Colleges and universities across America are making final assessments for Spring ’21 study abroad programs even as parents and students weigh the risks of studying abroad against the risks of staying in the United States, either at home or on their respective campuses. The uneven public and political response to the virus in the U.S., which has caused our country to lead the world in both the number of cases and the number of deaths, has complicated the equation as regions around the world brace for the winter season. While few things in our world are certain, we are witnessing an unyielding conviction by students that study abroad remains a valuable educational experience and an attractive alternative to staying in the U.S.
Below is an update on our fall 2020 programs and our current expectations for spring 2021.
Fall 2020 Study Abroad
CIEE Custom International Programs – CIEE is delivering custom coursework for eight American universities’ 1,200 foreign students unable to enter the U.S. due to travel restrictions. These innovative custom programs are designed by the U.S. institutions and delivered in the students’ home country. Chinese, South Korean, and Ghanaian students are studying in Shanghai, Seoul, and Legon. Based on early positive feedback from schools, students, and parents, we expect this program to expand in spring ’21.
CIEE Study Abroad Programs – Students from 18 different U.S. colleges are currently studying abroad in select CIEE locations, including Berlin, London, Lisbon, and Seoul. Students are enrolled in CIEE’s traditional semester programs, academic block programs, and direct enrollment programs. We expect this trend to gain momentum in spring ’21.
CIEE Teach Abroad Programs – Hundreds of recent U.S. college graduates are currently teaching abroad with CIEE in Spain and Thailand. Teach Abroad participants live independently and teach English language in local schools. We expect several hundred additional U.S. citizens will pursue teach abroad in spring ’21.
CIEE High School Study Away Program – High school students from across the U.S. who were taking online classes from home are participating in a pilot program in Monteverde, Costa Rica, where they take their online classes at CIEE’s research station located in a pristine, highly biodiverse cloud forest. Students are supported by tutors and have created a safe community that allows excursions into the cloud forest to explore sustainable farming, climate change, and green tourism.
Spring 2021 Study Abroad Programs
Several leading universities have announced that they will support study abroad in spring ’21 for students who wish to participate, including the University of Colorado Boulder and Elon University.
CIEE’s bi-weekly Health Risk Index (HRI) estimates the U.S. safety ranking is significantly lagging behind dozens of countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. As of October 5, the HRI for the U.S. was 75 (on a scale of 100, with 100 being high risk), a record high since the inception of the HRI in April 2020, and much higher than other countries, including Australia (15), China (22), Japan (26), South Korea (19), Denmark (24), England (45), Germany (31), Italy (38), Portugal (33) and Costa Rica (50).
CIEE will expand all fall ’20 programs in spring ’21, including custom international, study abroad, teach abroad, and high school abroad programs.
Health and Safety
CIEE builds on and expands the health and safety standards set by the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and other international health experts, including local health experts in each CIEE location. Students sign health pledges and all international staff have been trained on enhanced health protocols, including social distancing, hygiene, wearing of face masks, testing, and quarantine protocols.
We continue to put student safety before all other concerns. This fall has demonstrated that despite constraints imposed by the pandemic, the human desire for connection and for personal growth through international experiences remains vibrant and strong.