The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions has led the college to cancel all Globally Integrated Seminar (GIS) study abroad programs for summer 2021.
In the fall 2020 semester, the college announced plans for short study abroad programs in the following summer. Students would take a GIS course connected to a Dickinson abroad institution and be taught by both domestic and international faculty. After the spring 2021 semester, the students would travel abroad to the institution for three weeks and continue their studies with abroad faculty.
On March 5, students received an email from the college regarding the cancellation of GIS study abroad programs, in addition to the summer 2021 food studies mosaic. College President Margee Ensign stated in an email via the Center for Global Study and Engagement (CGSE) that travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, limited mobility, and health concerns forced the college to cancel the programs.
Currently, students are enrolled in GIS courses, but this decision has led students to once again reevaluate their study abroad plans. Sadie Fowler ’22 said that she was disappointed in the decision, as she planned to attend the GIS Iceland program after the cancelation of her spring 2021 abroad plans in Bologna, Italy. However, Fowler said that she appreciated Dickinson faculty’s concern for student safety and health.
GIS faculty also expressed their disappointment and understanding of the college’s decision. Bruno Grazioli, resident director of the Dickinson in Italy program, is currently teaching the GIS Italian studies GIS course titled “Italian Intercultural Seminar.” Grazioli said that he was not disappointed in the decision due to current and potential future restrictions in Italy. “…[W]e know that we wouldn’t be able to offer the kind of program we would like students to experience and that they would expect,” Grazioli said.
Kristine Mitchell, associate professor of political science and international studies, is the professor of the GIS course “Western European Politics” and said that current vaccination efforts in the U.S. and other countries make her more optimistic that study abroad opportunities will return soon.
Fall 2021 study abroad programs are still on schedule. According to Ensign, the college and the CGSE are working to create more abroad opportunities for the winter and spring of 2022.