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Spring 2021 Study Abroad

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Today I am writing to inform you that Vassar has made the difficult decision to suspend all study abroad for the spring 2021 semester. We hope to be able to resume study abroad in fall 2021.

Due to considerations for student health and safety, the Vassar College Policy on Student Travel prohibits College study abroad to locations with a U.S. State Department/United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisory of level 3 or above. For the vast majority of countries worldwide, and almost all of the destinations where our students had planned to study this spring, levels remain too high to permit student travel. The following factors also make study abroad for the spring 2021 semester unfeasible:

  • Continued concern about unreliable access to evacuation services, due to quickly changing in-country conditions and travel restrictions
  • Broad inability to limit student mobility at study abroad locations in order to effectively minimize exposure risks
  • Various in-country quarantine requirements
  • Uncertainties about future conditions in various countries
  • Disruptions to the academic integrity of programs
  • Impact upon quality of cultural immersion, including loss of residential and host family interactions
  • Significant delays in passport/visa processing
  • Travel restrictions in and out of various countries

While this was a difficult decision, we considered information from many sources very carefully, consulting not only with advisory information but with external expert resources and peer institutions as well. We believe that making this decision now is important for providing ample time for students and faculty advisors to work together to adjust academic plans to the greatest extent possible.

Vassar remains committed to global learning and will continue to support the many ways we incorporate and engage global perspectives in our curriculum. We look forward to when we are able to resume study abroad when conditions have improved sufficiently to do so.

I understand that this continued disruption to study abroad will be disappointing, especially for the many juniors who have long planned to integrate study abroad into their time at Vassar. I regret how the pandemic has impacted these plans that many students have worked very hard to pursue, but I am encouraged in knowing that there are many potential routes towards achieving your global learning goals. We will support you the best we can in your adjusted path forward.

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor public health conditions and official travel advisories, and we will maintain regular correspondence with our global study abroad partners as we all assess the feasibility of resuming study abroad programming. The Office of International Programs will follow up directly with all students who had been planning to study abroad this spring. Please visit the COVID-19 section of the Office of International Programs’ study abroad FAQs page for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of International Programs at internationalprograms@vassar.edu.

Sincerely,

Bill Hoynes
Dean of the Faculty