After all study abroad had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Otterbein is hopeful to begin sending large groups of students abroad again in May 2022.
The most popular way for Cardinals to study abroad is through faculty-led May term courses. The preparations for the May 2020 courses were already in motion when COVID-19 hit America, forcing these courses to be cancelled and refunded to the students enrolled.
Delaney Lombardi, junior English AYA major, said she hopes she can study abroad somewhere before graduation. "My first choice was Italy since my family is from there, but at this point I'm up for going anywhere," said Lombardi.
For seniors who had planned to use their study abroad trip to fulfill a graduation requirement, they weren’t left without a diploma. Otterbein developed a special May term course that seniors could take safely from their homes. Any senior who had needed their study abroad course to graduate was given a special discount for the new May term course.
For underclassmen, they can expect May term travel to be available again in 2022. However, as this is a touch-and-go basis, students may not receive a list of exactly which courses will be available until spring 2022.
In previous years the May term travel courses have been on display at the annual Study Abroad Fair during the fall semester, and the faculty leading each course have been present to answer questions and gage interest in their course.
“I think our faculty are eager to get back out in the world with students … But they recognize that it's hard enough to travel as an independent person, let alone be responsible for 15+ students as well,” said Michelle Dippold, Otterbein’s study abroad coordinator.
Despite May Term courses being cancelled for 2020 and 2021, individual students still looked for the opportunity to go abroad. According to Dippold, two Cardinals had plans to study abroad in Wales, England this semester. “48 hours before they were supposed to leave, the UK government changed their plans,” said Dippold.