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Local universities plan study abroad trips for the fall

Students are required to be vaccinated both at the JMU and EMU programs.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The pandemic changed the operations of their study abroad programs, but now Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and James Madison University (JMU) are looking forward to in-person trips. Some have already begun.

Last spring students were called back from their study abroad trips due to the spread of COVID-19, and many trips were canceled.

Beth Good, Director of Intercultural Programs at EMU, said this posed another difficulty.

“We are a little bit different than some of the other schools in that we actually require the students to do some kind of cross-cultural experience,” Good said.

Whether it is a domestic or international trip, EMU requires students to take part in a cross-cultural program so, like many schools, their programs were shifted online.

But now, in-person programs are back on.

One group at EMU recently came back from Lithuania and another just left for the Navajo Nation.

The university also has a program going to Southeast Asia this fall.

At James Madison University, they are eyeing their fall programs including trips to Florence, London, and Antwerp.

“For me, I’m excited. I think from what we’ve heard from students they are ready to get back out there and engage with the world,” Taryn Roberts, Director of Study Abroad at JMU, said.

Roberts said so far 75 students are enrolled to go abroad this fall and 100 for the spring.

Interim Executive Director for the Center for Global Engagement at JMU Dietrich Maune said those abroad are also looking forward to the programs coming back.

“We have faculty abroad who teach our students and they are excited to have our students return to our campuses there,” Maune said.

He added that there are faculty members on JMU’s campus who are preparing proposals for new trips for summer 2022.

Students are required to be vaccinated both at the JMU and EMU programs and program directors say they will abide by the COVID-19 guidelines where they visit.

“We care so much about the health and safety of our students and our faculty, but we also feel a strong responsibility towards our hosts wherever we are going,” Good said.

Maune said JMU is also looking forward to welcoming international students back but there are some delays with preparing for international travel.

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