Dickinson College Creates "Study Abroad at Home" for International Students 

Norwich, England

Norwich, England, home to Dickinson's abroad program at the University of East Anglia.

With COVID-19 preventing students from around the globe from returning to campus, Dickinson exports the campus experience overseas

by Tony Moore

While the COVID-19 pandemic has upended colleges across the country, what isn’t discussed as often is the effect the virus has had on international students studying in the United States.

But when Dickinson began to understand how challenging it was going to be for many international students—who make up 14% of the student body—to return to the U.S. this fall, the Center for Global Study & Engagement started working to create several international student programs for the fall 2020 semester—offered in the students' home countries.

Now, in collaboration with some of the college’s long-term partners abroad as well as with CET Academic Programs, the programs are about to launch.

Far away, so close

“In the wake of COVID-19, we’ve watched and reacted with concern to growing xenophobia and unpredictable immigration policies in the U.S.,” says Samantha Brandauer '95, associate provost and executive director of the Center for Global Study & Engagement. “This was an opportunity for us to show support for our international students by facilitating academic continuity while helping them find a sense of belonging on our campus—even from far away.”

The programs are for students from the countries that had the largest international student population at Dickinson and where the college either had existing programs or partners: Vietnam, China, South Korea and England. These programs have created an opportunity for international students to "study abroad at home" and have an in-person experience in their home country or region with onsite support. Also, this allows first-year students who otherwise would have had to defer the start of their time at Dickinson to get started and still feel connected to Dickinson.  

How it works

Students can take classes through a local university, CET or enroll in Dickinson remote courses and can choose the courses that work best for them and their academic interests and needs. The programs are open to nationals of the host country and to students in all class years.

  • Dickinson in Beijing: In collaboration with CET Academic Programs. The Dickinson in China program coordinator will help with student support and connection to campus. 
  • Dickinson in England: Open to European nationals. Students will be able to take classes at Dickinson's long-time partner, the University of East Anglia, and will also take a Dickinson course with the current Dickinson in England, Humanities rotating faculty director. 
  • Dickinson in Korea: With long-term partner Yonsei University.
  • Dickinson in Shanghai: In collaboration with CET.
  • Dickinson in Vietnam: In collaboration with CET.

Co-curricular activities and support through onsite staff and Dickinson staff in Carlisle also will be available.

“These programs came together very quickly, and it was really a team effort across the college,” says Brandauer. “Everyone sprang into action to make this work in support of our international students. It’s a testimony to how global our campus is as well as our flexibility and the collaborative nature of our campus community.”


Published August 25, 2020