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VCU Education Abroad

Study abroad updates regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus )

Updated November 24, 2021

Student international travel, including study abroad, is currently operating with the following restrictions:

  • 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.
     
  • Student international travel in U.S. Department of State Level 1 and 2 countries is permitted. All students must coordinate university-sanctioned international travel plans through GEO and follow all GEO registration requirements and CDC guidance for international travel.
     
  • Student international travel in U.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.
     
  • Student international travelers must:
  • Students who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 should discuss their international travel plans with their health care provider.


“Student international travel” includes all university-sanctioned international travel engaged in by admitted undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree- or certificate-seeking students including credit- and non-credit-bearing experiences; this includes group and individual international programs and experiences facilitated by the Global Education Office (GEO),by other units, or undertaken independently by an individual student as a part of their education.  

Students may face unpredictable circumstances accessing medical care if they get sick or injured in their host country. Routine health care and emergency medical services may be impacted by COVID-19 at the destination.

VCU will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding student international travel and VCU’s programs abroad. In the meantime, students are encouraged to explore virtual global learning program options and visit the Navigating COVID-19 Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.

Review the latest guidelines for personal travel as well as university-sponsored travel. Students residing in VCU residence halls should contact University Student Health Services and refer to the Residential Life and Housing website for additional self-quarantine and isolation requirements.
 

Previous Updates

 

Updated August 26, 2021

The following restrictions apply to all education abroad program types including, but not limited to, faculty-led, exchanges, direct-enroll, third-party provider, independent study, internships, service-learning, and non-credit-bearing education abroad; this includes programs facilitated by the Global Education Office (GEO) as well as those administered by other units.

Per CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should refrain from all university-sponsored international travel, including, but not limited to, study abroad and international exchange programs.
Study abroad programs in the U.S. Department of State Level 1 and 2 countries are permitted. All students must coordinate international travel plans through GEO and follow all GEO registration requirements and CDC guidance for international travel.
Requests from students interested in participating in study abroad programs in U.S. Department of State Level 3 countries for whom education abroad is deemed essential to fulfilling academic degree requirements and/or whose participation is sponsored by nationally-competitive awards will be considered by petition to VCU's International Travel Advisory Committee. 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. Students should work with GEO to petition and register their travel if approved.
University-sponsored travel to U.S. Department of State Level 4 countries is not permitted.
Study abroad travelers must:

Follow CDC guidance for international travel and follow general public health considerations such as handwashing, cleaning/disinfection and respiratory etiquette.
Follow all airline and destination entry requirements, such as testing, vaccination, mask wearing and quarantine. Students should be aware that if they do not follow the destination’s requirements, they may be denied entry and required to return to the United States. Students should check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for destination-specific entry requirements.
Enroll in VCU’s international health insurance plan with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) to cover health care and emergency evacuation while abroad.

Students who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 should discuss their study abroad plans with their healthcare provider.

Students may face unpredictable circumstances accessing medical care if they get sick or injured in their host country. Routine healthcare and emergency medical services may be impacted by COVID-19 at the destination.

VCU will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding VCU’s programs abroad. In the meantime, students are encouraged to explore virtual global learning program options and visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience and learn important COVID-19 FAQs.


Updated July 6, 2021

All VCU study abroad programs remain cancelled through summer 2021. This applies to all education abroad program types including, but not limited to, faculty-led, exchanges, direct-enroll, third-party provider, independent study, internships, service-learning, and non-credit-bearing education abroad; this includes programs facilitated by the Global Education Office (GEO) as well as those administered by other units. The summer petition deadline is now passed.
Starting Aug. 15, 2021, study abroad programs will resume operation for the fall semester with the following restrictions:

  • Per CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should refrain from all university-sponsored international travel, including, but not limited to, study abroad and international exchange programs.
  • Study abroad programs in the U.S. Department of State Level 1 and 2 countries are permitted. All students must coordinate international travel plans through GEO and follow all GEO registration requirements and CDC guidance for international travel.
  • Requests from students interested in participating in study abroad programs in U.S. Department of State Level 3 countries for whom education abroad is deemed essential to fulfilling academic degree requirements and/or whose participation is sponsored by nationally-competitive awards will be considered by petition to VCU's International Travel Advisory Committee. 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. Students should work with GEO to petition and register their travel if approved.
  • University-sponsored travel to U.S. Department of State Level 4 countries is not permitted.
  • Study abroad travelers must:
  • Students who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 should discuss their study abroad plans with their healthcare provider.

Students may face unpredictable circumstances accessing medical care if they get sick or injured in their host country. Routine healthcare and emergency medical services may be impacted by COVID-19 at the destination.
VCU will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding VCU’s programs abroad. In the meantime, students are encouraged to explore virtual global learning program options and visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience and learn important COVID-19 FAQs.

Study abroad updates for fall 2021

Updated: May 14, 2021

All VCU study abroad programs remain cancelled through summer 2021. This applies to all education abroad program types including, but not limited to, faculty-led, exchanges, direct-enroll, third-party provider, independent study, internships, service-learning, and non-credit-bearing education abroad; this includes programs facilitated by the Global Education Office (GEO) as well as those administered by other units.

Starting August 15, 2021, study abroad programs will resume operation for the fall semester with the following restrictions:

Study abroad programs in the U.S. Department of State Level 1 and 2 countries are permitted. All students must coordinate international travel plans through GEO and follow all GEO registration requirements.

Requests from students interested in participating in study abroad programs in U.S. Department of State Level 3 countries and Level 4 countries (if the travel advisory Level 4 is due to COVID-19 only, and not due to other risk indicators*) for whom education abroad is deemed essential to fulfilling academic degree requirements and/or whose participation is sponsored by nationally-competitive awards will be considered by petition to an ad hoc committee coordinated by VCU’s Incident Coordination Team international subcommittee. Final approval will be given by the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. Students should work with GEO to petition and register their travel if approved.

VCU will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding VCU’s programs abroad. In the meantime, students are encouraged to explore virtual global learning program options and visit the for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.

*To determine which countries are Level 4 due to COVID-19 only, review the risk indicators and language within the advisory.
 

Study abroad programs cancelled through Summer 2021
Updated: February 8, 2021

In light of VCU’s current suspension of study abroad programs and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, VCU has decided to cancel all summer 2021 education abroad programs. This applies to all education abroad program types including, but not limited to, faculty-led, exchanges, direct-enroll, third party provider, independent study, internships, service-learning, and non-credit-bearing education abroad; this includes programs facilitated by GEO as well as those administered by other units.

Exceptions will be considered for students traveling to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries for whom education abroad is deemed essential to fulfilling academic degree requirements and/or whose participation is sponsored by nationally-competitive awards. Petitions for exceptions will be coordinated and reviewed by GEO. GEO will route the petition for exception to the student’s department chair, the dean, and the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. Students should work with GEO to petition for an exception and register their travel if approved.

VCU will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding VCU’s programs abroad. In the meantime, students are encouraged to explore virtual global learning program options and visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.
 

Study abroad updates
Updated: January 5, 2021

Due to the dynamic and uncertain nature of the ongoing global pandemic, VCU does not have a definite time frame for when study abroad will resume. Decisions are being made on a semesterly basis. At this time, study abroad has been cancelled through May 2021. Decisions on the status of summer 2021 will be made by mid-March and decisions on fall 2021 will be made by mid-June. Stay up to date with VCU's travel guidance at One Together. In the meantime, you can schedule an appointment with an Education Abroad Adviser to begin planning for when study abroad does resume or for a virtual program.
 

Study abroad programs cancelled through Summer 2021
Updated: February 8, 2021

In light of VCU’s current suspension of study abroad programs and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, VCU has decided to cancel all summer 2021 education abroad programs. This applies to all education abroad program types including, but not limited to, faculty-led, exchanges, direct-enroll, third party provider, independent study, internships, service-learning, and non-credit-bearing education abroad; this includes programs facilitated by GEO as well as those administered by other units.

Exceptions will be considered for students traveling to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries for whom education abroad is deemed essential to fulfilling academic degree requirements and/or whose participation is sponsored by nationally-competitive awards. Petitions for exceptions will be coordinated and reviewed by GEO. GEO will route the petition for exception to the student’s department chair, the dean, and the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. Students should work with GEO to petition for an exception and register their travel if approved.

VCU will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding VCU’s programs abroad. In the meantime, students are encouraged to explore virtual global learning program options and visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.
 

Study abroad updates
Updated: January 5, 2021

Due to the dynamic and uncertain nature of the ongoing global pandemic, VCU does not have a definite time frame for when study abroad will resume. Decisions are being made on a semesterly basis. At this time, study abroad has been cancelled through May 2021. Decisions on the status of summer 2021 will be made by mid-March and decisions on fall 2021 will be made by mid-June. Stay up to date with VCU's travel guidance at One Together. In the meantime, you can schedule an appointment with an Education Abroad Adviser to begin planning for when study abroad does resume or for a virtual program.
 

Study abroad programs cancelled through May 2021
Updated: September 23, 2020

Due to the uncertainty of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia Commonwealth University has decided to cancel all study abroad programs through May 2021. This includes spring 2021 and spring break 2021 programs and applies to all study abroad types including, but not limited to, exchanges, direct-enroll, third party provider programs, and independent study.

This recommendation is made in light of VCU’s current suspension of study abroad programs and the recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which recommends that institutions of higher education consider postponing or canceling upcoming student international travel programs due to the possibility of students facing unpredictable circumstances, such as travel restrictions, challenges returning home, and challenges accessing health care while abroad.

We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding summer 2021 programs. In the meantime, students are encouraged to visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.
 

Cancellation of Winter Break 2020 Study Abroad Programs
Updated: Friday, July 24, 2020

Due to the continued risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, VCU has made the difficult decision to cancel all study abroad programs for Winter Break 2021. This decision was also made in light of the U.S. Department of State's current Level 4 (Do Not Travel) global health advisory level. This cancellation applies to all program types (exchange, direct enroll, provider programs) for the Winter Break 2021 term. 

Keep on Studying Abroad

During this time of disruption, study abroad remains a valuable part of any student's educational experience. Even as we navigate COVID-19, there are steps that students can take to maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience. The new Keep on Studying Abroad website offers tips for students to time their study abroad in light of COVID-19, connect virtually with a study abroad adviser, explore funding options and consider virtual internships and online classes.


Cancellation of Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 Study Abroad Programs
Updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Due to the continued risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, VCU has made the difficult decision to cancel all study abroad programs for summer 2020 and fall 2020. This decision was also made in light of the U.S. Department of State's current Level 4 (Do Not Travel) global health advisory level. VCU has taken the proactive measure to cancel programs now to provide students with time to identify housing options and academic plans at VCU for the fall semester. This cancellation applies to all program types (exchange, direct enroll, provider programs) for the summer 2020 and fall 2020 terms. The Global Education Office will provide students with refunds for any application fees paid to VCU, which may include the $150 GEO fee. These refunds will be issued to your original form of payment and will be available in the next 30 days.

On March 19, 2020 the US State Department has raised the Global Health Advisory to a level 4 (Do Not Travel) and is urging U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States to work with their airlines immediately to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.   
This State Department advisory also states that "U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period", and that "on March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

VCU students should participate in Rams Abroad 101 below as your first step to study abroad.

 


Get Started

Questions? Don't hesitate to contact us via phone (804-827-7882) or email (abroad@vcu.edu) to learn more about studying abroad or to set up an appointment.

Faculty: Refer a student to the Education Abroad office!


Note: If you have difficulty accessing any portion of the website, application or materials, please call 804-827-7882 or email abroad@vcu.edu for assistance.