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Mar. 15, 2020 – Recommending study abroad students return home

Posted by on Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Community Messages.

We are recommending students return to their homes. This recommendation is based on the unpredictable nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where cases can spike quickly in any region, as described by the World Health Organization and within the CDC Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice. This unpredictability also puts stress on existing health systems in regions with COVID-19 cases, which may make obtaining other medical care much more difficult. Likewise, we are aware that local and international travel is increasingly challenging due to transportation disruptions or cancellations as well as rapidly changing immigration regulations and border restrictions.

With these factors in mind, we strongly believe that our students are better able to navigate the pandemic at their homes or permanent residences. At home, they will be within their personal networks, in a familiar health system, and in a place where they are less susceptible to future immigration and transportation disruptions.

Students receiving financial aid to support study abroad who have questions should contact the Financial Aid office at

We understand that our recommendation will create disappointment among some students while others may find it a relief. Students who have previously indicated an interest in remaining abroad by submitting a form to SARAC will be contacted by Vanderbilt’s global safety and security manager regarding next steps. Our highest priority remains our students’ well-being.

Arik Ohnstad
Director of Study Abroad
Global Education Office

Andrea Bordeau
Global Safety and Security Manager