The University of Iowa

In the news: Ways Colleges Offer Alternatives to Study Abroad

November 1st, 2021

By Sarah Wood, Nov. 1, 2021, U.S. News

Not everyone has the ability to travel due to financial constraints, immigration complications or family situations, so virtual international education provides access to students who might have been unable to participate in a traditional program.(GETTY IMAGES)

Coronavirus-related border closures, embassy shutdowns and quarantine mandates caused schools across the country to postpone and cancel study abroad programs in spring 2020.

With travel restrictions in place, colleges and universities redefined global education by offering asynchronous and synchronous virtual alternatives, allowing students to collaborate with individuals and employers throughout the world without boarding a plane.

"There are so many more options today than ever before," says Adam Rubin, assistant vice provost and director of education abroad at the University at Buffalo—SUNY. "Students shouldn't think of virtual programs as a negative or as a trade-off. There's always going to be a trade-off between any two programs, but I think students should see it as a viable option. While we hope that every student at some point will have an in-person experience, I think that's still the preferred model. These virtual programs are still really rewarding."

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