November 27, 2020

Sainz Discusses COVID’s Impact on Study Abroad Programs in Diverse Education

Associate Professor of Spanish and Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz

Associate Professor of Spanish and Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz

Associate Professor of Spanish Jose Sainz, director of UMW’s Center for International Education, recently spoke to Diverse Education about the impact of COVID-19 on study abroad programs.

At the University of Mary Washington (UMW) in Virginia, Dr. Jose A. Sainz, director of the Center for International Education, said it was clear early on that “travel was going to be impossible” this past summer. What followed was canceling all international travel for fall 2020 and any faculty-led programs and conferences — as well as deferring students still interested in international programs for the spring of 2021.

And while deferred programs at UMW are set to run between May and July of next summer, “the caveat to those programs is that [the university] can cancel those programs any day,” Sainz said. However, if airlines, travel, and quarantine measures are not “deal breakers,” then students may still have the opportunity to go.

Original international program plans for spring 2021, such as extracurriculars, may be altered given safety concerns. Some museums abroad may not allow students to go as a group and congregate, Sainz explained.

“So, you have to kind of rethink — in terms of activities — what you want to incorporate in your program,” and then, give students guidelines for their independently-led assignment, he said. Read more.