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Staying global during a pandemic

Region IV-W
September 9, 2020 Stephanie Ross University of Missouri-Columbia

Staying global during a pandemic.

We can all agree 2020 has been a year unlike any of us have ever experienced. In March our whole lives were turned upside down with a shortage of toilet paper, masks as a new fashion accessory, social distancing, and fear. Working in study abroad our office had a unique prospective. In February we were constantly watching the case numbers in China, Italy, and Spain to see how they would impact our study abroad programs. It felt like a tidal wave we were watching head to the United States.

So now here we are in Fall 2020 with still a lot more questions than answers. One of which my office is facing is how do we continue to provide international business programming while we are unable to provide study abroad opportunities? We have all found this is the time to be creative.

For this year we a continuing to offer International Week. International Week takes place in both October and March and is a speaker series focused on business abroad. Typically, these programs are offered in seat, but this year it will be a hybrid offering. This semester students will also have the opportunity to complete case studies highlighting a topic in business. Last, but certainly not least we are also promoting virtual internships for students. Many third-party providers have transitioned to offering in-seat international internships to virtual international internships. Students can now complete a virtual internship with a company in Shanghai, London, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona. We are also working with faculty to bring in more of an international focus in the classroom to supplement what we are offering as an office.

Unfortunately, this virus has taken away a lot of great college experiences for students, and we realize we may have a whole class of students who are unable to study abroad. However, it is important we continue to offer opportunities to expand their global mindset to prepare them for the workforce.

How has your office adapted to our new normal? Do you have any creative ideas you would like to share and discuss? If so feel free to reach out to me at RossSr@missouri.edu!

Stephanie Ross