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COVID-19 Information on Education Abroad

UPDATED: 9/9/2020
The world still awaits! As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together, Education Abroad is here to support students and remains steadfast in our mission of providing CU Boulder students with access to an extensive portfolio of high impact programs abroad to promote academic, personal, and professional growth in a safe environment. 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 travel. We are continuing to develop innovative ways in which CU Boulder students can have an international experience and become global leaders in a culturally diverse world. 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.  
How does CU Boulder make decisions about its Education Abroad programs? 
CU Boulder takes guidance from a number of resources including: governmental agencies (U.S. Department of State and Center for Disease Control), the World Health Organization, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), CU’s international security provider, professional health and security organizations, assessments by university partners abroad, U.S. Embassy country COVID-19 information, and more.  
In making decisions about the impact of COVID-19 on Education Abroad programs, countries must meet the following criteria:  
  • Department of State Country-Specific Advisory Level 3 or lower 
  • Borders open to students 
  • Visa available if required for entry        
  • US Embassy is open 
  • Insurers will cover travel to selected country   
Education Abroad is also assessing COVID-19 standards on each program, and the program's COVID-19 measures must meet or exceed CU's COVID-19 policy. This includes assessing areas such as:  
  • On-site support 
  • Student accommodations 
  • Contingency protocols 
  • Program planning around food safety, sanitation (e.g. cleaning of shared spaces) and access to PPE 
  • Available support and resources during a possible quarantine 
  • Basic services available (e.g. groceries, internet, transportation) 
  • Social distancing practices within the academic setting 
Neither the list of country criteria nor program assessment areas is exhaustive. Education Abroad will utilize these metrics and guidance from the above-mentioned resources to make programing decisions. Education Abroad reserves the right to suspend any program as deemed necessary. The Education Abroad policy on the suspension of programs abroad can be found here. 
When will Education abroad make a decision about whether Spring 2021 programs will run? 
Education Abroad is working diligently to assist students applying and preparing for the Spring 2021 semester. We invite students to continue to apply for Spring 2021 programs through our posted deadline datesUse our program search and the "Spring 2021 available programs" filter (under "Additional Search Options") to see which programs are offered for this spring. 
Based on the criteria outlined above, Education Abroad has already made the difficult decision to suspend some programs for the Spring 2021 semester. The impetus for these program suspension decisions early on is to guide students to programs and locations that we believe, based on the criteria we have developed, will run for the Spring term.  
Education Abroad will continue to do all we can to facilitate study abroad opportunities for CU Boulder students this spring semester, and for these reasons we do not have a preset go/no-go’ date. We will keep evaluating our programs based on the above-mentioned criteriaand will make additional suspensions if necessary (for example, to meet visa processing deadlines if a consulate is closed), but these timelines will vary. Bookmark this page to check back here anytime, or contact us with any questions. 
What are my options if my Spring 2021 program has been suspended or if I decide not to participate in the program for which I was accepted?     
Should Education Abroad make the difficult decision to suspend any program prior to departure, students will have three options:  
  1. Defer their participation to a future term, 
  1. Switch their application to another spring program that fits their academic and personal interests, 
  1. Withdraw their Ed Abroad application. 
Education Abroad is committed to providing students with study abroad opportunities and will work with each student to find a program that promote academic, personal, and professional growth in a safe environment, whether it is for the spring 2021 or a future term. 
What should I expect when studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic?  
Students should anticipate that their experience abroad could be different than they may have originally imagined. 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 abroad in may be limited. Country borders may be closed, quarantine measures may remain in place, and there may be sudden changes to countries' entry and exit requirements. Do not make plans for travel outside of your host country. 
  • Quarantine: your semester abroad may include a 2-week quarantine if required by your host country, or in the event that you or another student (or faculty/staff) are exposed to COVID-19. 
  • Academic Experience: many programs and universities are implementing a hybrid online/in-person format for the upcoming semester. 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. 
  • Program Excursions and Activities: if your program typically offers excursions or activities, these may be more limited than in previous years. Excursions may be altered or canceled while you are on-site to adjust to current health and government recommendations.  
Should I register for Spring 2021 CU Boulder classes while also preparing for my Spring 2021 program? 
Education Abroad recommends that students register for CU Boulder Spring 2021 courses as a back-up should there be changes to their Spring 2021 Education Abroad plans. Registration for CU Boulder Spring 2021 courses begins on November 9th, 2020. Students should develop a back-up plan with their academic adviser to ensure that they are staying on track with their degree requirements. 
I was accepted for a Spring 2021 Education Abroad program. When do I need to sign my participant contract to commit to the program?
For most programs, the contract is typically due within 1-2 weeks of acceptance. However, Education Abroad understands that there is additional uncertainty for the Spring 2021 semester due to the pandemic. You are welcome to wait to commit to the program until you hear from your Education Abroad program manager. Program managers will be following up with students later this fall. We encourage students to discuss any concerns and questions they have regarding their program with their Education Abroad program manager. 
Can I move forward with booking flights and making other travel plans for my Spring 2021 Education Abroad program?  
Students should not make any personal travel plans or pay any program or housing deposits (including independent housing leases), visa fees, flights, etc. until notified to do so by Education Abroad and their study abroad provider or host university 
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. 
Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance and/or refundable airfare? 
Education Abroad recommends that students wait to purchase airfare until notified to do so by Education Abroad and their study abroad provider or host university. Students should consider purchasing “Any Reason” trip cancellation insurance to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellation. It is important to read the fine print of these policies to see what exclusions might apply. Many policies, for instance do not include coverage for pandemics or global health threats.  Education Abroad assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties.
What should I do about my Boulder housing for the Spring 2021 semester?   
Education Abroad recommends talking to your Education Abroad program manager if you are concerned about how uncertainty regarding the Spring 2021 semester may affect your Boulder housing plans for the Spring 2021 semester.  
Should I stay enrolled in my current health insurance policy while I am abroad?  
Education Abroad recommends that you maintain Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance at all times (even during your time out of the country). You should contact your insurance provider with any questions about your specific policy. See the Education Abroad Handbook for more information. 
What would happen if I withdraw from a future Education Abroad program out of concern for COVID-19? 
CU Boulder understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions may be made between a student and their family. If a student chooses to withdraw from a future Education Abroad program, the student will be subject to the terms of the applicable Education Abroad Withdrawal Policy as outlined on program cost pages. For Spring 2021 programs, we have amended our Withdrawal Policy and the Education Abroad program deposit is refundable through December 1st should a student decide not to participate on the program or if the program is suspended. Education Abroad will only be able to refund recoverable costs paid directly to CU Boulder should a program be suspended. 
Can I plan on studying abroad for a future term (Summer 2021 and beyond)?   
Yes, absolutely! While the pandemic is unpredictable, at this time study abroad programs for Summer 2021 and beyond are proceeding as planned. We will continue to update this page should any program changes be necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
What decisions has CU Boulder made in response to COVID-19 for past terms?    
Summer, Fall, and Winter 2020 programsAll Summer, Fall and Winter 2020 on-site programs were suspended prior to students’ departure, due to health and safety concerns, border closings, travel restrictions and CU Boulder’s suspension of all university-funded travel, foreign or domestic, in March 2020.  Education Abroad administered online Summer and Fall courses in lieu of an on-site option. 
Spring 2020: Earlier this year, CU Boulder suspended all Education Abroad programs for Spring 2020 due to the CDC issuance of Global Warning Level 3 and the U.S. Department of State issuance of a Global Health Advisory Level 4. 
How can I discuss my study abroad plans with Education Abroad?  
Education Abroad is operating remotely for the fall semesterWe are eager to connect with youContact our office through email, live chat, and remote advising (Monday-Friday, from 9:00-4:30). 
Who will Education Abroad contact with updates?  
CU Boulder Education Abroad contacts students directly with updates, and also informs the student's designated emergency contacts when a decision is made to suspend a program should the student already be abroad. We ask students to share all updates with their emergency contacts. Education Abroad updates this website on a regular basis. All members of the CU Boulder community can also find updates at CU’s COVID-19 Updates & Resources. 
How will I receive updates related to Education Abroad programs?  
Education Abroad will directly contact students with updates via email. Ed 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. 
Who can I contact with further questions related to Education Abroad and COVID-19?
For questions related to a specific study abroad program or student, contact Education Abroad. For questions related to the campus response to COVID-19, please see the CU’s COVID-19 Updates & Resources webpage which includes a link to submit questions.