We’re now more than seven months out from when the COVID-19 pandemic first disrupted our study abroad programs in Ecuador and Italy. Over these months we’ve been hard at work finishing out the spring semester through remote delivery, designing and launching new virtual programs, and continuing to support our local partners on the ground in Ecuador and Italy.
As we look to the future, we’re thrilled to announce that we will be resuming our semester program in Quito, Ecuador for the upcoming Spring 2021 semester. Unfortunately Italy has extended their state of emergency through January 31, 2021 so we will NOT be able to run the Spring 2021 semester there.
While there will always be an element of uncertainty making plans amidst a global pandemic, we proceed with cautious optimism. We invite you to join us!
Current Status Abroad
So, what’s really going on?
We regularly consult the official reports coming from the US State Department, the CDC, and the national governments of the countries where we operate for their official status and recommendations. These reports give a credible snapshot of virus cases, the national response, and recommendations and restrictions for US travelers.
In addition to the official reports, we evaluate the lived experience on the ground to assess what the student experience and learning environment will actually be like. We all know that studying abroad right now may look different than in pre-COVID times, but how different will it be really? Is a quarantine required upon arrival? Can students explore the city? What happens if a student contracts COVID-19? What about the classes? Are they able to be delivered online if needed?
These are the questions students, parents, and universities are asking.
If there is one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that things regularly change. During the student advising process (between now and the program start date), we aim to give a clear picture of what life actually will be like abroad. Enrolled students receive regular status updates from our team both through written communication and conference calls with our staff including open Q&A times.
As of this writing, travel restrictions to Ecuador have been lifted. Life on the ground reflects many of the same adjustments we’re used to in the USA including social distancing measures, face mask requirements, and adjusted numbers of patrons allowed in-doors at restaurants. Travel between provinces is open so L&LI students will be visiting the Amazon Jungle and Galapagos Islands!
Students can make their decision to participate with the most up-to-date information. Students can confidently enroll in an L&LI semester knowing that they have until 14 days prior to the program start date before a financial commitment to L&LI becomes non-refundable.
That’s December 29, 2020 for the Ecuador semester.
(Please note, your institution may have other financial check-in deadlines. Be sure to check with the study abroad office at your university.)
For some, studying abroad during a time of such uncertainty may not be possible. For those who cannot travel abroad, Living and Learning is launching new domestic options as well as virtual programs:
Domestic Study Tours - December 6-19, 2020 in Washington, D.C. - 3 credit course
- During this short-term program in the heart of our nation’s capital, students will explore two highly relevant topics. Students will choose between one of two courses being offered. In the course Christianity and Social Justice we’ll be delving into the complex layers of the social justice movements making headlines in our nation. In the course Introduction to Public Health and Epidemiology students will be able to quantify their sentiments for how the US has handled the pandemic domestically and globally.
Global Virtual Internships - Fall, Spring, and Summer terms - 3 credit internships
- Most college students know they should complete an internship to be competitive in the job market. Completing a virtual internship allows students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in their specific field of study without leaving home. With a flexible format and hands-on, project-based work, students will be able to complete an international internship \from anywhere.
So, whether you're a student ready to apply to join us in Ecuador next semester, a study abroad advisor unsure of what to tell your students, or a parent with questions, know that we're here. We're available. We're eager to serve you.
UPDATED: October 19 - Italy Spring 2021 semester cancelled