Editor's note: The Daily Toreador strives for accuracy and truthfulness in all works that are published. The story has been modified to correct the misspellings of the names of Nikki Nordell and Ashley Haseley. We apologize and regret the error.
The Office of International Affairs hosted a virtual and in-person Study Abroad Fair Tuesday. Students were able to explore many study abroad options from a manner at which they were most comfortable.
The in-person study abroad fair was hosted at Urbanovsky Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Whitney Longnecker, director of Tech Study Abroad, said. The virtual study abroad fair began at 10 a.m. and continued throughout the day with multiple sessions.
"We hope to begin the study abroad programs this upcoming spring, Longnecker said. "We will be monitoring the pandemic and what precautions we must take."
There is a range of available programs, and there are professor-led programs, which are the majority at the in-person fair, Longnecker said. There also are programs available with other Tech campuses.
"We have never been able to reach the other Texas Tech campuses that are not in Lubbock," Longnecker said. "We are pleased that some of those other campuses around Texas can participate for the first time."
Having the study abroad fair outside was the most comfortable option regarding COVID-19, Longnecker said. Some extra precautions that were taken are having online registration and wearing gloves and masks.
The virtual event took a lot of prep work, Longnecker said. The team had to load all the content onto an online platform, but it turned out great.
"We are happy that we're able to offer this opportunity safely," Longnecker said. "In the spring, we had nearly 100 students return home due to the global pandemic."
The summer and fall 2020 study abroad opportunities were canceled due to the pandemic, Longnecker said. The plan is to monitor the global pandemic with hopes to return to study abroad programs spring 2021.
There were many effects on the cancellation of study abroad, Longnecker said. Some changes include graduation requirements and financial aid.
The cancellation of study abroad affected the study abroad scholarships, Nikki Nordell, Financial Aid Study Abroad senior adviser, said.
"The scholarships specified for study abroad programs that were canceled without even beginning were revoked," Nordell said.
The deadline for the Study Abroad Competitive Scholarship is Sept. 25, Nordell said.
The funds that were not used for the previous semester will now apply to the upcoming semester, Longnecker said.
"Engineering students are required to study abroad," Ashley Heseley, program manager of international engineering, said.
There were accommodations made to the requirements with the cancellation of the study abroad programs, Haseley said. But the requirements are intended to be put back in place.
There are multiple programs available and the regulations for travel are being monitored, Haseley said. Some countries are not allowing travel from the U.S, and the U.S is not allowed to travel to certain places.
"It is an important experience for the students, and we hope that we will get back to it," Haseley said.
Yanlin Wang, director of the Chinese program, said she has a faculty-led summer study abroad program in China.
Overall, Wang is excited to be able to offer this course again, she said. Her summer course for 2020 was canceled.
"It is an amazing opportunity for students to learn about culture," Wang said. "Experiencing study abroad is different from learning out of a textbook or over the internet."