think if they really want to push that and make sure that that’s at the forefront of their agenda then they want to assure we are vaccinated and have all the precautions necessary to travel safely.”

The university has said that there are currently “no discussions or proposals regarding fee increases for study abroad programs.” They also encourage all SDSU students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated when eligible. When more study abroad programs become available, information can be found on the SDSU Aztecs Abroad website.