The year abroad program for language students in the UK is being abandoned after the spread of coronavirus in the country. Virtual year abroad is being hailed as a viable replacement for the program by many universities.
The spread of coronavirus across Europe has resulted in many universities canceling overseas learning trips. However, some are also coming up with creative solutions to ensure that language students are able to continue with their education and advance to their final year.
Virtual year abroad as a solution to language students who will not be able to travel abroad is gaining momentum, with many universities being open to the idea. Normally, language students in the UK are required to take a foreign trip to a country that speaks their choice of language, either to work or continue learning the language in their third year.
Language students in the UK study abroad program canceled
The current circumstances have forced universities such as Edinburgh and Newcastle to cancel all their plans for a year abroad. They cited fear of contracting coronavirus by their students, saying they could not take the risk. The third-year is supposed to start in September, but the students are yet to know what the final approach for their third year will be.
Language students are also grappling with fear over the possibility of failing to secure a job if they fail to attend their third-year study abroad program. To address this, many students are opting to defer their studies for at least a year. They argued that the study abroad program, which involves internships, teaching jobs, or the advancement of courses in their host countries, is an important part of their school curriculum that should not be skipped.
Petition to reinstate the program
Toby Gay, a second-year Spanish and linguistics student at Edinburgh, has created a petition asking the university to explain why it was canceling its semester placements. With over 200 students signing the petition, the students are not convinced that the cancellation is due to the safety of the students.
Across Europe, the petition stated, countries are starting to relax their coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Cases have also been on a decline in the region, with some countries opening up businesses, schools and sporting activities. Therefore, the idea that Edinburgh University was canceling traveling abroad for their students did not make sense to petition signatories.
The university’s spokesperson addressed the students’ grievances by highlighting that the school understood the difficult situation they found themselves into. He said the decision was due to the spread of coronavirus in the region. He said, to protect students, the university had taken this path to ensure that the disease does not spread and cause havoc to their students.
Newcastle University Prof Richard Davies, the global pro-vice-chancellor, also announced the decision to cancel the year abroad program due to coronavirus. He, however, said the students would be able to proceed to their final year.
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