The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is evaluating the resumption of study abroad for the Spring 2021 semester. The University recognizes the invaluable role study abroad plays in your academic experience, and student well-being is our foremost concern. Our evaluation will consider multiple aspects described below.
While we do not yet know which programs will resume this spring, we know the following:
- No study abroad experience can avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection.
- The spring 2021 study abroad experience will be significantly different from that of your peers prior to COVID-19, and may differ from your peers at other institutions.
- Although no decisions have been made yet, fewer programs will likely be offered as the University identifies programs and locations suited to provide the most comprehensive study abroad experience. For students that have already applied to a program, no decisions have been made yet but it is possible that your program will not be offered.
- Programs will likely entail a hybrid of online and in-person courses.
- Travel opportunities—personal and course related & inside and outside the host nation—will potentially diminish as governments and programs continue precautionary measures.
- Increased financial impacts associated with COVID-19 are possible, including program disruption, quarantine and COVID-19 testing, travel interruption, etc. You will be expected to bear all associated costs.
- The situation will remain fluid. Short notice changes (program cancellation, adjustments to dates, and implementation of host nation precautionary measures) are possible.
The University will not resume study abroad programs without a detailed program evaluation. Initial decisions are unlikely before Fall semester begins and may be announced on a rolling basis. Evaluations will include:
- Travel advisories (Department of State, CDC, & other sources) project a stable or improving environment.
- Program staffing and infrastructure are operational and at capacity to provide expected student services.
- Programs have plans and the ability to implement appropriate social distancing, classroom and common areas area cleaning, and any new emerging precautions.
- Adequate plans are in place to satisfy self-quarantine/self-isolation requirements, access to personal protective equipment (PPE), essentials, and other needs.
- Programs have clear policies regarding cancellation, including academic continuity and refunds. Programs can swiftly transition to quality, remote course offerings if required.
The University will also consider the impact of sending students to each study abroad location. This is more than evaluating your ability to enter that country. We have an obligation to consider the well-being of communities abroad and ensure we do not present greater risk to them.
In light of these trends and concerns, more will be asked of you, including:
- As part of your application, you will be asked submit the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition to demonstrate your understanding of the program environment, the risks, and preparations necessary to manage your well-being. You will be asked to identify alternative plans for academics, finances, and other logistics. Details on the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Petition process will be available in September.
- You will be required to communicate with campus and program staff more frequently and to respond quickly to increase the exchange of information.
- Flexibility and Responsibility. You will be asked to adapt to changes as they occur and commit to following all precautionary measures.
Thank you for your understanding and patience. The University is committed to keeping you informed throughout the decision-making process. For more information, please visit Spring 2021 FAQ webpage.
If you have already applied for study abroad and you no longer wish to participate, please contact the study abroad office that manages your program. You may also log onto My Study Abroad to withdraw your application. No matter your application status, there will be no application fee assessed if you withdraw.