International Studies & Programs


Current State of Education Abroad

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Published: Wednesday, 01 Jul 2020 Author: Cheryl Ann Benner

The Office for Education Abroad at Michigan State University recognizes international travel is getting very complicated – simply getting a flight or obtaining a passport or visa may prove challenging for students wishing to study abroad.  

Currently, all summer 2020 education abroad programs have been cancelled.  Due to the extremely large number of participants that MSU sends in the summer, MSU has been impacted more than the average institution because education abroad classes cannot be transitioned to an alternative mode of delivery.

At this time, MSU has not suspended Academic Year 2020-21 (AY21) or Fall 2020 (FS20) programs. However, many host institutions and program providers have cancelled their programs so some students have already withdrawn from AY21 and FS20 programs. Also, the desired countries in which our students have chosen to study may be impacted by travel restrictions being considered by the member states of the European Union.

AY21 and FS20 applicants are receiving letters from our office that advise them of special conditions required by MSU for participation such as no independent travel outside of the host location and no transit through certain high-risk locations. We will remain in close contact with applicants until their programs are cancelled or they depart for their destination abroad, so they can make informed decisions for themselves and, if applicable, be fully prepared for their unique semesters abroad. MSU’s Risk and Security Assessment Committee (RSAC) is expected to make final recommendations to the President and Provost on AY21 and FS20 programs in late July.

Applications for Winter Break 2020-21, Spring Semester 2021, Spring Break 2021 and Summer 2021 remain open. MSU will continue to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic, and will adjust accordingly. As with AY21 and FS20 participants, our office encourages students to be sure they remain as flexible as possible and to have a pivot plan/back-up plan in the event future programs are suspended.

The Education Abroad Advising Center continues to offer remote advising to students interested in participating in future programs. Advising is available through email, phone call, or Zoom.

Our vision is to provide high-quality learning abroad programs and excellent services to cultivate globally-engaged citizen leaders who are ready to change the world. In this time of limited mobility, we will take the opportunity to find online and hybrid formats as alternative options for students to take part in while we remain hopeful that solutions to the pandemic will allow us to re-engage in person.