Publication Date: March 19, 2020
Publication Location: WASHINGTON
Contact:   |   communications@worldlearning.org

As the current COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we are facing unprecedented challenges.

We in the World Learning Inc. family, which includes The Experiment in International Living, School for International Training (SIT), and the global development and exchange nonprofit World Learning, are closely tracking the situation so that we can respond quickly and effectively to rapidly changing conditions.

I wanted to take a moment to update you on the actions the World Learning Inc. family is taking to protect the safety and wellbeing of our participants, staff, and faculty around the world.

  • We are diligently working to help 923 SIT Study Abroad students overseas and more than 100 international exchange participants in the U.S. to return to their home countries as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • We are transitioning all SIT Study Abroad in-person programs to SIT Online so that students can continue their studies and receive credit for their program.
  • We are pausing international exchanges funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) for 60 days, in accordance with a directive issued by ECA. The State Department will review this decision every 30 days thereafter.
  • We are caring for staff and faculty across the U.S. and around the world through remote work policies and location specific protocols.
  • We are hearing from alumni and participants about what they are doing to help their communities in this time of crisis.
  • We are working closely with our industry partners, including the Alliance for International Exchange, InterAction, USGLC, SID, Humentum, NAFSA, NACUA, and dozens of others.
  • We are listening closely to our contacts on the ground, abiding by local and national government regulations, following advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other health experts.
  • We are continually assessing the viability of other upcoming in-person programs based on rapidly shifting conditions and exploring opportunities for virtual learning and engagement.

We always tell our program participants to “expect the unexpected.” Now is one of those moments. As we navigate the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, our students are experiencing some very big challenges, and we need your support to help make the unexpected as smooth as possible Three decades ago, we established the F. Gordon Boyce Student Emergency fund in honor of the former president of SIT to assist our students in time of crisis. Your support will build on this legacy and ensure our students return home swiftly and safely and preserve the continuity of their studies. Please contribute to the SIT Student Emergency Fund today: https://studyabroad.sit.edu/donate/

Amidst these difficult and uncertain times, I have been heartened by the incredible dedication, generosity, and cooperative efforts of our network. Our staff, faculty, alumni, program participants, partners, and supporters are stepping up, doing their part to help their communities, their countries, and our world through this global crisis. I want to express my sincerest gratitude to each and every one of you for your invaluable contributions as we respond to these challenges.

For more than 87 years we have been fulfilling our mission to create a more peaceful and just world by training leaders at local, organizational, national and global levels—leaders with a sense of responsibility toward others, a commitment to collective action, and the skills needed to turn aspiration into action. Today, the importance of this work is clearer to me than ever. Learning from other cultures, listening to different perspectives, and combating fear of the other is our greatest strength. Even if we are physically separated, we are still a community, and as a community, we will get through this together and emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side.

Sincerely,

Carol Jenkins
CEO, World Learning Inc.