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Office of Career Services Suspends Summer Funding for Study Abroad Programs

The Office of Career Services suspended funding for summer study abroad programs.
The Office of Career Services suspended funding for summer study abroad programs. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Sydnie M. Cobb and Declan J. Knieriem, Crimson Staff Writers

The Office of Career Services suspended funding for summer study abroad programs, the office announced in a Monday email to program participants.

OCS wrote that it does not expect to provide any funding for such programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and encouraged students to consider other summer possibilities.

“Even if an area is categorized as ‘safe’ by the beginning of the summer, many organizations, universities, and employers may not feel ready to host students,” the email read. “We do not anticipate offering any students summer funding for summer 2020, and we recommend that you investigate alternative summer options, online possibilities and opportunities closer to home.”

OCS is a common source of funding for students with international summer plans. Students on financial aid that receive funding from OCS can have the entire cost of their program and airfare covered; students not on financial aid receive $1,500 awards.

The suspension of OCS funding corresponds with University-wide policies prohibiting all Harvard-related international air travel and all non-essential domestic air travel.

OCS director Robin Mount wrote in an email to The Crimson that the office decided to suspend funding for Harvard Summer School study abroad programs due to the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus and international travel.

“Given that study abroad programs are logistically and operationally complex and require significant advanced planning, and due to the travel restrictions, the unpredictable nature of the spread of the virus, and to ensure the safety of faculty, students, and program administrators, Harvard Summer School made the difficult decision to suspend summer 2020 study abroad programs,” Mount wrote.

Ava M. Hampton ’21 called the move “disruptive” to her summer plans, but also said she understands the decision. Hampton — who would have studied in four cities in Greece, including Athens, Nafplio, Olympia, and Thessaloniki — also said the prospects of finding an opportunity in her field of interest, arts administration, is slim.

“The advice that they’ve given us is look for things nearby or things online,” she said. “And there aren’t really a whole lot of internships in my field in my area. So it’s difficult to know, without funding, whether I will be able to get anything because the opportunities are pretty limited nearby.”

Naomi Davy ’22 said she will no longer be able to attend a summer program in Aix-en-Provence, France, due to the loss of funding. Davy also said she planned traveling abroad during her sophomore summer far in advance, and that the situation “throws a wrench” in her plans.

“Originally, when I found out that I got this program fully funded, I had planned to go, so I didn’t apply for anything else,” she said. “I’m not sure how far I can travel or what sorts of businesses will be open, so it’s kind of all up in the air right now.”

—Staff writer Sydnie M. Cobb can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @cobbsydnie.

—Staff writer Declan J. Knieriem can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @DeclanKnieriem.

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