Butler cancels all fall study abroad programs, NYC and Washington D.C. learning semesters

Photo courtesy of the Center for Global Education.

MEGHAN STRATTON | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | mrstratt@butler.edu

Butler University’s Center for Global Education has canceled all fall 2020 study abroad programs. The Center for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department travel advisories, limited services from U.S. Embassies and Consulates, and many countries’ limited border access all contributed to Butler’s decision. 

Jill McKinney, director of global engagement, sent an email on June 17 announcing the cancellation to all students who planned to study abroad. At the beginning of summer 2020, 75 students planned to study abroad. Ultimately, Butler’s decision to cancel impacted 40 students whose programs had not previously been canceled by study abroad providers. 

The New York City and Washington D.C. learning semesters have also been canceled for the fall 2020 semester; this decision affected between 16 and 18 students. 

In an email to The Butler Collegian, Rusty Jones, faculty director of engaged learning, said the decision to cancel was made for the health and safety of participants, as well as the unknown viability of internships in those cities due to the pandemic. 

As the coronavirus pandemic gained traction in March, the CGE recognized that students intending on studying abroad may have to remain at Butler for the upcoming semester. Although the CGE delayed the decision to cancel for as long as possible, they recommended that students still register for on-campus courses and reserve housing.

Farrah Goodall, a junior philosophy and Spanish double major, planned to attend Butler’s Semester in Spain program in Alcalá de Henares. Goodall said she was “extremely grateful” the CGE encouraged students to sign up for classes in case programs got canceled. 

Goodall also said she is a bit nervous to return to a traditional Butler semester because she told members from her campus involvements that she would be abroad, and doesn’t want to miss out on any of those opportunities. 

“Even though I knew there was a possibility of a cancellation, I had been holding out hope so it was really devastating to find out I wouldn’t be able to study abroad for the fall semester,” Goodall said in an email to The Butler Collegian.

Travel conditions permitting, Butler students will be able to study abroad in the spring 2021 semester. Students who planned to study abroad in fall 2020 will remain eligible to study abroad in the spring. The CGE plans to connect with students and map out plans for the future — either an alternative study abroad plan, or a different course of action. 

Although there are no Butler-run abroad programs scheduled for spring 2021, McKinney said there are almost 200 study abroad provider programs and exchange partners for students to choose from. Additionally, Butler is planning study abroad programs for spring break and summer of 2021. These programs will also be subject to travel conditions.

As Butler does not host a spring New York City semester, students planning on the fall New York City semester — or the fall Washington D.C. semester — have the option to attend the spring Washington D.C. semester as an alternative course of action.  

In the email to students who planned to study abroad, McKinney said the CGE wants students to have a “full and meaningful experience abroad, which is best suited for future semesters,” due to the uncertainties surrounding other countries’ responses to the pandemic. 

“I regret that this global pandemic has caused another semester of educational disruption,” McKinney said in an email to The Butler Collegian. “This situation has revealed resiliency in our students and has reinforced the interconnectedness of all people around the world.”

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