In response to a potential nuclear crisis in Japan, the Office of International Programs announced Wednesday that all upcoming Penn Abroad programs in the region have been put on hold, OIP Executive Director Anne Waters wrote in an e-mail.
Seven students who were scheduled to begin study abroad programs in Kyoto and Tokyo in April — when the Japanese school year begins — have been told not to depart, Waters wrote. The recommendations were made in compliance with the United States State Department’s travel alert.
In addition, all but two students currently abroad in Japan were strongly recommended to leave the country by the University.
The two students are on a Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies program which ends March 25.
“At a meeting Wednesday, University officials debated but did not reach a decision to recommend the two students on the KCJS program to depart Japan,” Waters said.
Penn will abide by the decision of KCJS — a program operated by a consortium of American universities — about whether they should return to the U.S.
Waters added that Stanford University has canceled its spring KCJS program.
All Penn students in Japan have been offered assistance by the Office of Risk Management and Insurance to make travel plans to return home.
“Five graduate students have decided it was more prudent to interrupt their studies than to remain in Japan while conditions are so unstable,” Waters wrote.
OIP is “very concerned about student education … safety and welfare. We are monitoring the situation in Japan very closely,” she added.
College and Wharton sophomore Emily Hsiao was scheduled to study abroad in Japan this April. Hsiao is enrolled in the Huntsman Program in International Studies, which requires its students to spend a semester abroad.
“Being a sophomore, I can always study abroad a different semester ... it’s too premature to make any long-term decisions at the moment,” she wrote in a Google mail chat.
“I agree with [the University’s] decision,” Hsiao continued. “Radiation is not something to take lightly. Additionally, with the food and water shortage in Japan, we don’t want to take any away from them, even if it means taking a different path in our study plans.”
Hsiao, who was away from Penn this semester doing an internship in anticipation of studying abroad in Japan, said she will work with her advisor to figure out a plan to make up class credits.
Three students in the Huntsman program — including Hsiao — were scheduled to study in Japan this April.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.