Practice Area Column

Supporting Study Abroad Students’ Early Reentry

How education abroad offices can support students who return early from their experience abroad, from housing and travel logistics to continuation of classes.
In addition to supporting students who had to return home early from study abroad programs, some international offices are sharing what they know about reentry to lend expertise to their entire campus.  Photo: Shutterstock
Charlotte West

Tikesha Morgan, MA, has spent the past 4 years living in a medieval castle in the Netherlands. As the senior student affairs officer at Emerson College’s Kasteel Well campus in the Netherlands, her job is to tend to the social and emotional needs of the students who study abroad there each semester. 

At the beginning of March, COVID-19 forced the college to suspend operations in the Netherlands and send students back home. Instead of taking her 81 students on a weekend excursion to Milan, Morgan found herself accompanying them on a plane bound for Boston.

“When we first announced that we were leaving, students and parents thought we were overreacting,” she says. But within a few weeks, says Morgan, they understood the severity of the situation. 

Education abroad staff have reimagined traditional reentry programming to support the thousands of students who were called home early in February and March due to COVID-19. In addition to finding ways to support students through an unprecedented disruption to their study abroad experience, some international offices are leveraging what they know about reentry to share their expertise with their entire campus. 

Manage Travel and Housing Logistics

As soon as the plane landed in Boston—and even before—plans had to be made about where Kasteel Well students would live upon their return to the United States. Morgan planned to stay in Boston for a few weeks to help students get acclimated, since they were initially housed in the dorms on Emerson’s campus. Then plans changed. A week

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