COVID-19 has drastically changed traveling abroad opportunities for VWU students. With global policies and travel bans in effect, the plan of action for study away has been altered at VWU.
Cancellations and alterations have been made for most of the previously planned trips as well as upcoming experiences for the spring. Vaccination requirements and mandatory quarantines continue to hinder the ability of students to travel during the fall semester.
Virginia Wesleyan has provided students with options to delay, change or cancel their programs for the Fall 2021 semester. Students had the choice to continue with their trip in the fall or delay it to the spring, with the hope that travel would return to certain normalcy.
Several programs, such as those to Japan and Australia, were canceled, and students were forced to find alternate options. Some students had a shortened timeline to find different travel locations throughout the summer. A senior student at VWU, Justin Lee, explained how he had to change his plans from New Zealand to Finland. “I had to quickly pick another place that I could go, and Finland caught my eye due to its good environmental program.” This change has impacted many students’ plans to study abroad.
Experiences while abroad have had positive remarks so far with students currently in
countries such as England and Estonia; travel for the fall has been successful for some
students. “My newly made friends and I would venture out and explore the
city until well after nightfall,” Lee said. While mask mandates and social distancing are still in effect, students can still explore their host cities and tour their surroundings.
The Director of Global Engagement, Mandy Reinig, works with students that are planning to study abroad and offers advice on the various application processes. She has helped students throughout this time and provided additional resources for receiving scholarships to assist students.
Current students can apply for upcoming trips for the spring, with hopes for a seamless travel opportunity. A select few students at the university are accepted as Global Scholars for the
semester and can travel to their desired location. The Lighthouse provides students with ways
to travel abroad, including options to travel away in the United States. However, the several upcoming Winter Session domestic trips still have the possibility of being delayed or canceled altogether.
By Grant Morgan