Harlaxton travel to resume starting summer 2021


Halle Morrell

Harlaxton College study abroad programs will return beginning summer 2021. This will be the first time students have lived in the manor since an abrupt departure in spring of 2020.

Story by Maria Gutierrez, Staff Writer

Harlaxton College will once again open its doors to Baker University students. Starting in the summer of 2021, students and faculty will be accepted into the program in a slow return to study abroad opportunities.

Baker University’s partnership with the Harlaxton College study abroad program has offered many students the opportunity to spend an entire semester, or even a few weeks during the summer, experiencing new cultures from a historical manor in England. However, due to COVID-19, these programs have been canceled following an abrupt return home for students in the spring of 2020.

Baker students will now be able to spend four weeks of their summer at Harlaxton. In addition, the fall of 2021 will offer the first full semester opportunity since the beginning of the pandemic. These changes came after intense deliberation and schedule changes adapting to COVID-19.

“The original hope was to create two summer sessions so students could opt to do one or both. And if they did both, it’d be about nine weeks in length, which is clearly comparable to the length of a semester,” Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Study Abroad Robyn Long said. “That was the plan until about two months ago. As COVID has continued to be such a significant issue, they cut the session down to one and pushed it back by a whole month.”

Through her roles as a psychology professor and Director of Study Abroad, Long has the unique opportunity to be one of the visiting professors teaching at Harlaxton during the upcoming summer session.

Due to continued safety concerns and adherence to the United Kingdom’s lockdown reopening plan, specific measures have been put in place to ensure students’ safety. 

“Prior to departure, anybody going to Harlaxton will have to have a negative COVID test within three days,” Long said. “When we get to Harlaxton, we’ll be in quarantine for nine days, regardless if we have a positive test, just in case we got ill.”

Furthermore, there are plans in place in case a student tests positive.

“As part of the Harlaxton fee, students are paying for healthcare,” Long said. “So if a student were to go to Harlaxton, test positive, self-isolate in their room and found they had symptoms that needed further medical care, those are available to them as part of the Harlaxton experience. Without that, we couldn’t consider it.”

Currently, there is no requirement for a student to be vaccinated in order to attend the trip. Sophomore Talisa Stone, however, has received her second vaccination and feels comfortable about attending the summer session.

“I see it as like we’re moving forward, so it’s making me less nervous,” Stone said. “Other countries have been on a decline sooner than the U.S., so they might be handling it better. There might be fewer cases or people are wearing their masks when they’re supposed to.” 

However, even with proper safety precautions, there are still concerns about how the pandemic will affect the full experience of studying abroad.

“I wish more things were open and I’m sad that we won’t be doing the end-of-term Italy trip as I wanted, but COVID has a lot of things on hold,” Sophomore Lauren Koerner said. “The trip is going to happen, it’s just going to look different.”

Though changes have been made, there will still be opportunities for students to continue traveling within the region.

“I know for sure we’ll be allowed to travel in the UK, which is a pretty big area. It’s just not all of Europe. But we’ll have a free rail pass with us to get anywhere in the UK for free,” Stone said. “I kind of hope that travel is still open because I’d like to stay an extra week if I can before school starts.”

Though the Harlaxton trip will look different than in years prior, students are still looking forward to the experience of studying abroad.

“I hope that we’re still all able to get along and make friendships despite being so distanced, and that we’re able to have fun regardless of the regulations,” Koerner said.