DePaul cancels all Summer 2020 study abroad trips


The most popular study abroad destinations for American students. (Carolyn Duff / The DePaulia)

DePaul has cancelled all university-sponsored Summer 2020 study abroad programs because of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to DePaul Study Abroad Director Martha McGivern, who  announced the decision in an email Thursday afternoon to all summer study abroad students.

“The decision to cancel the upcoming summer study abroad programs is due the accelerating rate of COVID-19 spread, increased number of affected locations, potential for students or faculty to be quarantined and the health of our own campus community,” the email said.  

The email shares that students who were already committed to a summer study abroad program do not need to withdraw themselves from the programs or any future classwork for the upcoming Spring Quarter. Since Study Abroad had not registered any students yet, no fees or tuition have been charged or need to be refunded. 

Over the course of the outbreak, DePaul’s COVID-19 webpage stated that all Spring Break study abroad courses had been cancelled on March 9, and as of March 12 all study abroad programs until December 2020 will not take place. 

Although the COVID-19 outbreak has gotten increasingly worse in the U.S. and around the world, many students were shocked to hear that DePaul had already cancelled study abroad three or four months in advance of the trip. DePaul junior Danielle Cherry was a bit surprised when her trip to Rome in June got cancelled. 

“I didn’t know that the university had cancelled all the trips and I hadn’t gotten an email from my program yet so I was kind of shook up about it,” Cherry said. “I thought we would be alright to be honest. It’s three to four months away. I know Rome has it so bad, but again there’s so much time.” 

For those who were taking classes over the Winter Quarter for a Spring Break program, students were given the option to maintain enrollment in their course, DePaul spokesperson Carol Hughes said. 

Many juniors and graduating seniors depended on their upcoming study abroad programs to count as their experiential learning requirement. 

“I’ll be fine but I might not be able to graduate early anymore. I have no idea what I’d do if I was a senior right now,” Cherry said. 

But according to Hughes, the university is working closely with the Liberal Studies Program and academic advisers to make sure students stay on track for graduation. 

“Some courses associated with summer programs will be offered on-campus/online in the Spring Quarter,” Hughes said. “In other cases, students will need to select alternate courses that meet graduation requirements.” 

Hughes also said all Spring Break program fees will be refunded, but before issuing those credits, Financial Aid will be reviewing each student’s account to ensure that the credit will not cause any unintended consequences with scholarships and grants. DePaul expects this review to finish at the end of this week so that each program fees can be credited early next week. 

If you are a student whose coursework, major and graduation depended on one of these cancelled Study Abroad programs, many programs were already planning to be offered next year prior to the cancellation. 

“Accepted students have been notified that they will be given priority if they wish to participate. We are also considering rescheduling several other programs, but it takes some time to confirm that is possible. As soon as we are able to do so, we will notify students,” Hughes said. 

According to the email McGivern had sent out, students are highly encouraged to apply for a December 2020 study abroad program. The deadline to apply will be May 1.