International student mobility programs for 2021

Dear faculty colleagues,

I’m writing to provide you with UVic’s direction on international student mobility programs for the upcoming spring and summer terms (January-August 2021). Programs include incoming and outgoing international exchanges as well as UVic-sanctioned international co-ops, internships, field schools, volunteer opportunities, practica, and other study abroad opportunities offered by academic faculties, departments and schools.

Aligned with provincial and government health and safety recommendations, UVic is continuing in a similar manner as per our fall 2020 term and as follows.

Inbound exchange students and inbound fee-paying students wishing to travel to Victoria and attend the UVic campus during the spring and/or summer 2021 terms may do so, provided all health and safety requirements put in place by the Provincial Health Officer and UVic are met. There may be additional restrictions for inbound international travel into Canada enforced by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) that are beyond UVic’s control.

Until the Canadian government lifts the global travel advisory (GAC Level 3), all group international travel (e.g. field schools) will continue to be suspended, and Deans should waive, substitute or defer all requirements for mandatory international travel in their degree programs. Further, all university-sanctioned outbound global student mobility programs should be placed on hold (e.g. exchange, co-op, practica, internships, and individual research). An exception may be made for individual students who have special circumstances or who are participating in graduate programs in an international location.

Exception process for students

As per above, students who wish to participate in a UVic-sanctioned program of activity abroad will need to complete a Special Authorization for Travel Form. The form must be signed by their supervisor, Chair or Director and then by their Dean or, for co-op programs, the Executive Director, Co-op and Career Services, and then submitted to the Office of Global Engagement for review and confirmation.

International students who wish to participate in a UVic-sanctioned program or activity in their home country should complete a Special Authorization to Participate in an International Academic Program and then follow the process as per above.

Academic units are best positioned to determine the importance of international mobility for students in their programs. Visit the international website to access the forms and for more information about this exception process.

Process and consultation

Over the course of this term, UVic’s Student Mobility Recovery Team (SMRT) consulted with various leaders and others across campus, other post-secondary institutions in BC, and many of our global partner institutions. Following those consultations, a recommendation was put forth to the Special Advisor International, the VPAC COVID-19 Advisory Group and then to me as VicePresident Academic and Provost for review and final approval.

Considerations, opportunities and next steps

The university remains committed to maintaining and encouraging international engagement of
faculty, librarians, staff and students as much as possible during the current pandemic, while prioritizing the health and safety of all our UVic community members.

To that end, academic units and program leads who have global partners interested in supporting virtual student mobility experiences are encouraged to advance those opportunities for students. SMRT is currently working on a repository of global student mobility programs, courses and activities available to UVic students in a virtual format.

It is expected that global travel restrictions will remain in place for some time, though there remains a lot of uncertainty in this regard, both nationally and internationally. The Office of Global Engagement continues to monitor the situation. Should the global situation shift significantly in the coming months, SMRT will develop and propose further recommendations for consideration.

Please contact the Office of Global Engagement via ioglobal@uvic.ca if you have any questions; need support with inbound or outbound students; or would like further information about UVic’s student mobility programs, virtual programming opportunities and available resources.

Experiential learning remains an important priority for our university, and we look forward to
once again offering our full suite of experiential learning opportunities when health and safety allows.

Sincerely,
Valerie

Valerie S. Kuehne, PhD
Vice-President Academic and Provost
University of Victoria