In the spring, the COVID-19 pandemic put study abroad programs on hold for college students across the nation. Students who were abroad made early return flights home within a matter of days, and those with hopes to study abroad in the fall watched their plans unravel in the months that followed.
At UNC Greensboro, a university with a strong study abroad tradition, it was a tough pill to swallow for Spartans whose international experiences were cut short or canceled.
While international travel remains largely on hold for now, there’s still a lot that students can do to plan their future experiences abroad. Additionally, UNCG’s International Programs Center (IPC) is launching new programs to help facilitate international experiences from home.
For students who are interested in study abroad and other international education experiences, here are five things to know.
1. It’s never too early to start planning a study abroad experience.
Tom Martinek Jr., associate director of study abroad and exchange programs, recommends that first-year students with an interest in studying abroad meet with the IPC team as soon as possible to discuss their study abroad plans.
Students can make an appointment by going to the study abroad home page and completing the Study Abroad 101 module. This module gives a quick overview of study abroad at UNCG and then provides access to a Google calendar where students can schedule a one-on-one appointment with a study abroad advisor.
2. There are plans for many summer, fall, and full-year study abroad programs.
UNCG is tentatively planning for several faculty-led programs as well as dozens of other programs through partner institutions and partner organizations to take place during summer 2021, fall 2021, and the full 2021-22 academic year.
Applications for partner institution programs open Nov. 15. Students who are interested in any of the faculty-led programs should contact the faculty leaders of the respective programs for deadlines and other information. A full list of programs can be found here.
IPC is monitoring the pandemic in each of the study abroad locations. Programs will be approved only if a certain set of pandemic-related metrics are met.
“We want study abroad to remain at the forefront of students’ minds, knowing that we would only send students abroad if it can be done safely,” Martinek said.
3. If a study abroad program is suspended due to the pandemic, IPC advisors will work closely with students to adjust their plans.
Given the uncertainty that COVID-19 presents, IPC staff will help students adjust their plans for a future study abroad term should their program be suspended. IPC staff will work with students to avoid any non-recoverable expenses associated with these programs. In addition, staff are working with students to make alternate plans to register and attend UNCG should their programs be suspended.
4. IPC is launching virtual international internships starting in spring 2021.
IPC has partnered with ISA/Worldstrides to offer Global Remote Internships for students. It is important that interested students act quickly. While the priority deadline to apply for these spring 2021 internships is Nov. 15, there may still be opportunities to apply after this priority deadline. Students are encouraged to contact IPC (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they do not meet the priority deadline.
Interested students can get started by attending an advising session:
Visit go.uncg.edu/global.internship to learn more.
5. IPC will expand its study abroad offerings thanks to new partnerships with third-party providers.
In 2021, UNCG students will have access to study abroad programs through traditional partnerships as well as with providers like ISA/Worldstrides and ISEP. Currently, UNCG offers more than 100 study abroad programs annually; next year, thanks to these new partnerships, Spartans will have their choice of an even greater number of programs across the globe.
“If you want to have these intercultural and international experiences, it’s a great time to be at UNCG,” Martinek said.