International trips

Northwest is known for its international involvement, having several study abroad programs and students from 39 different countries on its campus during the fall 2020 semester.

Northwest abroad trips for Spring 2021 have been canceled, but students planning for summer trips still await answers.

Assistant Director of the International Involvement Center Erika Lees explained that while the spring trips have all been cancelled, the University will allow students outside of the U.S. who have been accepted to attend classes on campus in the spring.

“For us sending students out, a lot of that is going off what the U.S. Department of State recommends,” Lees said. “As of right now, we are at a level four, which means do not travel. So for us to send people out to other countries is a risk.”

There is still talk of having summer study abroad trips for current students depending on the travel restrictions from COVID-19.

Lees also explained that there are other factors that go into whether or not there are study abroad options during the pandemic. Northwest sends students to partner universities and companies, most of which are not offering classes in person at this time.

“The decision will be made in early January for the summer faculty-led programs,” Lees said.

Almost all of the decisions for continuing with study abroad programs come from the U.S Department of State’s recommendations for travel. Northwest also has to work with third-party companies when coming up with trips for students, so study abroad options for students in the coming semesters will also depend upon those relationships.

“If a student is just going on their own for the summer, those decisions will be made in early February because the application deadline for those is in March,” Lees said.

When it comes to requiring students to get the possible COVID-19 vaccine, the International Involvement Center would follow the state’s requirements on it based on how readily available it is and whether or not they see it necessary.

Even with uncertainty looming over some students, those interested in studying abroad were able to engage during the International Education Week Nov. 16 through Nov. 20. Northwest’s International Involvement Center celebrated by holding events and preparing for the ambiguity of studying abroad in 2021.

Prospective and current students as well as faculty and staff attended events where Lees helped promote studying abroad for students at Northwest and students outside of the country looking to study in the U.S.

The week started with an alumni panel Nov. 16 where former Northwest international students came and spoke about their experiences transitioning from studying abroad to working in the United States. A faculty-led virtual fair followed Nov. 17 where students could be put into breakout rooms based on the type of program they were looking to find more information about.

Nov. 18 was the Center’s biweekly Webinar Wednesday where incoming students who have been accepted can ask current students from outside of the U.S. about their experiences here and get more information about what it is like to be an international student at Northwest.

A virtual meeting about faculty-led trips and the process of putting together a study abroad trip took place Nov. 19, and the office ended the week Nov. 20 with an international trivia session, which taught students uncommon facts about places outside of the U.S.

Northwest’s International Involvement Center and the Study Abroad Office will continue to follow the U.S. Department of State’s guidelines on traveling.

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