This page solely addresses questions related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and study abroad. For our general FAQ page about study abroad, see Study Abroad FAQs. For COVID-19-related information unrelated to study abroad, please see UVM’s website on COVID-19.  If you have questions related to international students and visiting scholars, please contact our students and scholar services teams as appropriate.

 

 

Below FAQs updated: 12:43pm EST January 31 2022

How does UVM make decisions about its study abroad programs?

  • Currently UVM is not permitting study abroad applications to destinations which have an International SOS “high medical risk” rating (regardless of COVID-19 conditions). This includes the following destinations: Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Turks & Caicos, Uganda, Vietnam.
  • UVM reviews the travel recommendations by the CDC (which includes by way of comparison the current state of COVID in the U.S.) and the Department of State, which includes guidance both related to COVID-19, and conditions absent COVID-19.
  • We also monitor International SOS (UVM’s emergency services and travel guidance provider) risk ratings, including the impact of COVID-19 on domestic operations (ease of movement, accessibility of businesses, availability of urgent medical care resources, and the overall security environment); the travel/security risk in that country regardless of COVID-19; and the quality of the medical system absent COVID-19. 
  • We also benchmark with other U.S. institutions, through national professional associations, and we participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council Academic Working Group.
  • In addition to consulting these resources, we also rely on our partners abroad to apprise us, our students, and their families of circumstances which will jeopardize student halth and safety.
  • UVM’s approval of study abroad does not indicate that no risks are present in a given location; instead, it indicates that risks which may be present are the types which likely can be mitigated by following the advice of local contacts, International SOS and U.S. government advisory sources.

What changes has UVM made to its study abroad programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

UVM recalled study abroad students in Spring 2020 and canceled study abroad for Summer 2020 and 2021, Fall 2020 and 2021, and Spring 2021. UVM allowed some study abroad to proceed in Spring 2022. Please see the Communications section below.

What might be different about my study abroad experience during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Students studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic will experience restrictions and regulations that can affect their experiences. It is important to note that many countries enact stricter measures to contain COVID-19 outbreaks than the US has done. Things that may be different from pre-pandemic study abroad experiences include:

  • Study abroad students are required to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, exemptions are not allowed
  • Proof of vaccination may be required to enter many public places
  • Periods of quarantine or proof of negative tests may be required when entering a country, which can make frequent personal travel difficult.
  • Some program providers may restrict your personal travel during the term in order to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks
  • Strict lockdowns may occur in times of high case counts, during which students may be confined to their housing and completing coursework online when possible
  • There may be curfews in place or restrictions on visiting certain types of business after certain hours
  • Some program providers may require frequent testing or daily health checks
  • Masks may be required more widely than in the US
  • There may be more enforcement of social distancing practices
  • Border policies can change quickly and may create difficult situations both before you arrive abroad and during your term abroad

Look into what the restrictions and policies are for your destination and program, and consider your own physical health, mental health and resilience, personal interests, finances, and goals for your experience as you are deciding whether this is a good time for you to study abroad.

What vaccination requirements does UVM have for study abroad students?

UVM requires that all study abroad students be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Exemptions to this policy are not permitted. Please see the relevant messages about this policy in the Communications section below.

How do I find out about my destination country’s COVID-19-related policies and entry requirements?

International SOS has detailed information on each country’s COVID-19 restrictions and policies, including requirements for proof of vaccinations, masking requirements, and entry restrictions and requirements; UVM’s membership number will be provided to you in the pre-departure process. Additionally, the US Embassy in your destination country will have comprehensive information on these policies and requirements on its website. Both of these sources are continually updated so make sure to check the information again close to when you are schedules to leave. You should also check in with your program/host university about any COVID-19-related rules or requirements that they might set for your study abroad experience.

The country my desired study abroad program is in currently has border restrictions that make it difficult for me to enter. What should I do?

We recommend reaching out to your program provider/host university and your study abroad advisor at UVM to talk with them about your specific situation and your host country’s border restrictions. They may have additional information that could help your decision-making process. If it is unclear whether these border restrictions will change in time for your program to begin, or if such a change seems unlikely, we would generally recommend having a back-up plan for your study abroad experience. This could include the possibility of postponing your study abroad to a future term, or choosing an alternative destination and program.

Could my study abroad program get canceled?

Yes, your program could get canceled if your host university or program provider cancels it. We recommend that if you are studying abroad with a third-party program provider, you contact them to find out more about how they have made/will make these cancellation decisions, and on what timeline.

Also, UVM reserves the right to cancel study abroad approval if (in UVM’s sole discretion) destination or global health/safety conditions merit cancelation. UVM could also rescind approval if border closures impede your ability to enter the country. We will communicate with you about any such decisions.

If my program gets canceled, will I get a refund?

Refund policies are specific to each program. As a part of the GoAbroad post-acceptance checklist, you will be required to research your program’s specific refund policy so that you are aware of it. Some programs offer a full or partial refund, and many programs have a refund policy that depends on the date of program cancelation.

My study abroad program was canceled. What should I do next?

In some cases, it may be possible to switch to a different program so that you can still go abroad this Spring, just to a different location. If you are interested in this possibility, please contact your study abroad advisor as soon as possible at studyabroad@uvm.edu, as this option is time sensitive.

If changing location is not possible or preferred, we would recommend you consider postponing your study abroad experience to a different term. Study abroad advisors in OIE are available to help you navigate this decision and process.

What if I have already booked my flight for international travel and my program gets canceled?

Consult your airline directly regarding refunds or rebooking.

If I apply to study abroad and the semester is canceled, will I still have to pay the study abroad fee?

Students who have applied to study abroad will not be charged the study abroad fee if their study abroad is canceled.

Can the US State Department help me while I am abroad?

A nearby embassy or consulate in your host country may be able to provide you with limited assistance and advice, depending on the situation. Any US citizen or permanent resident abroad should make sure they are registered with STEP to receive updates and information from the appropriate embassy/consulate. Though a rare event, when an official State Department evacuation occurs due to a natural disaster or a political or other crisis, those evacuated need to pay the costs of their own evacuation. See the State Department's website describing what they can and can't do in a crisis, and also the State Department's country-specific information for the COVID-19 pandemic for more information. 

What if I test positive for COVID-19 while abroad?

It is important that you learn ahead of time what is required of students who test positive for COVID-19 while abroad on your program, so that you are prepared for this possibility.

  • Generally, you should inform your program/host university and any close contacts that you have tested positive. Close contacts may be expected to isolate based on local regulations and/or program/host university policies.
  • You should contact International SOS, which can tell you what regulations your host country/community has regarding quarantining and testing, as well as assist you in finding medical care should you need it.
  • Your program/host university can also advise you on steps to take. Your program/host university/housing provider will likely have quarantine policies that you will need to follow.
  • Students are responsible for any additional costs incurred as a result of COVID-19-related program policies and local laws regarding quarantine/testing.

How do I find out about the entry requirements for the US once my study abroad program is over?

The CDC’s website has the most up-to-date information about COVID-19-related requirements for entry into the US for both US citizens and non-citizens. This information is updated regularly so make sure to check it often prior to your return.

I was planning to study abroad next semester but want to defer study abroad to another term. How do I do that?

OIE can help! Just contact us via studyabroad@uvm.edu and tell us what term you’d like to defer to, and we can get that started for you. You will also want to let your academic advisor know so you can plan next semester’s courses at UVM and determine what you should take while you are abroad in a future term.

I’m thinking about studying abroad sometime in the future but am worried about the news. Should I still be starting the process?

Yes! We encourage you to continue planning your study abroad experience. Students should think about multiple location options and multiple different terms for maximum flexibility as virus outbreaks still occur and some border restrictions are still in place. Our Getting Started page is the best place to learn how study abroad works at UVM, and to begin planning for your experience.