Spring 2021 Study Abroad FAQs

Every study abroad program will be different based on the program type (provider, exchange, direct enroll), the program’s action plan for COVID-19 (capabilities and support), and location, among other factors. You must understand how specific aspects of planning for study abroad will apply to your program. Consequently, the University will ask you to submit the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition for your study abroad program. The petition will ask you to answer program-specific questions as well as your capability and plan to respond to specific situations.

University study abroad staff are finalizing the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition process and form. Staff will notify you when the petition is available.

The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will require you to review country and program information in order to answer specific questions related to COVID-19 and your program’s planning. It will then ask you to apply that information to your specific situation and create a plan for your response in certain situations. Petitions will be reviewed and returned for more information if responses are inadequate.

U.S. citizens can check for the latest updates on the Consular Services website.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine if a visa is required for their study abroad program and to apply for a visa. You should consult with the nearest consulate/embassy of the host nation if you have specific questions. More information on visas can be found on the Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange website.

No. The risk of infection will always be present, regardless of program location and/or their preparations. A vital aspect of studying abroad is exposure to foreign cultures through personal interactions. Any personal interaction will facilitate opportunities for transmission of COVID-19.

This is a personal decision. You should make an informed decision that considers your needs and personal resilience. We encourage you to consult with your physician and others you trust about your unique situation and the specific concerns related to COVID-19. You are also highly encouraged to schedule a consultation with the McKinley Travel Clinic.

This will vary by study abroad program and country. However, it is safe to assume you will be required to quarantine or self-isolate in every instance. The international insurance will pay for medical treatment or hospitalization for COVID-19 but will not pay for any costs associated with a quarantine period outside of a hospital. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will explore this topic in more detail.

The international insurance will only pay for testing if required by a physician upon the presentation of symptoms. It will not pay for routine tests that may be required to know/demonstrate your status. This includes suspected exposure without displaying symptoms. Some partners may provide free testing but that will vary; you should review this information carefully for your program.

This will vary by program and partially depend on the housing arrangements. While we expect that most programs can assist with finding adequate locations to quarantine if required, you will likely be responsible to pay additional housing and meal costs. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will explore this topic in more detail.

Quarantine requirements will remain fluid. Currently, quarantine is required upon arrival in the U.S. from most locations. Many international locations also require quarantine, but this will likely change as spring approaches. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will explore this topic in more detail.

Cancellation/suspension can happen before or after the program start date. Programs will be subject to constant evaluation throughout the fall, winter, and spring. The University reserves the right to cancel a program at any time based on significant concerns for the overall health, safety and well-being of students.

All applicants are encouraged to also enroll in Illinois courses for spring as a contingency in the event that the study abroad program is cancelled. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will explore this topic in more detail.

University sponsors are working with study abroad partners to determine reasonable timelines for financial commitments. This will vary by program and will be communicated to you before you commit to the program. If you withdraw after those financial deadlines, you will be charged costs that cannot be recouped from program partners. University sponsors will work with partners to limit those costs when possible.

University staff and study abroad program staff will work together to support you as much as possible. Programs will be expected to transition to virtual classes to maintain academic continuity. Many aspects will depend upon the nature of developments and the implementation of U.S. and host nation precautionary measures.

If programs are suspended, the University will not pay for return travel in Spring 2021. Under most circumstances, the international insurance will not pay for travel due to COVID-19. The sole exception is if you are hospitalized in a location that cannot provide adequate care and treatment based on your condition. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will explore this topic in more detail.

You cannot participate in an unapproved program while enrolled at the University. The University will not permit any waivers or exceptions. Participants choosing to study abroad in an unapproved program will have no University connection or support, including access to study abroad options through the University, international insurance, and pre-articulation of course credit. You will have to follow the guidelines for transfer credit.

You are encouraged to apply for spring study abroad and to start initial planning as soon as it is possible. While you should not make financial commitments now, you can plan for other aspects, such as visa requirements, travel restrictions, required precautionary measures, course planning, etc.

No. You should not make plans that would incur any financial obligation at this time. As we move into the fall, you may consider making arrangements but only if tickets or reservations are fully refundable. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition form will explore this topic in more detail.

The University will not offer financial reimbursement to study abroad students in spring 2021 for return travel, quarantine, accommodation, etc. The expectation is that you understand the potential for future disruption and will plan accordingly. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition will explore this topic in more detail.

The University will evaluate how programs responded in spring 2020, with an expectation that programs can transition to a remote/virtual experience quickly. While the University will seek to confirm this capability, we cannot guarantee that we will do so in spring 2021. Any decision to suspend study abroad and require students to return will be made on a program-by-program basis, considering developments in the host country and the United States.

This will vary by program location. This is a subject that will be explored in the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition process. It is important to note that in many countries, unlike the U.S., precautionary measures are routinely enforced by fines.

You should contact your academic advisor and/or the study abroad staff of the University program sponsor. Find your college study abroad office.