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COVID-19 & Study Abroad: FAQ

Last updated May 14, 2021.
 

COVID-19 & Study Abroad: FAQ

 

Has SJU cancelled any study abroad programs due to COVID-19 for the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 academic years?

 
After University review, SJU Summer Programs for Summer 2021 have been cancelled. Travel on Non-SJU Summer Programs has been reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

At this time, most study abroad programs for fall 2021 are scheduled to take place as planned. (Programs which have been cancelled are listed below). 

The University continues to monitor conditions and will review the status of Fall travel in June. Please note that, in some cases, individual program decisions may be made sooner. Any changes or recommendations will be communicated directly to participants, and updated on the list below. Students applying for fall programs abroad are advised to explore alternate course plans in the event a program is unable to take place. 

At this time, the following programs have been suspended for Summer 2021:
  • SJU Summer Program in Greece
  • SJU Summer Program in Rome
  • SJU Summer Program in South Africa
At this time, the following semester abroad programs have been suspended for the Fall 2021 semester:
  • Belgium Internship Program - suspended by program provider
  • CIEE Russian Area Studies Program in St. Petersburg, Russia ‚Äč- suspended by program provider
  • IFSA - University of Auckland - suspended by program provider
  • IFSA - Macquarie University - suspended by program provider
  • IFSA - University of Melbourne - suspended by program provider
  • Sibanye Cape Town - suspended by program provider
  • The Beijing Center - suspended by program provider
Affected students have been notified by email. 
 
Previous University decisions regarding student travel are listed below. All affected students have been contacted by email.
  • As of November 9, 2020, all Spring 2021 Semester Abroad programs with enrolled participants were suspended. Programs with enrolled participants were reviewed on a case-by-case basis before program-specific decisions were made.
  • As of October 15th, 2020, SJU suspended all faculty-led study tours for the Spring 2021 semester. 
  • As of June 24, 2020, SJU suspended all University-sponsored study abroad programming for the Fall 2020 semester. This included the suspension of fall 2020 semester abroad, as well as the postponement  of one winter break study tour scheduled to depart in early January 2021.
 

I’m planning to travel abroad, can I apply for a U.S. passport at this time? 

 
You can still apply for a new or renewed U.S. passport, but you should expect delays before receiving your passport. Current processing time for routine service applications is 10-12 weeks. You also have the option of paying an additional $60 for expedited service to receive your passport in 4-6 weeks.
 
Due to anticipated delays, if you are planning on studying abroad during Summer or Fall 2021, you are strongly encouraged to apply for a passport as soon as possible. 
 
Refer to the U.S. State Department Update on U.S. Passport Operations for the most current information, and visit their Passport Agency and Center page to check on the status of passport agencies and centers. To see the current wait times to receive your passport and the return of your citizenship documents (such as previous passports and birth/naturalization certificates), please see the U.S. State Department’s Processing Times page.

Should I purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance?

While the University will provide decisions on each program based on the timelines set, it is important to note that conditions may continue to evolve after a decision is made. Host institutions or program providers may make cancellations, or students may voluntarily opt to withdraw. To protect funds committed toward a study abroad experience, the CIP recommends that students purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance. 
 
SJU does not endorse any specific insurance carrier, but we have compiled below a list of websites to assist with your research. AAA, your car insurance company and your credit card company may offer Trip Cancellation benefits as well. Please obtain online quotes to compare or speak with an insurance representative:  
Each carrier provides different levels of services at different rates, so it is important to understand exactly what is covered by a particular plan before purchasing, particularly in regard to COVID-related cancellations. In many cases, losses due to COVID may not be covered by a standard plan. Students may need to look for special coverage, such as a “Cancel for Any Reason” plan. It is strongly advised that you speak with the insurance provider to understand details of a specific plan, as even “Cancel for Any Reason” coverages may vary between providers.

How will I know if my program is cancelled or postponed?

SJU will directly contact students with updates via email. SJU reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the SJU community can find updates related to COVID-19 on this page, and at https://www.sju.edu/hawk-hill-ahead 

How does SJU make decisions about its study abroad programs?

SJU takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and the World Health Organization (WHO). When making decisions about specific programs, we also consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners.
 
Prior to cancelling a Study Tour or Summer Program, we first explore all viable alternatives, such as postponing a program. For those programs that are postponed, the details of what a postponement will look will be communicated directly with the participants, and the outcome for each program could be different. 
 

What would happen if an SJU study abroad program was cancelled?

SJU Study Tours/Summer Programs:
 
Deposits submitted for a fall 2021 study tour are fully refundable should a student withdraw due to concern for COVID-19. Students will not be charged additional fees by SJU for study abroad until the University has reviewed the status of fall travel. 
 
Should travel on fall 2021 study tours be approved after University review,  students  will be held to the CIP’s withdrawal policy as captured in the Terms of Participation in Program Agreement (Study Tours and Summer Programs) on which students sign off as part of their application. 
 
In the event a decision is made by the University to cancel or suspend a program after the initial University review, Saint Joseph’s University will issue recoverable cost refunds, but only if and when SJU has recovered actual expenses from its vendors.  Please note that the University is working diligently to ensure that as many costs as possible are recoverable. 
 
Tuition is not refundable if students are provided an option to continue pursuing a course for credit. As refunds are not guaranteed, the CIP recommends that students purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance to protect funds committed to a study abroad experience. Suggested websites to research insurance options can be found above.
 
SJU Approved Semester Abroad Programs:

If a future semester abroad program were cancelled prior to the start of the SJU semester, students would be able to enroll in SJU courses. No tuition refund would be issued, as tuition remains the same for students participating in a semester abroad and students taking classes full-time at SJU . 
 
Semester abroad confirmation deposits submitted to SJU for Fall 2021 are fully refundable should a student withdraw due to COVID-19 or should a program be cancelled. 
 
As non-tuition fees are paid directly by students to their abroad programs, refund policies will vary. Many programs have updated their refund and cancellation policies in light of COVID-19.  Be sure to fully review the partner program’s refund policy as SJU has no control over another institution’s policies. 
 
Fall 2021 semester abroad students are advised not to make any non-refundable payments for their study abroad experience until a University update on the status of fall student travel has been provided. A University update on the status of Fall 2021 travel will be provided in June 2021. 
 
As conditions may continue to evolve after a University decision is issued for a program, students are advised to be aware of refund and cancellation policies before making any payments to external providers. As refunds are not guaranteed, the CIP recommends that students purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance to protect funds committed to a study abroad experience. Suggested websites to research insurance options can be found above.

My 2020 Study Tour/SJU Summer Program was postponed to 2021 and I want to be a part of it. Will I need to reapply?

Yes, you will need to reapply.  If your program was postponed to 2021, it is possible that the terms of the program (dates, itinerary, etc.) and cost have changed. You will need to submit a new application to confirm that you wish to participate and that you accept the new program terms and cost.  Certain question items from your 2020 application can be carried over to your 2021 application (please contact Ilana at iegert@sju.edu to do so). 
 
Students who were previously confirmed participants on a 2020 Study Tour or SJU Summer Program will be given priority if they reapply.

I withdrew from Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Semester Abroad, or my program was cancelled. I would like to go abroad in Fall 2021. Will I need to reapply?

No, you will not need to reapply. If your application for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semester abroad was previously approved and you plan to defer your participation to Fall 2021, please do not open a new application. Please contact Sara Haines in the CIP at shaines@sju.edu for assistance in reopening your application. 

What would happen if a student withdraws from a future study abroad program ( summer semester and onward) out of concern for COVID-19?

SJU understands that personal circumstances may vary, and that final decisions will be made between students and families. All enrolled study abroad students may voluntarily withdraw from a study abroad program at any time. Deposits submitted for summer 2021 and fall 2021 study abroad are fully refundable should a student withdraw due to concern for COVID-19. Students will not be charged additional fees by SJU for study abroad until the University has reviewed the status of summer or fall travel. Should summer or fall travel be approved after University review,  students  will be held to the CIP’s withdrawal policy as captured in the Terms of Participation in Program Agreement (Study Tours and Summer Programs) or Academic, Disciplinary and Financial Waiver (Semester/Year Abroad), on which students sign off as part of their application.
 
Semester abroad students pay non-tuition fees directly to their programs abroad, and non-SJU summer & winter program students pay all fees directly to their programs abroad.  Students are advised not to make any non-refundable payments for their study abroad experience until a University update on student travel for their intended term abroad has been provided. As conditions may continue to evolve after a University decision is issued, students are advised to be aware of refund and cancellation policies for any non-SJU fees, such as housing costs or airfare. Many programs have published information on their websites for future students. If you are not sure how to contact a program representative, the CIP will be happy to assist. 

If my fall 2021 semester abroad program is cancelled, or I voluntarily withdraw, are there on-campus housing options for me?

SJU has a two-year residency requirement; first and second year students, and some transfer students, are required to live on campus.  This requirement is waived for students participating in SJU study abroad programs for only the semester they are abroad.    
 
On-campus housing will be available  for students who sign  a 2021-2022 Housing Agreement. If your Fall 2021 program is suspended after University review in June, you will retain your space in campus housing for the Fall 2021 semester.
 
If Fall 2021 travel is approved and you choose to move forward with your study abroad experience, your space in on-campus housing will be released for the fall semester.  You will be housed on campus for the spring semester, though potentially not in your original housing assignment. Should a student withdraw, or should a study abroad program be cancelled, the University will make every effort to house students on campus if availability allows. 
 
Students who have not signed a 2021-2022 Housing Agreement should discuss availability with the Office of Residence Life.
 

Who can I contact about study abroad and COVID-19?

For questions about a semester abroad program, non-SJU summer program, or a student on one of these programs, contact Sara Haines at shaines@sju.edu or 610-660-1675
 
For questions about a Study Tour, SJU Summer Program, or a student on one of these programs, contact Ilana Egert at iegert@sju.edu or 610-660-3479.
 
For general inquiries or concerns, please reach out to Tom Kesaris at tkesaris@sju.edu or 610-660-1836.
 
Please note that this page will be updated frequently as new information becomes available. All are encouraged to refer back regularly for the latest information. 

What resources does SJU recommend for reliable updates regarding COVID-19?

Previous updates regarding COVID-19 and study abroad can be found below: