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Study Abroad and COVID-19: FAQs


Will study abroad even be possible in the fall? 
In all honesty, no one is in a position to answer this question with certainty, one way or the other, which is why we are taking a two-pronged approach to the question.  On the one hand, we are proceeding as if all programs are operational in the fall and through the academic year.  This means we will have all our ducks in a row, if, as we hope, we have gotten a handle on the pandemic and international commerce has resumed.  All colleges and universities across the world are scrambling to adjust to the current situation, so deadlines for applying to and being accepted by your host institution may be later than normal.  Pre-departure meetings, such as the Study Abroad General Pre-Departure meeting originally scheduled for March 30, 2020, will be held remotely at a date to be determined, but may even be after the Spring 2020 semester ends.  But please rest assured: if your program is open, we'll get you there and make sure you're prepared to go.  On the other hand, please know that the Office of Study Abroad and the Executive Team at Holy Cross will not send you abroad if the situation in your host country is not safe.  Hence the second prong of our approach: in the event that your program does not run, we are taking precautions and making adjustments so that all applicants for fall and academic year study abroad will not be penalized with regard to course selection and housing at Holy Cross--or in any other way, for that matter--if your chosen program is not able to run.
 
Do I even want to risk studying abroad if something like this can happen?  
It's a good question and in the midst of what we're going through, we can understand you might be thinking about this.  But let's step back and let cooler heads prevail.  Since 1900 (so 120 years), there have been a total of four pandemics (Spanish Flu in 1918, Asian Flu in 1957, Hong Kong Flu in 1968, and now Coronavirus).  In that period there have been three additional pandemic threats.  So, 4 gravely serious events and 3 serious events in 120 years.  Those are excellent odds.  Plus, it's probably not the best idea to make decisions at a time when we simply don't know what the world will look like in September; therefore, we would encourage you to hold off making the decision not to study abroad at this time.  You might be depriving yourself unnecessarily of studying abroad, which many characterize as the experience of a lifetime.  
  
If I am planning on studying abroad in the fall, assuming it's safe, should I go ahead and purchase my plane ticket?
At this point in time, the answer is, No, do not buy your ticket!   There is still plenty of time, and, and in the event that it's still not entirely safe in your host country after all, we don't want you to end up with a ticket you can't use. 
 
Just to be on the safe side, can I just switch from my program in Fall 2020 or the Academic Year 2020-21 to Spring 2021?
Currently, the Office of Study Abroad is not accepting transfers from the fall or academic year to the spring semester.  If this subsequently appears necessary, we will process transfers to the spring at that time.
 
What will happen if I've applied and am (or will be accepted) to study abroad and it's not possible after all?  
As noted above, the Office of Study Abroad has received assurances from the Executive Team of the College that it is committed to ensuring that students who are currently scheduled to go abroad for the fall of 2020 or the academic year 2020-21 are not penalized with regard to housing and course registration, should their programs be canceled. You are now able to enroll in Fall 2020 classes at Holy Cross and have a backpack on STAR. Likewise, we will be working with Residential Life to ensure you are able to secure housing. These efforts are also a fundamental piece of the Executive Team's planning for next year.