/ Center for Global Engagement

COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 continues to impact all aspects of campus life, including off-campus study and the activities of the Center for Global Engagement.

Due to the unprecedented nature of the global pandemic, Hope College made the difficult decision this summer to suspend all participation in fall 2020 study abroad programs. Domestic program participation was approved on a program-by-program basis after careful review of each program’s health and safety and COVID-19 response plan.  

While our hope is that travel and health restrictions will be lifted for future students to study off-campus, the Center for Global Engagement and the Hope College Risk Management Team will continue to closely monitor the situation throughout the fall semester. In particular we will be reviewing the travel and health alerts from the U.S. State Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, as well as country-specific travel restrictions and guidelines. We will also be working very closely with our program providers as they continuously review their program options and make decisions on the feasibility of successfully running their programs.

Please know that we are committed to the health and safety of our students as they study off-campus. We are committed and strongly believe in the tremendous impact that off-campus study has on a student’s academic and personal growth during college, and we are happy to connect with you as you explore your many options abroad and consider the current state of affairs.  

In light of these current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we have prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which we hope will be helpful to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

I really want to study off-campus in the spring 2021 semester. What should I do at this point?
Off campus study programs are still set to run for the spring 2021 semester and we encourage you to complete both the Off-Campus Study Application found at travel.hope.edu and your program provider’s application found on their website. Please note that the College reserves the right to suspend off-campus study if it is still deemed unsafe for you to study off-campus. 
What will the college consider as they determine whether or not off-campus study programs will be offered in spring 2021 and 2021 May/June Terms?
In addition to reviewing official travel alerts offered by the Department of State, the CDC, and the WHO, we will consider the availability of flights to the host country and any possible travel restrictions in place in your host country, the ability for you to secure a timely passport and visa, the impact that the off-campus study program has on the host community and the availability of medical facilities in your region, and a careful review of housing options that will allow for possible isolation and quarantine. These are a few of the things we will consider as we make a final decision.
When will a final decision be made about off-campus study participation in the spring 2021 as it pertains to COVID-19?
While all of us continue to hope that you can study off-campus in the spring semester, if we have to suspend the programs we will make every effort to share the decision as soon as possible. Please be sure to look for updates and announcements via email and social media.  
What if I’m not 100% sure if I will be able to study off-campus in the spring?
If you think that there is a chance that last minute you will not be able to study off-campus, we recommend that you register for spring on-campus classes. Once your final decision has been made and you have decided to study off-campus, we will be able to change your registration to off-campus study. Keep in mind that you will want to have a full understanding of your program provider’s cancellation and refund policies.
There are so many great programs to choose from… How can I know if they will be offered next semester due to COVID-19?
You are right!! There are so many fantastic programs to choose from for your off-campus study semester and you can find all of them listed at travel.hope.edu. Once you have narrowed down your options, we do recommend that you visit the program provider’s website (IES Abroad, TEAN, CIEE, SIT, etc) to confirm that the program will be running in the spring semester. As you can imagine with the impact of the global pandemic, many providers have had to make adaptations to their program offerings. If your program provider has suspended the program that you are interested in, contact the staff at the Center for Global Engagement and we will work with you to find a similar program and help you explore other options.
While I am hoping to study off-campus in the spring semester, should I consider the fall 2021 semester as my backup semester?
Given the continued uncertainty of travel restritions and the spread of COVID-19, we highly recommend that you defer your plans to the fall 2021.  Please meet with your academic advisor to determine if the fall 2021 is an option for you in case you are not able to study off-campus this spring. You are also welcome to talk to our Center’s staff about deferring to fall 2021.
I’ve been accepted to an off-campus study program. When should I buy my plane ticket?
Given the uncertainty of the spring semester at this point, we recommend waiting until the College has posted a final decision and/or you are confident that the program will not be suspended. This may mean waiting until November or December to look for airfare.
My major requires me to study off-campus. What if I can’t fulfill this requirement?
Please reach out to the chair of your major to explore whether or not another semester may be an option for you. You are also welcome to contact Amy Otis, the Senior Director for Global Engagement, to explore your options and to talk through next steps. You can reach her at otis@hope.edu.
I am really worried about studying off-campus. Can I cancel my Off-Campus Study Application for the spring 2021?
We fully understand that there is so much uncertainty right now as we consider the impact of COVID-19 and that this may be overwhelming for some of you. If you wish to cancel or defer your spring 2021 Off-Campus Study Application, please feel free to contact the Center for Global Engagement and we will be happy to assist you in making that change.
What about May/June Terms in 2021? Will they be offered?
At this point, the College is making plans to offer some exciting 2021 May/June Terms. The 2021 May/June Term program information and brochures will go live on September 1 and can be found at travel.hope.edu. Again, please keep in mind that the College reserves the right to suspend all off-campus study programming should the global pandemic continue to pose travel, health and safety restrictions. Continue to check for updates from the faculty leaders and/or brochures updates as the situation is monitored.
Is the Center for Global Engagement open and can I meet with someone to talk about my options and/or concerns?
Yes! Our Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with part of our staff on campus, part of our staff remote. Many of our meetings will be virtual, so don’t hesitate to stop by or email us for an appointment.  
What is the best way to reach someone at the Center for Global Engagement?
The best way to reach us is via email at offcampusstudy@hope.edu, though you can also call our Center’s number at 616.395.7605 and we will gladly assist you. Connect with us over email to schedule individual meetings with our staff members. 
How can I learn more about the global impact of COVID-19? What resources should I keep an eye on?
Consider bookmarking the travel alert pages for the U.S. Department of State, the CDC, and the WHO. Also look up the embassy notifications in the country you are considering to study in.