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Studying Abroad During the Pandemic

Global Temple Conference

Temple University remains committed to providing students with meaningful global learning opportunities amidst the pandemic. We continue to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 worldwide and to keep students, their families, and our partners informed. Decisions about supporting travel are made in collaboration with University leadership and International Risk Management and are based on the local conditions in the host country as it relates to COVID-19, healthcare accessibility, and other safety concerns, as well as the student support protocols of the program. Our evaluation is informed by advisories from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control, International SOS, and health authorities in the host country.

Following the onset of the pandemic, Temple University Rome and Temple University, Japan Campus began welcoming study abroad students back to campus in spring 2021, as did several of our exchange and external program partners. While studying abroad during a pandemic may look different than past student experiences, it remains a unique and valuable experience to learn firsthand how host countries address current-day challenges. 

As has always been true of study abroad, your ability to have a safe and successful experience depends as much on your own preparedness and actions as it does on your program’s support. If you are planning to study abroad at Temple Rome, Temple Japan or Temple in Spain, please review program-specific information at the links below. We will share similar information with students studying on Education Abroad summer programs, while students studying on an exchange or external programs should be sure to familiarize themselves with their program’s protocols.

Education Abroad and Overseas Campuses is here to support you from your initial interest through preparation. We provide general information on this page about what to expect from studying abroad during COVID-19. Please contact us if you have any questions.

COVID-19 in your destination

The trajectory of COVID-19 varies widely from region to region. Being a prepared traveler includes researching the COVID-19 trends in your destination, such as case numbers, rate of vaccination, impact on the healthcare system, and public response to the pandemic. International Risk Management has a wealth of information on pre-travel considerations. We also recommend reviewing host government websites as they also can be a helpful tool.

As a visitor in your host country, you should understand the measures your host community has taken to combat the spread of COVID-19 and comply with any local rules related to social distancing, face coverings, and any other community minded behaviors. The best practices for protecting yourself and others against COVID-19, besides vaccination, have not changed significantly since the pandemic started.

Entry and exit requirements

Entry requirements for your host country may include a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination against COVID-19, special forms/documents, and/or a required quarantine period upon arrival to your destination. Some countries currently prohibit U.S. citizens from entering entirely, and limit entry to the U.S. travelers with certain visas. Research your destination for the most up-to-date requirements. 

When returning to the U.S, a negative COVID-19 test is currently required to board your flight, even if you are vaccinated.

Local restrictions

In many countries, restrictions on personal movements and business operations have been more significant than in the U.S. and at times, strictly enforced by local authorities. Ensure you understand if and when limitations on travel, gathering size, curfews, etc. would be enacted in your destination. Perhaps most importantly, understand how universities in the host country are permitted to operate during the pandemic and whether they can proceed with in-person classes. In some countries, restrictions are dictated at the national level, while others are decided regionally or locally.

Vaccination status

Temple University requires you to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling to greatly reduce your risk of contracting the virus or spreading it in your host country. As mentioned above, vaccination may be required to enter your destination, for entry to specific businesses or activities, such as restaurants and theaters and even universities, and may impact your ability to travel within or outside of your host country.

Testing, tracing and isolation

The accessibility of COVID-19 testing also varies in different parts of the world. In many locations, tests are available only to symptomatic or exposed individuals, and facilitated solely by public health officials. Before you travel, learn how to get a COVID-19 test and how contact tracing works; some countries require residents to download and utilize a contact tracing app. If you are symptomatic or exposed, you will need to quarantine or isolate either at home or, as is required in many Asian countries, a government-run facility. Have a plan for getting food and necessities in advance so you are prepared for whatever arises.

Academic delivery and continuity

Classes may be conducted in-person, online, or through a hybrid approach depending on your program and the local COVID-19 situation. Make sure you are aware of how you will continue your courses if you need to quarantine or isolate or if a stay-at-home order is issued in your location. Prepare for how you will obtain meals and essentials, take care of laundry, etc, and what support your program will provide if you can’t attend classes in person for any length of time.

International travel policy

During the pandemic, all Temple University-affiliated international travel, including study abroad, is subject to review and approval by International Risk Management and where applicable, the Elevated/High Risk Travel Committee, as defined in the university’s International Travel Policy. If the risk level in your intended destination changes and/or the health environment deteriorates after you have been approved to study abroad, the University reserves the right to rescind authorization or revise the conditions of travel.

Financial risks and backup plans

It's important to consider all costs associated with your program and review any refund policies carefully before you make a financial commitment. Do not purchase a flight until your program has instructed you to, and once you do, we recommend purchasing flights with the most flexible change and refund policies, in case there are last minute changes to your program or participation. Temple University is unable to assist with any additional costs associated with having to leave a study abroad program early, or if a program is cancelled prior to its start date. 

Conditions can change on the ground that can affect your program's ability to host students on site, or impact your comfort level with traveling. Consider having a backup plan for attending classes on your home campus. You may also want to consider having a backup study abroad program. You are encouraged to consider applying to a backup program in case your first-choice study abroad program does not run or you can no longer participate. Our Program Managers can advise you on how to proceed based on your intended study abroad location and term.

Personal travel

The study abroad experience, especially in Europe, has often included weekend or break trips to other countries. During the pandemic, travel outside of your host country is ill-advised as it may be restricted by the government, pose a risk to your host community or yourself, or be prohibited by your program's rules. We encourage you to use your time abroad to immerse yourself in your new home and limit your travel outside of the country to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission or complications with crossing borders and/or quarantine requirements, 

Visitors

Some countries are permitting international students to enter during the pandemic but not tourists, so family and friends may not be permitted to visit program participants. Research the entry requirements for tourists to your destination if you intend to host visitors during your term abroad. Note that overnight guests are not permitted in student housing.

As always, we recommend families have a valid passport to travel in case of an emergency abroad. 

COVID-19 Acknowledgement of Risks

All program participants will be asked to sign Education Abroad’s standard Assumption of Risk and Release Form in their online application, which includes acknowledgement of COVID-19 related risks.