Cover Image

Illustration by Vivi Zhu

Spring 2021 Study Aways Canceled While Go Local Continues

On Oct. 6, The Office of Global Programs announced the cancellation of Spring 2021 Study ways and the extension of the Go Local program.

Oct 11, 2020

On Oct. 6, The Office of Global Programs sent out an email update on Spring 2021 Study Aways and the Go Local program. The office stated that given the current situation amidst the pandemic and keeping in mind health and safety protocols, they “will be extending the program into the Spring 2021 semester — with some modifications — and will be maintaining [their] restrictions on study away.” The suspension of exchange programs with universities outside the Global Network will continue into spring 2021.
The email was sent out less than a month after students received a notice of approval to study away in the spring from the Office of Global Education at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Students, especially from the classes of 2022 and 2023, expressed their concern and confusion about the nature of the Go Local model, the leave of absence policy and capacity both in terms of housing and classes at NYUAD.
The Student Government organized a Spring 2020 Study Away Forum on Oct.7 and invited Kyle Farley, Dean of Students, Carol Brandt, Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor, Bryan Waterman, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Development and Michael Martínez, Associate Dean of Students, to address student concerns.
Brandt emphasized that the administration is working on questions regarding Leave of absences and the option of a Senior Fall Study Abroad given that a majority of the current junior class has not yet had the opportunity to study away for a full semester.
When asked about campus capacity, Farley shared that a number of scenarios were being modelled for housing students, keeping in mind quarantine requirements. These plans include the creative use of A1, A3, A4 and even hotel spaces above D2 as well as looking into off-campus spaces if necessary. He emphasized that unlike the Fall semester which saw an authorization application to reside on campus, the Spring semester would invite back all students who wish to return to the UAE. He added that all students currently on campus would be invited to stay over the winter break if they wish to, regardless of the availability of flights to their home destination. All of these measures are subject to current Ministry of Health and Prevention and Ministry of Education guidelines.
Student concerns regarding the possibility of Go Local, especially in terms of self-funded room and board, were left unanswered as the administration was still looking into them. The Gazelle reached out to Carol Brandt but she was unable to comment.
Grace Bechdol, Class of 2023, experienced inconsistencies in the Go Local policy for the Fall semester. Although a US Citizen, she has European residency which makes her eligible to study in the European Union. While her family resides in Italy, she decided to apply to Go Local at NYU Paris, for which she got approval from the NYU Office of Global Programs in New York.
“The… Go Local policy was that… if you needed financial support for housing, for whatever else from the University, it would count as a Study Away… I was in a position where I could afford to self-fund my housing in Paris [off-campus]” Bechdol stated. However, as she proceeded to share these details after approval, the Office of Global Education at NYUAD informed her in a telephonic conversation that arrangement of off-campus housing would make this a “self-funded Study Away” which is not granted to NYUAD students, even as Bechdol was specifically trying not to have the semester count as a Study Away but a Go Local semester. She highlighted that the issue of self-funded Study Away was brought up by NYUAD while her approval process came through the New York campus. She was therefore unable to Go Local at NYU Paris.
Yusril Nur Hidayat, Class of 2022, Global Affairs Committee Chair for the Student Government shared how this decision has impacted his academic plans: “I don’t know what to do with my undergraduate career anymore ... because my initial plan was to go back to Berlin next semester and conduct my capstone research there because my capstone is about migrants in Berlin. I have to be there to collect the data and conduct interviews.”
Hidayat shared that though he has a valid internship visa till December 2020, he was not allowed to Go Local in Berlin as the program required students to be residents of the country they were planning to study in. However, students — primarily with European passports — have been able to study in the global network sites even if they’re not in their country of residence.
When asked about inconsistencies in the Go Local program and issues of passport privilege, Hidayat shared that “Global Ed at NYU Abu Dhabi are really against that idea [of Go Local], knowing that the passport of our student body is very diverse.” He added that one of the primary goals of the office is to address the inconsistencies in the program and that this issue will be brought up in the Student Government Assembly in New York.
Hidayat shared his experience working with the Global Education Office and emphasized that the administration has been trying their best to ensure that students get their study away experience and are looking into the possibility of Senior Fall study away.
“NYU Abu Dhabi, Global Education ... and all those involved really want us to be abroad because it is a part of our education ... But it all comes to [the] New York [office’s] decision. Because even though [NYUAD] says yes to us but the Global Programs Office in New York says no, it won’t happen,” said Hidayat.
Angad Johar is Senior News Editor and Aayusha Shrestha is News Editor. Email them feedback at
gazelle logo