Frequently Asked Questions about 2021-22 PLU Study Away

How might the pandemic impact students interested in studying away during the 2021-22 academic year and beyond?

Within the context of the pandemic, guaranteeing semester and short-term study away is challenging for many reasons, including travel-related risks, restrictions on travel to countries where PLU offers programs, and the availability of onsite academic and co-curricular resources, among others. Having said this, the Wang Center is committed to making safe study away available to as many students as possible during the 2021-22 academic year, including creating processes designed to provide maximum flexibility in the current situation. Study away is an essential component of PLU’s global education focus, which advances the Wang Center’s mission of “educating to achieve a just, healthy, sustainable, and peaceful world, both locally and globally.”

Why are 2021-22 applicants being asked to indicate an alternate-choice program and term flexibility?

The pandemic is ever-changing and has created—and will likely continue to create—uncertainties. This is why the Wang Center is asking students applying to semester study away to consider identifying an alternative program, in case their top choice isn’t available or is deemed unsafe for travel. Additionally, students should consider whether they would be able to study away during a different term than originally intended.

What should Fall 2021 semester study away applicants do in case their program is canceled?

While committed to supporting students wishing to have an international experience, given the present ongoing uncertainty, the Wang Center is requesting that students register for Fall 2021 classes on campus and consider a back-up plan for fall housing. Fall semester study away students will be able to apply for on-campus housing (by the regular deadlines) and withdraw their housing application without a penalty if done so promptly following the study away “call date,” which the Wang Center will inform accepted students of in late Spring 2021.

How many times can someone participate in a study away program as a PLU student?

Students can participate in multiple J-Term programs throughout their careers as PLU students. Students may also participate in multiple PLU Gateway programs while receiving full PLU financial aid. In accordance with PLU’s Study Away Policies, starting in Fall 2021, students may only participate in one Featured or Approved semester program throughout their time at PLU. A student who participated in a Featured or Approved program prior to Fall 2021 would still be eligible to participate in one more Featured or Approved program.

Acceptance to a study away program is contingent on many factors, such as enrollment-capacity limits, good standing, academic performance, and is not guaranteed. However, the Wang Center has enjoyed a long history of creating access for students to participate in multiple study away opportunities.

Is it true that students can only study away for one semester starting in the 2021-22 academic year?

No, it is possible for students to study away more than once. Howeverfor the 21-22 academic year, due to the possibility that capacity could be limited, applicants to full-year 21-22 programs or both a Fall 2021 and a Spring 2022 semester program are unlikely to be able to study away for both semesters in 2021-22, and are encouraged to choose between fall and spring semesters. We are not able to make guarantees that every student applying to study away will be accepted and able to go on the program they’ve applied for. Should demand exceed capacity, the Wang Center has established selection criteria, available on our website. In addition to these criteria, students whose semester study away plans have been impacted by the global pandemic will be given special consideration.

Given the uncertainty surrounding study away in the 2021-22 academic year, will application fees be refundable?

Yes, for the 21-22 academic year only, the Wang Center will refund the study away application fee in the event that PLU cancels a program or a student is not accepted to a program.

How might the study away experience be different going forward, due to the pandemic?

Students will need to follow any pre-travel requirements, as well as health and safety regulations, while onsite. Other modifications are possible, such as changes to study tours, for example, or the inability to travel to neighboring countries during independent time or free weekends within program start and end dates.

Semester study away acceptance and pre-departure preparations may look quite different than they have in years past. The Wang Center is prepared to work one-on-one with students in order to accommodate their needs and wishes. Both PLU staff/faculty and PLU students must be flexible with regard to possible unexpected changes.

Who should you contact if you have questions about these FAQs or about PLU study away?

The most effective way to reach the appropriate person in the Wang Center is by emailing wang.center@plu.edu. We understand that study away, and this time in particular, can be difficult, and we are here to help.