Story by Kristi Jones / Contributing Writer
Photo courtesy of Pexels
Study abroad trips are being canceled nationwide as travel bans are being enforced all over the world. Middle Tennessee State University has decided to pull students from their current trips and cancel most abroad trips set in the summer.
MTSU and Education Abroad Administration released a statement on the matter, saying “We have decided to cancel the university’s participation in Education Abroad programs through May 31.” Hundreds of students have had to change their summer plans as they are no longer getting credit and experience of culture in their coursework.
“I had been looking forward to this trip for a whole year so I was very disappointed. I would love to do the trip next year instead of not doing it at all, but for right now we are just getting a full refund until they decide for sure,” said sophomore Morgan Lewelling, a ‘Fashion in London and Paris trip’ student.
The tour guides have been informing their groups of the cancellation and working towards what the next steps of action are.
Sidney McPhee stated that he would not approve any later summer dates of travel. While some groups were working on pushing trips into later Summer months like June or July, refunds are now the only option. Many often travelled countries are on the Center for Disease Control’s travel notice.
The CDC has listed the travel health notices levels one through four. Level one and two allow most normal travel. Level three advises travelers to avoid all non-essential travel globally. Level four prohibits entry into and exiting the United States, and is currently in place for China, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom and most European countries.
Several groups across campus are in the process of working towards getting a full refund. Education First Tours is the company that MTSU mainly does business with for study abroad trips.
EF Tours has enhanced its options under the “Peace of Mind” insurance policy. Students can now receive the full amount of their trip in travel vouchers, and those vouchers are transferable to anyone in the original traveler’s family or school.
If the traveler decides they want cash only, they will receive all but $1,000 so the company can “partially cover costs related to non‐recoverable payments to suppliers and investments made to set up the program,” according to Education Abroad. MTSU Education Abroad has stepped in to ensure that all travelers will not lose any of their money.
Students having to cancel their trips and receive refunds will follow through with EF Tour’s cash refund, and MTSU will refund the following $1,000. Students will have to submit documentation and then the Education Abroad Department will issue the refund to the student.
There are groups that are supposed to leave after May 31 and they are still set to go. Groups still approved for travel are being watched to keep the safety of the students a top priority, and those groups are being updated daily about their trips.
For more information about MTSU and Education Abroad updates, click here.
For CDC travel information, click here.
For Education First COVID-19 updates and FAQ’s, click here.
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