Study Abroad FAQ

With the rollout of mass COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States and abroad, the Office of Global Education is confident that our students will be able to once again travel internationally for their study abroad in the coming academic year. Of course, there are still a number of questions related to the study abroad requirement. This FAQ is provided as you begin to plan for the coming academic year. The Office of Global Education will provide further updates should any situation impact the current decisions.

Who must fulfill the study abroad requirement?

All degree-seeking students who begin their studies at Goucher as first-year students must fulfill the requirement.

For students graduating in May 2021 who have yet to fulfill the study abroad requirement there are 2 options available. Students can either enroll in a no-credit virtual exchange in either the Fall or Spring or enroll in a 4 credit seminar to be offered in the Spring semester. Students choosing to enroll in the virtual exchange must also attend a speaker’s series.

Is Spring 2021 study abroad an option for students?

No, study abroad is suspended until it is a safe and viable option for our students. We look forward to sponsoring more innovative study abroad programs as soon as we can guarantee the health and safety of our students abroad.

What will I learn in the virtual exchange?

This is an independent, online facilitated dialogue model that connects young people around the world. Students can hope to gain enhanced communication skills and improved attitudes toward difference through discussions framed around current social challenges and world events. It is tailored to help explore the perceived cultural fault line between the United States and Middle East/North Africa through political, social, and personal values-based discussions.

How does the virtual exchange work?

Through a web-conferencing application, students speak face-to-face in groups of 8-10 global peers. Students will discuss topics related to identity, religion, culture, and social and political topics. Group members are encouraged to share their cultures and perspectives openly.

What is the time commitment for the virtual exchange?

This is an 8 week course, and students are expected to spend around three hours each week to complete it. 2 of those hours will be spent in a virtual, facilitated discussion with students from around the world. A short, final reflection piece will be required for any student using this to fulfill the study abroad requirement. There is no charge for students electing to take this course. 

What will I learn in the Spring seminar?

The 4 credit seminar’s components are both academic and experiential, combining in-class readings, discussions, and writings with local/regional for onsite observation and engagement. The experiential components of this seminar consist of traveling, to the extent that it is safe to do so, to globally focused NGOs, nonprofits, and multinational corporations in Baltimore, DC, Philadelphia, and New York City, or students’ local communities. Students and employees will hold discussions on race, power and perspective, diversity at the workplace, global leadership acumen, and more.

I am not graduating in May 2021/I do not need this to count for my study abroad requirement. Can I still enroll in the virtual exchange or the Spring seminar?

Yes, you may, however preference will be given to those students graduating in May 2021.

Can I do an ICA in Summer 2021 to fulfill this requirement?

For May 2021 graduates these are the options to fulfill the study abroad requirement. While we are planning to run ICAs this Summer, students should not rely on this to fulfill their requirement.

What do I need to do to satisfy the study abroad requirement?

You need to participate in a Goucher-sanctioned program at some point during your undergraduate career at Goucher.

You may do this through one of the many study-abroad programs offered through Goucher's Office of Global Education—including any of our three-week Intensive Courses Abroad or any semester or academic-year program.

What accommodations are available for study abroad programs?

Students may request study abroad accommodations for disabilities or religious reasons.

Where can I find more information about any of this?

If you have questions about our study-abroad programs or the alternatives for May 2021 graduates please contact Mark Bladel at 

Can students apply for Summer 2021 non-Goucher programs?

At this time, we are advising students not to apply to in-person study abroad programs this Summer; however, we are offering summer virtual courses with our exchange partner in Hong Kong, Lingnan University, which will count towards the study abroad requirement. Please contact Mark Bladel if you are interested.

Can students apply for semester programs beginning in Fall 2021?  

Yes, students may apply for semester programs for Fall 2021. We will be limiting this to a small cohort of students for whom this would be their last opportunity to study abroad, and we will be carefully and thoughtfully guiding students through the process. We will be as flexible as possible with deadlines to give students plenty of time to make their final decision (although, some of this will be contingent on what programs they are applying for).

Will all programs be offered in Fall 2021?   

No. We will be offering a limited portfolio of programs for the Fall 2021 semester. This is due to ongoing concerns around COVID-19 and the entrance policy of other countries. Australia and New Zealand, for example, continue to restrict access to international travelers and are not options for students.

Are there any changes to the study abroad application for students?   

Yes, there are a few changes to the study abroad application for this Fall. All changes can be found in the study abroad application at First, students will need to select an alternate program in a different region as a backup should travel to the area of first choice remain infeasible, i.e., if you are applying to a program in Germany, you should select a second option outside of the European Union. Due to the evolving situation, students should speak with their advisor about courses they can take at Goucher should travel not be possible this Fall. Students will also need to submit a short form from their academic advisor. Finally, all students will need to read and submit the form “Assumption of Risk for International Travel”. Students who fail to do so will not be cleared to study abroad.

Do I need to be vaccinated prior to studying abroad?  

We are not requiring students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at this time; however, foreign countries and institutions have the autonomy to make their own vaccine requirements. Any student considering study abroad during the Fall semester should consult with their health care provider and research entry and reentry requirements for unvaccinated travelers. In addition, all students should research mandatory quarantine rules for their country of interest, regardless of vaccination status. The Office of Global Education can assist with institution-specific policies.

I am not comfortable studying abroad just yet. What are my options?  

This academic year we launched IDS 305 and IDS 310 for students who were unable to study abroad due to the pandemic. We will continue these alternatives for students in their third and fourth year who are unable and/or might not yet feel comfortable to travel, and we will continue to offer the option for a study abroad waiver. Students who are in their first or second year should wait before considering a study abroad alternative or waiver (due to concern of the pandemic); however, they can always reach out to the Office of Global Education to discuss their options.

Will there be any changes to the study abroad programs on offer?  

Yes, as we prepare to relaunch international travel, we have been taking a close look at our semester study abroad providers and ICA model. We are excited to announce that we will be eliminating study abroad surcharges. Additional changes to our study abroad portfolio will be shared as they become available.

What about current third-and fourth-year students who were unable to study abroad due to the pandemic?

We have been thinking about this question a lot. Many students chose to attend Goucher because of our study abroad programs, and these students have sadly missed out this opportunity due to factors out of their control. Therefore, we have been actively exploring several ideas, such as inviting students (recent graduates from 2020 and 2021), who were unable to study abroad due to COVID-19, to participate in our ICAs at a reduced expense. We would of course love to hear from those students whose travel plans were impacted by the pandemic to help come up with a creative solution!