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Brown cancels international summer programs due to COVID-19 pandemic

Study abroad, international University-funded programs among those canceled

The University canceled all international undergraduate travel and programming for the coming summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an April 2 Today@Brown announcement

Christine Sprovieri, director for international travel risk management, wrote that the decision to cancel the programs came in response to restrictions and health advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State. 

“Our international travel policy already dictates that any international travel for students that is to a country or destination worldwide that’s considered a U.S. Department of State level four or a CDC level three … would be considered restricted or prohibited travel for students,” Sprovieri said. 

Since the CDC classifies the COVID-19 pandemic as a global crisis, all international travel falls under the category of a level-three warning.

As such, credit obtained during the summer that requires international travel in violation of University policy will not be valid. Prior to the cancellations, the University notified students that funding for international research or internship programs would be pulled in an email from the College to all summer program applicants. Sprovieri emphasized that a driving force behind the University’s decision at the moment is R.I. state law which requires a quarantine period for those returning from international travel.

She explained that international students wishing to attend programming or study for credit in their home countries might receive case-by-case exceptions. Decisions about receiving international credit will be evaluated by the Dean of the College’s office, according to Sprovieri.

Programs canceled include the University’s “study abroad program in Bologna, Italy, as well as any non-Brown programs where students may receive funding from or intend to transfer credit back to Brown,” according to the Today@Brown announcement. 

In regards to cancellations for summer programs at the University, “it is in consideration but no decisions have been made yet,” Sprovieri said. 

“It is such a challenging time,” said Sprovieri. “If there’s one thing I can say, we’re all in this together. I know that might sound somewhat cliche but it’s something that’s affecting us all.”  

“I can encourage students to seek out the resources that we still have … Brown is still very much open and we’re here to support our students,” she added.

The slew of cancellations for summer programming and internships has thrown additional confusion into the lives of University students. 

Micah Bruning ’22 was supposed to attend the Israel Entrepreneurship Internship run by CareerLAB this summer. He would have worked with a startup to gain experience in a consulting business analyst capacity in Tel Aviv. 

“I was pretty sad obviously, but I feel most people were expecting stuff to get canceled,” Bruning said. 

“Unsettling is the only word I can think of,” said Natalia Brown ’23. Brown intended to spend a month at the University of Montpellier immersed in French and return at the end of summer with fluency in the language and class credit. Although the program is run through the University of Minnesota and hasn’t officially been canceled, the pandemic has injected uncertainty into Brown’s summer.

“It’s definitely weird. I don’t think I’m in a position to complain because I’m a freshman, and your freshman summer isn’t as important as your future (summers), but I was really excited. And it would have been really fun and enriching,” Brown said. Should Montpellier fall through, “I don’t even know if I can get a job because the job market is really shattered, and priority will be given to other people, of course, because they need to get back on their feet.”


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