Westminster College’s annual May Term Study Experience trips are canceled for the May 2021 semester, making it the second year in a row the study abroad trips have been called off amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roughly 45 students enrolled for a MTSE trip for the May 2021 semester, according to Sara Demko, assistant provost for global learning. All of the students will receive a full refund.
The announcement was made months in advance, so students seeking credits for graduation have enough time to readjust class schedules.
“Students should have ample time to adjust their Spring Semester schedules as needed due to the cancellation of the MTSEs,” Demko said in an email to The Forum. “There will also be Engaging the World courses offered as part of the Summer Semester schedule.”
The trips were canceled because of international restrictions prohibiting travel to the planned MSTE destinations. This comes as government officials warn of abrupt flight cancellations and country lockdowns in response to globally rising numbers of COVID-19.
Americans also continue to be banned from international travel in several countries, especially in Europe. As a result, the senior leadership team at Westminster called off the study experiences.
“The decision was made to cancel earlier rather than later, so that students would be able to receive a full refund and make the necessary adjustments to their academic schedules,” Demko said.
When MTSEs were abruptly canceled for the May 2020 semester, several students reported they weren’t able to receive full reimbursements. That’s because the last-minute reversal came less than two months before the trips were set to take place, so there were several nonrefundable expenses that students couldn’t get back.
May Term courses that don’t require travel will still be available to students in the May 2021 semester. It’s expected these will be held in either an online or hybrid capacity.