The two spring programs are both based in South Korea and are planned to restart in early March.
Following the release of a new education abroad plan by New York state last semester, Binghamton University’s Office of International Education and Global Initiatives (IEGI) is moving forward with select study abroad programs for the spring and summer semester.
As education abroad programs across the State University of New York System (also known as SUNY System) have begun to return this semester, the International Education and Global Initiatives (IEGI) is preparing to restart two programs in early March. The programs are based in South Korea and are partnered with Korea University and Korea University Business School.
According to the Assistant Provost for the IEGI, Patricia Bello, they mark the first return to in-person study abroad programs through Binghamton University since March 2020. Bello said she is excited to see the return of these programs after their hiatus.
“We are very eager to restart education abroad and to support students who look to enrich their degree by participating in education abroad,” Bello said.
In addition to the two programs planned for the upcoming semester, applications are currently open for the study abroad programs offered this summer. These programs are based in the Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
She said though the IEGI has conducted extensive planning and safety preparation in coordination with SUNY and New York state for the spring and summer programs to take place, the Omicron COVID-19 variant makes it difficult to guarantee that students will be able to travel.
“Although we have nominated students for these [spring] programs, there is still a chance that [BU], SUNY, New York state or another entity will suspend these programs,” Bello said.
To ensure that study abroad programs will be safe to remain open, the IEGI is continuing to monitor country-specific COVID-19 infection rates, vaccination rates and SUNY guidelines on travel. Bello said programs based in countries with frequent or sudden border restrictions will also not be available this summer.
Due to the risks and uncertainty that students are facing with COVID-19, the IEGI has adapted the requirements for participating in education abroad programs to include three additional steps, as per Bello.
One of these requirements is to participate in a live webinar focused on the risks of studying abroad. The informational session will cover topics such as the potential academic and financial hazards of travelling during the pandemic.
Students must also complete a risk assessment survey in addition to meeting with the adviser for their education abroad program. The IEGI encourages students interested in study abroad programs to review the guidance on travelling posted on the COVID-19 FAQ page found on their website, as well as the US Embassy pages for country-specific information about travel requirements.
As the IEGI plans to increase the number of programs reopening in the future, some students are already planning ahead for the fall semester with other SUNY institutions.
Although the IEGI cannot guarantee that every study abroad program will remain open due to the ever-evolving pandemic, Bello said they are working toward that possibility.
“With the support of our University’s administration and the continued dedication of our team and our students, we remain hopeful that we will be able to restart a select number of programs in 2022,” Bello said.
For students interested in expanding their horizons with education abroad, the IEGI recommends visiting the IEGI and SUNY study abroad websites for more information.
For information on specific programs, there will be numerous informational sessions throughout the semester. The IEGI will also be holding drop-in advising hours every Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this semester, in Old Champlain Hall Room 240.