Carnegie Mellon University

Status of Study Abroad & Exchange Programs for Spring 2021

Published November 4, 2020

As a global institution, Carnegie Mellon values and supports students who choose to study abroad and their related opportunities for personal, professional and academic growth in a global context. During this challenging time, educational institutions around the world have continued to adjust plans as they seek to be able to operate in a safe, responsible manner. The Office of International Education (OIE) and our campus colleagues have continued to research the viability of CMU students engaging in study abroad opportunities, especially as we recognize that study abroad is an integral part of many students’ university experiences. We have continued to review protocols and expert advice from numerous sources within the U.S. and across the globe as we consider programming for spring 2021.  

The university has made the difficult decision that Carnegie Mellon will continue the suspension of participation in study abroad over winter break, as previously announced, and will extend the suspension of study abroad and educational exchange through the spring 2021 semester. Several factors went into making this disheartening decision, including the ongoing suspension of university-sponsored international travel, U.S. government advisories regarding travel, travel bans and restrictions of other countries, and, most importantly, health and safety concerns.

All types of study abroad are included in this suspension, including participation in sponsored or external programs, university-wide or departmental-exchange programs, as well as faculty-led or academic short-term trips abroad during the spring semester, and the winter break period.

Along with university leadership, OIE recognizes that the continued suspension of study abroad is disappointing news for all who had hoped to be able to study abroad this academic year, and presents yet another unwelcome disruption of exciting academic and personal plans. OIE values and supports study abroad and cross-cultural educational exchange and the related opportunities for personal, professional and academic growth in a global context; however, the risks associated with the pandemic and the global travel challenges remain too great to overcome.

We continue to hope that circumstances will improve in the new year and that opportunities for study abroad may be able to resume as the year progresses.  Study Abroad Advisors in OIE remain available to consult with students as they consider future options.