Summer Global Pathways Programs canceled due to COVID-19 concerns


Beacon Staff

“[Global Pathways] is something I think Emerson is really proud of. It’s something that I think is unique to us,” College Official Corey Blackmar said.

By Elena Naze

The college notified all 200 individuals registered for the summer Global Pathway programs—which send students around the world for four to six weeks—in early April that it would be canceling all 18 programs due to the current public health crisis, according to a college official. 

Internationalization Initiatives Associate Director Corey Blackmar told The Beacon that this summer’s line-up included a Screenwriters’ Lab in Patmos, Greece, the James Baldwin Writers’ Colony at Kasteel Well, the Prague Summer Film Program, and three new courses in Sweden, Ecuador, and the Netherlands. He added that the average cost for the program including housing and tuition is around $7,000.

Many students who were planning on spending the summer abroad have had to come to terms with the cancellations and loss of credits after the college announced that it would postpone all programs until next summer. The application process for the programs took place from November 2019 to February 2020. 

“I was legitimately very excited to learn how to sharpen my craft of screenwriting,” sophomore Jaden Esse, who had enrolled in the screenwriting program in Greece, said in a phone interview. “I had a story I wanted to tell, and I was excited to get to work on it.” 

The deposit and payment process had begun by the time the college canceled the programs; Blackmar said the money people paid toward the Global Pathway courses will be automatically subtracted from their next set of charges at the college, such as fall 2020 tuition. If a student or family needs an immediate refund, Blackmar said those will be available upon request from the Office of Student Accounts. 

Junior Thomas Bloxham planned on attending a four-week program on analog film in Prague. 

“I feel like I wasn’t as upset as I expected to be, which is weird,” Bloxham said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “But now it’s a bummer.” 

Bloxham was able to get a full refund for the program after he contacted the Office of Student Accounts.

“They were very responsive,” Bloxham said. “I think, in this time, when it’s easy to place blame on a lot of places, I think it is important to recognize that they are really trying their best.” 

Blackmar said that while the college is upset over having to cancel the summer courses for 2020, the Education Abroad and Domestic Programs Office is already planning to revive programs in 2021.

“[Global Pathways] is something I think Emerson is really proud of,” Blackmar said in a Zoom interview. “It’s something that I think is unique to us.”