Friday, May 2, 2003

Bruce Hanna, director, Strategic Marketing & Communications
University of California, Education Abroad Program
desk (805) 893-4259
cell (805) 451-5414


The University of California announced today (Friday, May 2) the continued suspension of its Education Abroad Program academic programs in Beijing through this summer due to ongoing risks of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

"The Education Abroad Program will not open its programs at Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China, for the summer of 2003," said professor John A. Marcum, universitywide director of the Education Abroad Program (EAP).

The program suspended its spring semester programs in Beijing on April 17 and had committed to inform students of its decision about the summer programs by May 10.

"We cannot predict that the increased SARS control measures being put in place in Beijing will contain SARS by late June," Marcum said. "We are not willing to gamble with the safety of UC students."

About 130 UC students are affected by the decision, which reflects UC's ongoing concern for student safety, given the spread of SARS in Beijing. On April 17, 44 EAP students were instructed to depart Beijing upon suspension of the spring programs. No EAP students have been diagnosed with SARS.

A substitute summer program of comparable cost, quality and providing UC academic credit will be offered through EAP at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ. The substitute program will be held in the same time period as the Beijing summer program (June 21-August 15).

EAP will provide program details to all UC campuses before May 10. UC EAP and Princeton have operated similar intensive Chinese training programs at Beijing Normal University for several summers prior to this year. The Princeton-in-Beijing program is very rigorous, condensing a full year of normal Chinese language instruction into one summer.

Marcum added, "Based on the progress of other Asian countries in the containment of SARS, we expect Beijing EAP programs to re-open this fall."

The Education Abroad Program continues to monitor local conditions that may impact its programs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. At this time, all other UC EAP programs in Asia remain open. Throughout its 40 years, student safety has remained a primary focus of EAP, and its staff has extensive experience dealing with health and safety concerns.

EAP has a wide-ranging network of overseas staff, including on-site UC study center directors, many of whom are UC faculty, host university staff and local EAP staff. EAP staff in California and abroad provides an ongoing source of information and assistance to students, while also monitoring events — local, national, and international — that may affect students abroad.

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Since the opening of the first EAP study center at the University of Bordeaux in 1962, more than 40,000 University of California students have studied in over 150 universities in nearly 50 countries. During the 2003-04 academic year, more than 4,000 UC students are expected to study on EAP at over 140 institutions in 34 countries.



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