Pomona College suspends spring 2021 study abroad

A sign displaying "Study Abroad: International Student Services" is mounted on the entrance to a building with a blue door and a courtyard with trees.
Pomona College suspends study abroad for spring 2021, citing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on travel. (Meghan Joyce • The Student Life)

Pomona College suspended study abroad for spring 2021 Thursday, citing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on travel. The college will instead offer virtual courses taught by study abroad programs.

“Given the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Health Notices, health and safety concerns, and the uncertainty around the effects of the pandemic on travel and program operations in the months ahead, the college has determined that we cannot confidently and safely support study abroad for the spring 2021 semester,” Nicole Desjardins Gowdy, Pomona’s director of study abroad, said in an email to students planning to study abroad.

The college will continue to monitor the situation and official guidance in the “hope that it will improve enough to support study abroad in fall 2021.”

Pomona is the second 5C to cancel study abroad for spring 2021. Harvey Mudd College announced its decision to suspend spring study abroad in August. 

Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College plan to evaluate programs on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility. Pitzer College has not announced a decision, but a September email told students “spring 2021 study abroad is looking less and less likely.”

Pomona had initially planned to announce its decision on study abroad by Nov. 2, but Desjardins Gowdy said the college is “making this announcement now in order to give you as much time as possible to revise your plans for the spring semester and for future global education.”

In the place of study abroad, the college will offer virtual Global Partnership Courses, allowing juniors to enroll in virtual seminar courses or internships that will be taught by some of Pomona’s program partners abroad. These Global Partnership Courses will provide students with “unique and innovative ways to engage with faculty, organizations, ideas, and perspectives outside the U.S. while mobility is limited,” Gowdy said. 

Gowdy said the college will provide more information about the new courses next week, and offered the support of the study abroad office to students.

“We hope you will find a way to include international education in your future.”

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