Study Abroad in 2021…?
Normally, with the start of a new year, I would be starting to work on the launch of the annual summer session of the Florence Ethnographic Field School. Instead, I am waiting patiently and hopefully until I have a better idea of two things: 1) travel advisories and 2) the public health situation in Italy. I explain both of these fully below. Optimistically, I will be able to welcome students to Florence in person by July, but it is unfortunately too soon to begin planning for that.
If you would like to be notified when plans for the July session are finalized, please let me know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (In accordance with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, I won’t use your email for any other purpose and I won’t ever share it with anyone.)
Italy is currently in a declared state of national emergency. The US has issued a Level Three Travel Advisory (Reconsider Travel) from the Department of State and a Level Four COVID-19 Travel Notice (Avoid All Travel) from the Centers for Disease Control. The Florence Ethnographic Field School will not invite students to disregard travel advisories issued by the US government, nor will it host students during a declared state of emergency. As important as it is, studying abroad does not constitute essential travel.
Independently of the official positions adopted by government, I have an obligation to minimize any negative impacts of bringing foreign students into the host society, and I am concerned about the burden that a student emergency would place on local systems, which are currently under a great deal of extraordinary stress. Needless to say, no one ever wants to have an emergency while studying abroad! But I have to be prepared just in case it ever happens. If a student were to need to go to a hospital in Florence right now for any reason, they would be on their own insofar as I would not be able to accompany them to translate, to explain how the system works, and to manage the inevitable intercultural communication challenges faced by both the student and the hospital staff. This is in addition to the fact that the entire healthcare system is facing extraordinary demands on a daily basis. I cannot in good conscience put students at increased risk while simultaneously adding to the current demands on the system.
Thank you for your interest in the Field School and for reading this. Please feel free to get in touch with me directly at the above email if you have any questions about anything to do with the Field School and/or studying abroad in Italy.
un caro saluto da Firenze,
Zachary T. Androus, PhD
Director-Professor, Florence Ethnographic Field School
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