Arcadia University cancels spring break study abroad trip due to coronavirus

GLENSIDE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The coronavirus has forced Arcadia University to suspend its spring break study abroad experience for the first time in the 27-year history of the program.

The university, located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, is known for giving students a global experience.

In addition to global studies, Arcadia allows first-year and transfer students to explore other parts of the world while earning credits over spring break.

Janice Finn, Arcadia's associate dean of International Programs, says first-year students for the last 27 years studied the whole semester about a certain part of the world and a topic. Then they go there on spring break to see it. This year, students were planning to go to Vietnam, London and Ireland.

The novel coronavirus has forced the university to cancel those plans for the first time in the program's history.

"Arcadia commits to providing each student impacted by this suspension an opportunity to have a global experience during the 2020-21 academic year; fees paid this year will be applied to next year's opportunity," said the university in a letter to students on Tuesday.

All first-year and transfer students who complete their coursework will receive two credits and have an opportunity for international study abroad during the 2020-21 academic year.

"Naturally students were disappointed. For many, this is their first trip abroad. For some of our students, the first time on a plane. But they understand where we're coming from in safeguarding their health," said Finn.

Students who cannot go next year will be given a $595 refund.

Arcadia is also honoring requests from students who need housing over spring break. Students looking for assistance are instructed to log onto the "Residence and Commuter Life Canvas page."

"I've never been abroad. It was exciting, I was going with my one suite mate," said freshman, Megan Soo.

"I'd rather stay here than get sick," added Courtney Pokallos.

The university says they have a number of semester-length programs throughout Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa that continue to operate as usual through the College of Global Studies.

To date, only study abroad programs in Rome, Florence and Perugia have been canceled due to the coronavirus.

"The College remains actively engaged in considering a range of facts and factors provided by multiple sources to arrive at reasoned and thoughtful approaches around COVID-19. We are seeking to balance our concerns for students' health and well-being and their need to make academic progress, while responding thoughtfully to the dynamic challenges at hand," said an Arcadia University spokesperson.

To learn more about the university's efforts, CLICK HERE.
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