AU Abroad announced on Wednesday that all overseas study programs that require students to arrive in their host country before February 6, 2021 are on hold due to pandemic issues, logistics and issues with international travel.
Sara Dumont, the executive director of AU Abroad, wrote in an email to prospective overseas students that programs starting after February 6 will be reviewed in early November. Further details for the entire university will be announced at the end of October, wrote AU President Sylvia Burwell on October 12.
This is the third semester that overseas programs have been suspended in response to the coronavirus pandemic after programs for Spring and Fall 2020 were canceled.
Students again have the opportunity to postpone their application for study abroad to autumn 2021, wrote Dumont.
“AU is committed to providing students with a global education and resuming full AU Abroad programming as soon as possible,” wrote Dumont.
According to the FA Abroad: Spring 2021 FAQ, other spring programs are pending due to the moratorium on international travel the AU imposed in March.
Dumont hopes the students will instead use the virtual overseas programs offered for the second time by the three AU Premier AU centers – Madrid, Nairobi and Brussels. Some students in other programs may also be able to virtually participate in their own versions, Dumont wrote.
If students opt against deferment or online programs, their deposits will be refunded, says the FAQ.
“Even if there is uncertainty about how the spring semester will develop, we continue to strive to offer AU students unique opportunities for international recognition,” wrote Dumont. “We know this is not the same experience as studying abroad domestically, but we hope you can take this opportunity to learn from our specialist faculty.”
Many colleges and universities in the US have announced that they are also canceling the overseas program for spring 2021. In DC, only the Catholic University has made decisions and decided to limit study abroad to its Rome Center, which is directly owned by the university.
In March, the AU’s decision to recall students from abroad followed President Donald Trump’s announcement that most travel between Europe and the United States was suspended. AU urged students to return as soon as possible, which in some cases led to chaos as students struggled to cross borders and book flights.
Emily Walsh contributed to this article.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.