Belmont Study Abroad programs stay alive by rerouting international trips
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Belmont Study Abroad programs stay alive by rerouting international trips

Belmont’s study abroad has canceled or rerouted some of their summer trips due to the spread of coronavirus — however, foresee a continuation of the majority of the summer abroad programs. 

This semester, the Belmont Abroad program has 75 students abroad with provider programs and plans to have 850 undergraduate students traveling abroad in the summer months, said Dr. Thandi Dinani, director of Belmont Study Abroad. 

“We are all still moving forward very hopeful that study abroad will continue this summer,” said Dinani. “However, we won’t put anyone’s life in jeopardy, so in that if it is best we will cancel everything. We do not anticipate doing so, we don’t think we will need to. But we will take it all into consideration.”

Belmont has canceled four of their summer programs that were going to Asia, but has rerouted two of those trips to go on alternative trips in America. 

The canceled trips were going to China, Japan and South Korea. The cancelation of these trips was not completely unexpected to the faculty leading the trips — but it was still disappointing to hear.

“I was very disappointed. But I totally understand the need for doing that. We don’t ever want to take Belmont students into an area that’s not safe, whether it’s maybe an illness like a virus or other types of activities or alerts,” said Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, faculty leader of the Belmont to China abroad trip. 

Not all dreams of travel are lost for these trips, the Belmont to Japan trip has been rerouted nationwide, to study the Japanese experiences in America, in cities such as LA and San Francisco and also traveling to Hawaii, giving students the opportunity to experience Japanese culture in American settings. 

“They will get an equally valuable experience where they can have contact with Japan but more interestingly understanding our own history with it,” said Dr. Christopher Born, the faculty leader of the Belmont in Japan trip that is being moved nationwide. 

The decision for rerouting trips was to offer students opportunities to still take classes in order to proceed with pending graduation dates.

Before these summer trips were even canceled the Study Abroad office looked into all 55 students’ classes and expected graduation dates, in order to help these students stay on track to graduate on time and provide the best opportunity moving forward, whether by moving students to other programs or offering trips new travel plans, said Dinani.  

“Before students even knew it or needed it, we worked out all those details behind the background,” said Dinani. 

The faculty leading the newly redesigned program is excited about the new schedule and thinks it will still be a worthwhile program for students.

“I feel good about it. I feel upbeat. I think it’s a different opportunity. We have just had to redesign some things,” said Born.

“I think it will be a unique experience, that would not have happened otherwise.” 

Article written by Madison Bowen.

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