Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of State, and best practices in the field of international education, IUP has made the decision to suspend all student Fall Education Abroad experiences, both credit and noncredit.
The programs being suspended include the following: faculty-led programs, institutional partners, study abroad providers and affiliates, experiential placements (internships, field schools, clinicals, etc.), and independently-arranged experiences.
“We had a number of students actively planning for a study abroad program for the fall,” Michele Petrucci, associate vice president, International Education and Global Engagement, and executive director of IUP’s American Language Institute, said. “This was a great disappointment to them—and to us—but we all understand the importance of doing the right thing and taking every precaution to keep people safe and healthy.”
Each year, more than 250 IUP students take advantage of some kind of study abroad program, and IUP routinely welcomes 800 international students throughout the year.
“IUP students have many different options available to them, designed to meet their educational and personal goals,” she said. “Students can participate in short-term programs, semester-long programs, or year-long programs. Our faculty lead a number of study abroad experiences, and we also have partnerships with programs that can help any student find the right program for them.”
IUP students, faculty, and staff have been successful in securing a number of competitive scholarships for study abroad, including Fulbright Scholarships, Freeman-Asia awards, Benjamin A. Gilman Study Abroad Scholarships, and most recently, a Boren Scholarship and a Critical Language Scholarship.
For the last five years, IUP has been selected for a Fulbright International Education grant, hosting 12 to 15 international educators from all over the world who are Fulbright scholarship winners. Two international students studying at IUP this spring, working closely with the Office of International Education, received grants from the Institute of International Education to help to meet financial needs during the summer.
Both Petrucci and Jessica Mulvihill, director of Education Abroad in the Office of International Education, are active on international boards and leadership groups. Both are recipients of Fulbright awards.
While study abroad programs will not be available in the fall for IUP students, the Office of International Education will continue to support international students at IUP, and it will continue to offer programming to the community to build awareness about other cultures and the study abroad experience. Education Abroad continues to meet with returning and new students and present material for future experiences. Staff members are continuing to participate as panelists for Destination IUP virtual experiences and training for Student Success Leaders.
IUP’s Office of International Education is actively planning to host the annual International Education Week in October 2020 (Oct. 12–16) with events to be held in various formats: in-person, small group, and virtual.