Global Link In Flux

How does UPrep decide to cancel a trip?

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Photo: Aidan Lee

Over the past months, international travel has been greatly hindered by both international conflict and the spread of the coronavirus.

Global Link Nepal was planning to begin their travels on Jan. 9, after months of planning by University Prep’s Global Programs Office, members of the trip and partners located in Nepal. The destruction of Ukraine international airline flight 752, however, led to the cancellation of the trip

The night before Global Link Nepal was planned to depart, the news broke that Iran had shot down a Ukrainian airliner departing from Tehran international airport around 6:10 am local time, scheduled to land in Kiev, Ukraine at aproximately 8:00 am local time.

Occurring less than 24 hours before the scheduled departure, people associated with the class had to quickly decide whether or not to allow the trip to depart. 

“We just didn’t have any time to get more information,” sophomore Andrew Bell said. “We were supposed to fly over Iran, and as a non-US airline, Emirates was going to still fly over Iran.”

For the seniors signed up for the Nepal trip, this was their last chance to go on a Global Link trip.

“To say it lightly, it was a really big bummer,” senior Rachel Selby said. “I was a little bit mad, but, in a situation like that, there’s really nothing to do.”

The Nepal trip isn’t the first Global Link trip to be canceled. There have been a handful of trips aborted due to safety reasons.

 “My first year, we had to cancel the Nepal trip due to the earthquake,” Director of Global Programs Brian Gonzales said. “When we had Samoa, for example, there was a tsunami in Samoa that made the trip impossible for us to travel.”

Methodology: Poll results came from 14 randomly selected students across all four grades.

Deciding whether or not to cancel a trip is a hard process for all involved. Before a trip, there have already been serious amounts of planning from the Global Programs Office, students, staff, family and the partner schools which students eventually travel to.

There were some concerns from parents and administration about that which is understandable and a fair concern, and when on a trip like that, you really can’t leave someone behind. ”

— Sophomore Andrew Bell

“We follow a protocol that uses about four or five different markers along the way. What we look for are essentially green lights and red lights,” Gonzales said. 

These markers involve looking at reports from the United States Department of State, the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, the airlines used for travel and the partner schools confirming that travel to their location is still safe.

“Then after that, it is a lot of individual decision making for everybody on the trip,” Gonzales said. “Everybody has the right to make a decision if they feel comfortable to get on the plane or not.”

Without a true way of choosing a truly correct answer, the decision to cancel a trip will always be a hard one to make.

“I don’t think there was anything anyone really could have done differently. Brian had no way of predicting this,” Bell said. “I think UPrep’s decision makes sense as a school.”

Further Fear of Coronavirus

Alongside the cancellation of Global Link Nepal, Global Link Taiwan was also canceled, due to the danger that Coronavirus posed for the safety of both University Prep students and the host families alike. Due to the possibility of students being required to miss large periods of school, it was deemed safest to cancel the trip.

Junior George Hujoel was one of the few students signed up to participate on the trip, which would grant students a fine arts credit upon completion.

“I felt kinda disappointed because I was really looking forward to it,” Hujoel said. “It was going to be really fun, I get to practice my Chinese, I’m going to see a whole different culture, but then it got canceled.”

With the danger that Coronavirus poses to international travel, Global Link Taiwan was canceled in order to benefit the students involved.

“Right now, traveling is such a dynamic and fluid situation with coronavirus,” Director of Global Programs Brian Gonzales said. “We want global link to be an enhancement of the UPrep experience. We don’t want it to derail the UPrep experience.”

UPrep had also been planned to host several exchange students from Kobe, Japan. The partner school decided themselves to cancel the travel of students for the same reasons which lead to the cancellation of Global Link Taiwan.