The Glendale Community College Study Abroad program has suspended its summer trip to the Indonesian island of Bali, citing concerns for students’ safety and a travel advisory declared by the U.S. Department of State.
A terrorist explosion set off by a suicide bomber on Oct. 12 left 187 people dead – including three Americans – and dozens injured. The explosion also harmed Bali’s economy, given that most of that country’s revenue comes from tourism.
The decision to cancel the trip was made in November, according to Study Abroad program coordinator Jose Mercade.
“When the study abroad committee discussed the situation regarding Indonesia, it was decided to cancel the meeting,” he said.
According to the State Department, Indonesia is experiencing a growing terrorist threat. Travelers who travel and reside in the country have been advised to exercise extreme caution.
Given that a security warning has been imposed inc that area of the world, under legal advice, GCC decided to cancel the trip due to the legal ramifications that would occur if something were to happen during the trip.
Mercade added that the safety of the students is the No. 1 priority. Students who paid for their trip received a full refund, and there are no plans to substitute another country for the Bali trip, Mercade added. Previously, Fiji had been considered as an alternative, but “there were no proposals received from any [tourism] company,”
Mercade said. “The program was never really approved to begin with. We simply sent out requests for proposals from the companies that are on the college’s approved list, and everyone declined.”
Mercade said, the time in which the proposals were sent was a factor in each company’s decision not to accept applications.
“All study abroad programs get going 18 months to a year before the fact,” said Mercade.
Mercade said there has been a decrease in applications, but at the same time, there remains an increased interest in the program by the number of students that have visited his office and inquired about the program.
Enrollment for the summer has been lower than usual for all countries.
“I suspect that students and their parents are discussing safety issues,” said Mercade.
He also said parents are becoming more aware of world events and may be wary about letting their children go abroad.
Low enrollment would put the program in jeopardy. However, Mercade remains optimistic about future trips. He expects more students will apply.
As of March 27, the date of the last study abroad committee meeting, one student had applied for the England trip; four students (with a fifth pending) had applied for the Ireland trip, and two students had applied for the Salzburg, Austria trip. GCC will travel to these countries in the summer.
Students must request a refund by the contractual refund dates: April 22 for Ireland, April 23 for England and April 24 for Austria.