Harvey Mudd cancels fall 2020 study abroad

Gray concrete wall with Harvey Mudd College and building in the background.
Harvey Mudd College is canceling all study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester amid coronavirus concerns. (Courtesy of WikiCommons)

Facing significant uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Harvey Mudd College is canceling all study abroad for the fall 2020 semester.

This semester has brought many devastating challenges to individuals across the globe, and both study abroad providers and institutions are continuing to assess the viability of whether to proceed with [fall 2020] study abroad,” Rhonda Chiles, Harvey Mudd’s director of study abroad, said Friday in an email to six affected students.

Chiles told students who were planning to study abroad in the fall to proceed with fall pre-registration and room draw, and to inform her if they choose to defer study abroad to spring 2021. 

Anna Krutsinger HM ’22 was planning to spend next semester at King’s College in London. Now, she’s not sure she’ll ever study there because of the intense planning process that Mudd requires.

“I’m definitely feeling disheartened and bummed but I’m sure (or at the very least, hope) HMC’s decision wasn’t made lightly,” she said via message. “I feel like all the work I put into making a study abroad possible the past two semesters has been nullified.”

The 5Cs had begun preparing for the possibility that the pandemic would influence students’ ability to go abroad in the fall, including Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College and Pomona College, which are giving their students the ability to register for classes in Claremont next semester in case their programs are canceled.

No other 5C has yet taken such a decisive measure as Mudd, but the colleges have begun to warn that program providers may change their offerings for the fall or cancel altogether.

IES and CIEE, two of the largest study abroad facilitators, said as of Saturday that their fall 2020 programs were proceeding as planned.

Having to withdraw from study abroad at a later date could put students in less than ideal circumstances. For instance, CMC warned students that it cannot guarantee on-campus housing in such a scenario.

Harvey Mudd’s move appears designed to eliminate such uncertainty by pulling the plug upfront.

“HMC has decided to make this decision sooner rather than later,” Chiles said.

Study abroad at Harvey Mudd experienced its largest participation in the school’s history this year, with a record 22 percent of juniors choosing to pursue programs off campus.

Maria Heeter contributed reporting.

This article was updated April 5 at 12:15 p.m.

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