The Office of International Programs has expanded the list of available study abroad programs for the spring 2022 semester after offering a limited selection in the fall due to COVID-19, it announced in a Sept. 15 Today@Brown message. The University will offer 18 programs — up from the 10 offered in the fall — resuming programs in locations such as Chile, Costa Rica, Greece and Hungary, among others.
When reviewing programs, the University considered the “public health conditions, travel restrictions, access to visas and vaccination rates for each program location,” OIP Deputy Director Lauren Alexander wrote in an email to The Herald. OIP also evaluated each program’s “academic contingency planning and on-site support offerings.” These criteria were similar to those used to evaluate fall 2021 programs.
While OIP reviewed fall programs after students had already submitted applications, OIP decided to review spring 2022 programs on an earlier timeline in order to “help minimize changes in program offerings later in the application process,” Alexander wrote. The University’s more proactive assessment of spring 2022 programs also aimed to offer students “the widest possible range of study abroad options,” she added.
COVID-19 guidelines for the spring semester programs will be similar to those of the fall programs, including “compliance with the Brown vaccination requirement for in-person instruction, adherence to local and national public health guidelines and compliance with any host institution guidelines,” Alexander wrote. “We also ask for students’ continued flexibility as co-curricular activities, excursions and independent travel may be limited or adjusted in response to changes in the public health situation in the program host country.”
Laura Xu ’23 said she always wanted to study abroad and was relieved to hear that the Amsterdam program she had applied to was being offered next semester.
“I was definitely a little bit apprehensive just based on not knowing what the situation was going to be in the spring, especially in Europe, but I was super excited when I saw that it was offered,” Xu said.
Jolie Rolnick ’23, who is hoping to study abroad in Paris next semester, said that the expansion of programs made her more optimistic about the possibility of transferring credits she acquires abroad back to the University, as opposed to studying abroad in France through a non-Brown affiliated program, complicating the credit transfer process.
“Certain other colleges have pretty compatible or similar programs (where you can) propose a school abroad to go to and just hope that the credits will transfer,” Rolnick said. “I’m much more inclined to (study abroad) because it’s more promising that my credits will transfer.”
For Julie Yeo ’24, who is planning to study abroad in Spain in spring or fall 2022, the program expansion solidified her ability to participate in these programs. As a pre-med student pursuing a double concentration, Yeo expressed that her only opportunity to study abroad would be in 2022, and the expansion made her optimistic that her plans will be realized.
“If the programs don’t really work out the way I want them to, I would be very disappointed and everything will change … I have a very strict schedule that I planned out and the unpredictability of COVID is definitely really stressful on that part,” Yeo said.
According to Alexander, OIP anticipates increased participation in study abroad programs in the spring as compared to this fall, though still lower than the pre-pandemic average. But she said “that changes in public health conditions and travel restrictions will enable Brown to resume a growing number of programs in future semesters,” which she encouraged students to keep in mind as most people plan their study abroad experiences more than a year in advance.
With additional reporting by Caroline Nash