State Center Community College District canceled it’s study abroad programs during the 2021 summer due to the Department of State, World Health Organization, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel advisories.
The summer 2021 programs were cancelled just before February of this year.
The study abroad programs of this year were cancelled prior to the February Board of Trustees meeting, which was before the payment deadlines.
This ensured that students received a complete refund for the trips, according to Margaret Hiebert, Coordinator of International Education of SCCCD.
All of the study abroad trips have been affected, one of them being the Honors Program Study in Ireland.
Fresno City College’s Leon S. Peters Honors Program Coordinator, Julio Trevino, was one of the faculty members who was supposed to lead the program.
He said the study abroad trip has been in the works for several years and because of that, disappointment on it’s cancelation is an understatement.
Students who were either enrolled in the Honors programs throughout the district or interested in taking Honors level courses, such as English 1BH (Honors Introduction to the Study of Literature) and Honors 4 (International Cultural Exploration), were eligible to participate in this abroad program.
According to Trevino, the students themselves were interested in learning about a new culture and seeing things through a different lens.
“We had an interest list of well over 30 students and they were disappointed to hear that travel would continue to be restricted in and out of the country,” Trevino said. “They were, however, very understanding of our current COVID reality.”
The study abroad programs have been postponed tentatively to winter 2021 and summer 2022.
In winter 2021, the trip that has been rescheduled is the one to Cuba. As for next summer in 2022, there are four trips scheduled, which are the ones to Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Kenya.
“Our first priority is student safety and health, so we will offer programs again when international travel and pandemic conditions improve,” Hiebert said.
In the meantime, internationalized curriculum and international virtual student and faculty exchanges are being developed.
These exchanges are a Spanish/English language and culture virtual exchange with partners in Guanajuato, Mexico, as well as an entrepreneurship exchange with a partner in Baja California, Mexico and a potential partner in Viborg, Denmark.
The summer 2020 study abroad programs were the first to be canceled due to the pandemic.