Updated: Sep 21, 2022
This summer Belmont Students will not get the experience of taking study abroad classes in countries including England, Germany, Australia and Africa.
All study abroad programs were canceled as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges for many. I’m writing today to notify you of the cancellation of June and July international programs,” said an email from Associate Provost Dr. Mimi Barnard sent out Tuesday to all students who were planning to study abroad this summer.
“Please know that this decision was made out of concern for your safety and health in light of the current global coronavirus pandemic. All countries have entered uncertain times”.
With the cancellation of these summer study abroad trips means all study abroad trips since spring break have officially been canceled this year due to COVID-19.
Canceling all summer study abroad trips enters the Belmont Study Abroad office into an unknown territory, as this type of cancellation may have never happened before.
“Not to my knowledge. Study Abroad has grown exponentially in the last few years, and I don’t know of anything similar in our past,” said Barnard.
Though these are unprecedented times for all, many faculty members and students saw the cancellation of their programs coming.
“Honestly I was expecting it to get canceled because the first trip I was registered to go on was to China,” said Caroline Horne, a sophomore who was supposed to travel on the Belmont in Italy trip. “A week later after I signed up for Italy, I heard that it was in Italy so honestly, it was kind of expected.”
Waiting for the expected yet disappointing news was also felt by the professors leading the trips as well.
“Of course, I was saddened more for the students than for myself but not at all surprised. It was becoming pretty clear that both here at home and in London things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better,” said Dr. Margaret Monteverde, leader of the Belmont month in London program, Belmont’s largest study abroad program.
Though faculty and students are disappointed they will not get to experience their trips this summer. Belmont has opened 150 online class opportunities for all students to take, replacing some of the missed learning opportunities from this summer.
“In order to provide additional opportunities for all current Belmont students during this unexpected season of social distancing, Belmont will be offering more than 150 online courses for the Maymester 2020 term as a replacement for the planned Maymester abroad programs,” said Dr. Thomas Burns, Provost of Belmont, in an email addressing the offering of these maymester classes.
The offering of online classes for the summer programs is appreciated by many students who now are still able to participate in some of the classes they were going to take on their trips.
“It’s nice because I do want to get my lab science and junior cornerstone out of the way. I was going to take more classes on the actual trip, but now that it’s all online I’m just going to do my lab science,” said Horne.
Faculty members are also grateful for the added online classes, giving them the opportunity to help their students in any way they can.
“Belmont is working really hard to help students not be negatively impacted in terms of their plans of study and path to graduation,” said Monteverde. “I really think it’s pretty amazing that they are allowing students who wish or need to take these classes in Maymester at the reduced study abroad tuition rate.”
Though students and professors are able to experience a little of what their time abroad would have been like through the online classes, faculty members can not help but to reflect on their past years of experience and think of what they will miss most about their trips.
“I’ll miss being with the students on the west coast of Ireland and at the Giant’s Causeway, which is in Northern Ireland,” said Dr. Ann Coble.“I hope students who didn’t get to travel this summer will be able to travel, either with Belmont next year or on their own.”
“Travel is a wonderful way to learn and experience people who live and think differently than we do.”
— Article written by Madison Bowen.