Education Abroad COVID-19 FAQs
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together, Education Abroad remains steadfast in our mission of providing CU Boulder students with access to an extensive portfolio of high-impact programs to promote academic, personal, and professional growth in a safe environment. We are continuing to provide opportunities for CU Boulder students to have an international experience and become global leaders in a culturally diverse world. We are committed to providing students, their families, and our partners with information and transparency as we continue to navigate the challenges that the pandemic has posed on international and domestic travel. This page is updated regularly to provide information related to how Education Abroad is responding to the pandemic and what students can expect in preparing for an Education Abroad experience. Students should also monitor their CU Boulder email address for important updates and guidance.
Decision MakingUsing the assessment criteria laid out in the COVID-19 Conditions Criteria for Education Abroad, in addition to our established health and safety protocols, Education Abroad (EA) has received campus approval to run Education Abroad programs beginning in Spring 2021 and through Summer 2023. EA will continue to work closely with the campus to evaluate future programs. We are closely monitoring developments related to new COVID variants and will keep students updated as we approach their program start dates.
We remain uncertain of the following locations in 2022: Cambodia, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, New Zealand, Samoa, and Vietnam. We are still evaluating the COVID-19 conditions in each of these locations as they do not currently meet our required criteria due to entry restrictions and/or border closures. With the exception of China, Indonesia, and New Zealand (which have announced their border closures will remain in place for an extended period of time), EA is accepting applications for 2022 programs in the aforementioned locations, although students are encouraged to have a back-up program location in mind.
The timeline for students to pay any program or housing deposits (including independent housing leases), visa fees, flights, etc. will differ based on the student's program and host country. Students should review the information provided by their study abroad program and/or Education Abroad program manager regarding visa timelines and purchasing airfare. When booking flights, students are strongly encouraged to purchase a ticket with an airline that has flexible cancellation and change policies.
Per the CU Boulder Education Abroad Participant Contract, under no circumstances will CU Boulder Education Abroad be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred in preparing for the program, such as, but not limited to, advance purchase airfare, equipment, passport fees, visa fees, and medical expenses.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information related to COVID-19 testing for individuals traveling during the pandemic. EA advises all students to follow the CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19 testing and recommends that students attempt to limit their risk of exposure in the weeks leading up to their departure.
Many countries have implemented additional entry requirements to reduce the risk of travelers entering the country with COVID-19. This often includes requiring travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in the host country. EA and/or students' programs will provide further information related to entry and testing requirements prior to the program start date, but this information is subject to change. The best places to find information on COVID-19 testing requirements in a specific country include the host country's Ministry of Health and government websites, U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas, CDC Travel Health Notices, and the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories. The best places to find information on COVID-19 testing requirements in specific U.S. locations include the CDC Covid-19 page, the CDC United States Covid Data Tracker, and state and local health department websites.
Consult your local public health website for a list of COVID-19 test sites near you. For testing in Boulder County, review the Boulder County COVID-19 Testing webpage. Pay attention to the type of test required by your host country, as applicable (many countries specifically require a PCR test for entry).
EA recommends students carefully consider purchasing Cancel/Interrupt for Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance after they have been accepted into an Education Abroad Program. Those who want to enroll in CFAR/IFAR insurance need to do so within 21 days of receiving a bill for a coverable expense. Typically, the earliest Ed Abroad coverable expense will be the program deposit, which is charged by EA after students commit to their program by signing their Participant Contract. While not a requirement, CFAR/IFAR policies can add extra insurance for financial commitments and give students a little more flexibility in their personal decision timelines. One example of this policy is Travel Insured.
Students participating in international Global Seminar programs will receive further information related to their program and trip cancellation insurance.
EA students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of their program.
In addition, students must complete several tasks in their application checklist related to COVID-19 to ensure they are knowledgeable of the additional logistics, policies, and risks related to studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. These tasks include reading the Accepted Student Guide, which provides specific information related to the student experience and expectation setting for studying abroad during the pandemic, signing a waiver acknowledging the potential disruptions that could be caused by COVID, and signing an Acknowledgement of COVID-19 Risk.
Students will also receive further information from their program related to COVID-19 preparations for their specific experience in the months leading up to their departure, and should review this information carefully.
Students should anticipate that their experience abroad may be different than they originally imagined due to ongoing impacts from COVID-19. Students should keep in mind the following as they set expectations for a term abroad:
- Independent Travel: independent travel outside of the city and/or country you are studying in could be limited. Country borders could close, quarantine measures could be in place, and there may be sudden changes to countries' entry and exit requirements. Consult your program's guidance before making any plans for travel outside your host country.
- Quarantine: your experience may include a quarantine of up to 2-weeks if required by your host country's entry requirements, or in the event that you or another student (or faculty/staff) test positive for COVID-19.
- Academic Experience: many programs and universities have implemented hybrid online/in-person course formats. Be familiar and comfortable with both formats. There may be sudden changes to the academic format of your program and additional rules/restrictions may be put in place within the classroom spaces based on local conditions.
- Program Excursions and Activities: if your program typically offers excursions or activities, know that these could be altered or canceled while you are on-site to adjust to current health and government recommendations.
Further information related to what students can expect during their program abroad can be found in the Accepted Student Guide and in materials provided directly by their program.
Health and Safety Matters
EA requires students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of their program and maintains all vaccine mandate policy decisions put forth by the University of Colorado. This requirement applies to all international and domestic programs. Note that different countries have different definitions for being fully vaccinated, so make sure you are researching your host country's requirements.
Spring 2022 students were strongly recommended that they receive a booster prior to departure, as it is not guaranteed that they will be able to obtain a booster while abroad. Summer 2022 students onwards will be required to receive a booster prior to departure.
COVID-19 vaccination is increasingly required globally to participate in everyday activities and helps minimize the risk of disruption for your international travel plans. Ways that vaccination status could impact the Ed Abroad experience include the following:
- Reduced risk for contracting COVID-19
- Local governments may decide travelers must be vaccinated in order to enter the country (often with little warning)
- Certain countries are exempting vaccinated individuals from mandatory quarantines
- Vaccination may be required by local governments to engage in social activities such as going to the movies, the theater, museums, restaurants, nightclubs, concerts, sporting events, gyms, or to utilize public transportation.
- Host institutions or program vaccination mandates are common
- Airline travel requirements may shift and require proof of vaccination to travel
- Vaccinated individuals will likely have increased ability for independent travel both during and after their program
- More lenient guidelines from the CDC upon return from international travel
- Unvaccinated individuals generally are required to test much more frequently (in some cases, daily), the cost of which is at the student's expense
Students should make a digital and second physical copy of their vaccination card and keep a copy with them at all times.
This will depend on your program, current location, and host country requirements. Isolate, continue to monitor your health, follow local country (or state and county) COVID-19 protocols, and reach out to your program and EA for further guidance.
If you test positive shortly before your program ends, it may delay your return to the U.S. (see advice above about booking flexible flights).
Refer to the current CDC guidance around international travel.
Should EA make the difficult decision to suspend any program prior to departure, students will have three options:
- Defer their participation to a future term
- Switch their application to another available program that fits their academic and personal interests
- Withdraw their application.
EA is committed to providing students with study abroad opportunities and will work with each student to find a program that promotes academic, personal, and professional growth in a safe environment, whether it is for their initially intended term or a future term.
EA will refund recoverable costs paid directly to CU Boulder should a program be suspended.
EA understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions will be made between a student and their family. Upon signing the Participant Contract in the MyCUAbroad account post-acceptance, students become responsible for program fees and their program's withdrawal policy as outlined on the program cost pages. Students should review this information carefully before signing their contracts, and reach out to their program managers if they have any questions or concerns.
Withdrawal schedules can vary significantly across programs. Students looking for more flexibility in their decision making timelines should connect with EA about what program options that may work best for them.
EA will directly contact students with updates via email. Education Abroad reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations. All members of the CU Boulder community can find updates related to COVID-19 on this page, and on the CU’s COVID-19 Updates & Resources webpage.
Yes! EA offers a few virtual and domestic program options that provide a global curriculum and an opportunity to internationalize students' experiences.
EA is open for advising! See our Contact Us page for information on how to connect with an advisor. For questions related to a specific study abroad program or student situation, contact the respective Education Abroad Program Manager.