| by Bill Mayers

Faculty, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Staff, Students

Dear Students:

I am writing to inform you that, unfortunately, Middlebury has made the difficult decision to cancel the spring 2021 School in Russia, joining the programs in Brazil, Cameroon, China, France, Italy, India, Jordan, Morocco, Oxford, and Spain. I am sure this news will come as a disappointment to you, especially if this is not your first cancellation. We have decided to announce this prior to December 15 in order to allow Middlebury students who are returning home for the extended Thanksgiving/winter break to be able to plan accordingly. (And I suspect that the rest of you could use a little planning time as well!) Russia continues to retain the most severe designation (level four—“Do not travel”) on the U.S. Department of State travel warning website. In addition, staff in Vermont and in Russia are not optimistic that Russia will be processing visas for U.S. students soon enough for us to run the program next semester. (Earlier in the fall, we did have hope that Russia would soon begin processing these student visas.) 

You have a couple of options to consider going forward:

  • Move your application to fall 2021 or spring 2022. If your academic plan allows, we would welcome your participation in the Schools Abroad in either the fall 2021 or spring 2022 semester. If you would like to roll your application to a future term, please let your study abroad advisor know, and we will be happy to make that adjustment for you. It is important that you discuss this option with both your academic advisor and, if you’re a student from a school other than Middlebury, the study abroad advisor at your home institution to ensure that you have approval to study abroad in a future semester. Middlebury students who are considering studying abroad during one of their final two semesters at Middlebury must apply to the Administration Committee for a senior year in residency waiver. Please forward approvals to our office. Please let our office know by February 1 if you would like to push your application to a future semester. 
  • Withdraw from the Middlebury Schools Abroad. While our sincere hope is to have you join us abroad, we certainly understand if the best decision for you at this point is to withdraw your application. Students will not incur any financial penalties for withdrawing. If this is your choice, kindly notify your study abroad advisor as well as your academic advisor, and, if you’re a student from a school other than Middlebury, the study abroad office at your home institution. Students who paid an application fee and who choose to withdraw completely from the Schools Abroad will receive a refund of the fee. Any other payments that have been made thus far toward preparations to study abroad are considered nonrecoverable and will not be refunded by Middlebury. 

Middlebury Students Only

As you consider your options, please keep in mind the following:

  • There’s a small chance that a very few externally sponsored programs are still taking applications for spring 2021. Please note that Middlebury financial aid will not apply to these programs. There is no guarantee that Middlebury will approve participation in externally sponsored programs this spring. As noted above, decisions about these programs will be announced by December 15. If you are interested in exploring externally sponsored programs, please contact Stacey Thebodo at sthebodo@middlebury.edu.
  • With the exception of Japan, students who meet the admissions criteria for Middlebury Schools Abroad with December 15 decision deadlines may contact the advisor of their program to verify eligibility and apply. Please note that there is no guarantee that these programs will run.
  • There will be opportunities to remotely enroll at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies for the spring 2021 semester. Interested students may contact Heather Sitkie at hsitkie@middlebury.edu
  • If you had previously committed to a School Abroad, you have already been placed “on leave” for the spring semester and, in some cases, winter term (J-term) as well. We will reactivate your Banner record so that you will be eligible to register for the upcoming semester. Your student record for the spring semester will reflect your current status, including whether you are registered as an on-campus or remote learner. Based on this status, your financial aid will be adjusted, and at the end of November you will receive a spring semester bill reflecting the charges for being on campus or remote.

In addition to the options listed above, you may also consider taking a leave of absence from Middlebury for the spring 2021 semester. Should you decide to take a leave of absence from Middlebury for the spring semester, you should declare your intent by contacting your Residential Life dean.

Finally, I want to draw your attention to some remote offerings through the Schools Abroad this spring for students enrolled full time at Middlebury College. As was the case this semester, we anticipate being able to offer some Schools Abroad classes and internships remotely this J-term and spring, and we hope you will consider enrolling in one of these in order to benefit from Middlebury’s global network, even though your study abroad program has been cancelled. You will find these offerings in the course catalog and schedule when they are published.

Once again, I am very sorry that your study abroad plans have been disrupted. Please feel free to be in touch with me if you have any questions.



Bill Mayers

Assistant Director, International Programs