As we come to the end of another semester and look toward the summer, I want to express my sympathies and appreciation for those of you who had to abruptly change your plans for the spring and summer semesters in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know this is not the semester you wanted. It is certainly not the semester that any of you deserved. When studying, interning, or researching in another country, it is expected that there will be challenges. Learning how to navigate cultures, languages, and other aspects of that nation is part of the experience. However, the challenges posed by travel restrictions, health risks, and safety concerns should be avoided by even the most seasoned travelers and global citizens. Whether you were called back from your host country or prevented from departing the U.S., the adaptability and resourcefulness I saw students demonstrate was truly great.
That same adaptability is needed as well for Badgers who planned to travel abroad this summer. Those programs were cancelled with the safety and security of our students in mind. We greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation as staff across campus work to redefine how we offer programming during this pandemic.
I want you to know that I, along with the entire International Division staff, share your disappointment at the way plans have needed to shift. Living abroad, meeting new people, and experiencing cultures firsthand is an extraordinary experience. I hope that once this crisis passes, you will all be able pursue your interests abroad, whether via an opportunity through the university or another way.
Thank you again for the way you have navigated this crisis. It was not easy. It was not enjoyable. However, your ability to do so is admirable and commendable.
Vice Provost and Dean
UW–Madison, International Division