The Study Abroad program postpones travel until Spring 2021
Mariah Klein // Contributor
Students accepted into Capilano University (CapU)’s study abroad program for Fall 2020 have delayed their trips until Spring 2021, as CapU waits for Canadian travel restrictions to be lifted. “We’re all waiting for what’s going to happen this fall and winter and if there’s going to be another wave of the pandemic,” said Study Abroad and Partnerships Officer Stasa Andric.
“What I’ve been finding is that despite COVID-19, students are still interested in travelling and going abroad, and so they are still applying for the Spring semester in comparable numbers to last year.” While Andric finds it somewhat surprising that students have remained enrolled in the program, she says refundable deposits mean “there’s very little risk for them applying right now; there’s little commitment until we get later in the year.”
The Study Abroad program is dedicated to ensuring that students have the opportunity to experience a semester abroad, once it is safe to do so. “How [COVID-19] ultimately pans out is beyond anyone’s ability to determine, but we are just monitoring it closely, and when it’s safe we’ll try to set up all our avenues for individuals to continue these experiences,” said CapU Director, International Chris Bottrill.
Cambodia and Vietnam field schools were scheduled right before the first COVID-19 outbreaks this past spring. Although students prepared for these field schools in the months leading up to the departure, the trip was ultimately canceled. Instead, CapU launched a virtual field school as a way for students to build relationships with Cambodian and Vietnamese locals—and for the students to help address the issues these communities are facing as a result of COVID-19. “We were trying to find alternatives because we believe in the value of this experience so much,” says Botrrill. “In the end, we decided that the right thing to do for the continuity for the students was to run a virtual field school.”
Even amidst the uncertainty of next year, Andric says the team is ready to hear from anyone interested in the program. “We want to hear about your goals, why you want to go abroad and work with you to see if [an opportunity] that’s short term or long term is available for you.”
The team is still accepting applications until September 15th, and have information sessions available on their website.