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COVID-19 has created unprecedented circumstances for all of us. Despite the uncertainties we face, studying abroad remains a valuable part of any student's educational experience.
During this time when much is still unknown, there are steps that you can take to maintain momentum in planning your study abroad experience.
We do not know what the future will hold. But we know it will come. And when it does you’ll want your study abroad plans to still be on track.
We are #OneVCU. And we are here to help. Click here to stay up to date with COVID related study abroad decisions.
Student international travel inU.S. Department of State Level 3 and 4 countries is prohibited, but an exception will be considered by petition to VCU’s International Travel Advisory Committee (ITAC). For travel to Level 3 countries (due to COVID-19 only), a final decision will be made by ITAC. For travel to Level 3 countries due to risk indicators other than COVID-19, and travel to Level 4 countries, a final decision will be made by the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System and communicated by GEO. Students should work with GEO to petition and register their travel is approved.
Curious to know more about CISI benefits regarding COVID-19 like coverage for testing, support, illness, risk, evacuation, and more? Read answers to frequently asked CISI COVID-19 questions.
Yes, per CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should refrain from all university-sanctioned international travel, including, but not limited to, study abroad and international exchange programs.
Various arrival and departure travel health requirements including testing, quarantining, proof of vaccination, and more;
Host institution coursework modalities and academic contingencies (i.e. plans to move from in-person to remote learning if/when necessary to do so);
Local and/or institutional restrictions and public health rules on distancing, masking, testing, and more;
Travel restrictions within host country and to other countries
Different financial commitment and reimbursement policies
VCU's Global Education Office and International Travel Advisory Committee (ITAC) monitor resources such as U.S. Department of State travel advisories and CDC travel health notices and will contact study abroad participants using their VCU email addresses if and when there are changes in travel risk for destinations abroad that will impact the ability to offer or continue programs in those countries;
Please refer to the FAQs on the ITAC page for more information on changes in U.S. Department of State travel advisories and university sponsored travel restrictions
Students are strongly encouraged to self-enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and to regularly monitor messages from their destination's US embassies before and during international travel. For more safe travel information, please visit the Health & Safety section of our website.
Review your program’s refund/cancellation policies very closely so that you are aware of dates, deadlines, your responsibilities, and protocols for program cancellation;
Carefully monitor your destination’s travel advisory levels with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
Consider investing in Cancel For Any Reason or Interrupt For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance coverage. We encourage you to research options through CISI’s partnership with Travel Insured International. This is not a VCU requirement or sponsored policy but is available to you if you’re interested in additional coverage for an (sometimes significant) additional cost;
Discuss creating a financial plan with your Education Abroad Adviser.
As soon as you know you want to study abroad, we recommend that you begin the passport application or renewal process. Ideally this will be about six months prior to departure to allow time for your application to be processed and for you to apply for a visa if needed. Learn more about passport and visa processes at this website. As of late 2021, the U.S. Department of State indicates that the average processing time for new passport applications is currently 18 weeks (12 weeks for expedited service).
This is program dependent and each program will have a decision date posted. Please check your program site for details.
Yes, prior to the program decision date, you can defer to a future term. However, after the program decision date, you cannot defer and you will be held responsible for the following withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy. Please see the previous question about withdrawals to understand what will occur if you defer after the program decision date.
No, 100% of the program fee will be charged for a formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad.
Yes! Part of study abroad is engaging in person with your classmates and host community. However, there will be contingency plans for class to pivot online should the need arise and some coursework may be assigned to occur virtually before, during, or after the program’s travel dates.
Group flights may be required of participants in faculty-led programs and will be communicated by the faculty program leader and VCU Global Education Office (GEO) staff. If group flights are not required for your program, we strongly advise students to wait until GEO staff have given the green light to proceed with purchasing airfare. This will happen once VCU has enough students committed to participate in the program. Discuss your flight preferences with your faculty program director, and if/when you purchase your tickets, be sure to research the specific cancellation or rebooking policies and consider purchasing flight insurance at the time of booking. Booking with a more flexible airline or a flexible type of ticket may cost more but it can also provide peace of mind. VCU is not able to offer assistance with reimbursing flight costs.
Yes! Whether it’s picking out multiple programs that work for you, having a plan for how you would spend your time stateside in case you don’t end up going abroad, or eyeing multiple flight options, we encourage students to be flexible and open to change. International travel takes a lot of planning and it’s common for last minute changes, especially in the era of COVID-19. If you’re committed to global learning, VCU will do everything we can to help you gain that experience. Be sure to check out virtual program options (which include virtual internships) as a backup option.
Yes, per CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should refrain from all university-sanctioned international travel, including, but not limited to, study abroad and international exchange programs. We urge travelers to consider booster shots with the guidance of their doctors in order to show proof of vaccination throughout the full length of their programs abroad. Proof of vaccination may be required by the airline, host country, and/or host institution at any time.
All students who participate in education abroad must be fully vaccinated; therefore, VCU will not implement daily health surveys or formal symptom monitoring. Surveillance testing will not be implemented unless required by the host institution/organization or by the host destination. Students are expected to monitor their own health and report any symptoms or known exposure of COVID-19 to the faculty program leader in a timely manner.
VCU will follow the requirements of the host country in regards to contact tracing and other public health requirements related to the global pandemic. Requirements may vary depending on the destination country.
If a student tests positive, the VCU faculty program leader will coordinate with VCU/GEO, CISI insurance, and on-site partners to arrange for quarantine or isolation accommodations if it is deemed medically necessary by a recognized authority that you isolate. VCU’s policy with CISI includes a $5,000 limit for trip delay coverage which can be used for accommodations, meals, and local transportation expenses (with receipts) for a medically necessary quarantine or isolation which must be declared by a physician or other recognized authority in order to be triggered.
Students who have been exposed to someone who tests positive should contact a physician at a local health provider to determine next steps. VCU’s policy with CISI includes a $5,000 limit for trip delay coverage which can be used for accommodations, meals, and local transportation expenses (with receipts) for a medically necessary quarantine or isolation which must be declared by a physician or other recognized authority in order to be triggered.
Students should bring their own masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies. Supplies may be obtained from VCU Facilities Management prior to departure:
Yes, if there is a medical need (i.e. symptoms present or exposure), testing will be available through a local medical provider and will be covered through the University’s insurance policy with CISI in which you will be enrolled through GEO.
Please check the CDC travel guidelines for the most up to date re-entry guidelines for when it is time for you to return to the U.S.
Take your first step to studying abroad. Completing the Rams Abroad 101 video series is your first step in the study abroad process. Here, you will find tips for getting started, choosing a program, finding funding, and more.
We’re still here to help. After you have completed Rams Abroad 101, connect with a study abroad adviser, to further discuss your options. Check out this encouraging video from our study abroad advisers.
|Where would you like to go?|
|Australia, New Zealand and Oceania||Europe (except UK, Ireland & France)|
|France and French-speaking locations||Latin America & Caribbean|
|Middle East||Multi-country programs|
|UK and Ireland||Russia|
|Schedule a virtual advising appointment|
Andrew Connelly [View Image]The cost of studying abroad varies depending on the program. Work with your Education Abroad adviser to find a program that fits your financial needs and budget. There are many affordable study abroad programs and your federal financial aid, institutional scholarships and more can be applied to help you fund your experience abroad.
Right now, you can start exploring funding options, like scholarships and grants that are available for study abroad. Make note of deadlines and start developing any necessary essays. Here are some resources to get you started.
Sservice Learning [View Image]
When planning your study abroad, you will need to gather some information. Now is the perfect time to start exploring your options!
Virtual internships and classes can provide you with a unique and cost effective opportunity to explore global programs from the comfort of your home. While there is no substitute for an in-country experience, virtual programs offer a way to explore another culture, get specific internship experience, take classes not offered at VCU and gain invaluable intercultural, professional and academic skills. You can add a virtual internship or course to what you're already planning to take at VCU.