Study Abroad

COVID-19 and UW Study Abroad

Here at UW Study Abroad, we are passionate about connecting students to opportunities for global learning. We are hopeful that study abroad can resume in 2021. Please connect with us through our advising and events to start planning.

We’re in active consultation with experts at the UW and beyond to create future study abroad opportunities that are safe and academically rigorous. The UW Global Travel Security program and the UW International Travel Risk & Safety Committee are key partners in this work. UW Study Abroad programs always comply with local public health recommendations and UW policies. As global conditions change, we may need to adjust to program dates, schedules, classroom environments, course delivery, housing arrangements, internship placements, itineraries, or other program details.

Please review the information and next steps below as you consider study abroad. We are excited to support you along your journey!

Information and next steps for students

  • Study Abroad is currently suspended through spring quarter 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • UW Study Abroad has cancelled UW Programs (Faculty-led Programs) for Summer Quarter (Summer Full-term, Summer A, and Summer B terms) and Early Fall. If you have applied to one of these programs, you have been emailed directly.  We have not yet made decisions about Autumn 2021.
  • There are a number of Partner Programs and Exchanges that are still open for summer 2021 and beyond.

Our commitment

  • UW Study Abroad is trying to be nuanced in our decision-making because of the ever-changing landscape.
  • We want to accurately manage your expectations, while remaining cautiously optimistic.
  • Programs proceeding with the planning process, are not guaranteed to run. But we are committed to keeping in regular contact with you if you have opened a study abroad application.

How is UW making decisions about study abroad?

  • The UW Study Abroad and Global Travel Security Teams meet every other week to assess the feasibility of study abroad.
  • Factors in our decision-making process include: program location, duration of program, program type and support available, access to visas and consular networks, and vaccination distribution progress – both domestically and internationally.
  • We are assessing programs that are still open for applications regularly and, unfortunately, we may have to cancel them at any time, regardless of whether or not students have been accepted to the program.
  • If you have questions, email studyabroad@uw.edu.

Important considerations

Make a back up plan

Please make parallel plans for academics and housing – one plan assuming you’ll be able to study abroad and then a backup plan in case your study abroad program is canceled due to the pandemic.

  • Work with your academic adviser to select and temporarily register for on-campus classes in case you’re unable to go abroad.
  • If your study abroad program runs as planned, it will be your responsibility to drop on-campus classes before the quarter starts. UW Study Abroad will remove the study abroad placeholder credits from your record if your program is cancelled.
  • Consider making a back up plan for housing as well in case you can’t study abroad as planned.

Cancellation policies

  • If your program is cancelled by UW Study Abroad related to COVID-19 (or for any other reason) prior to the program start date, you will receive a full refund of any fees that UW Study Abroad controls.
  • UW Study Abroad will not be responsible for any personal costs incurred as a result of committing to a study abroad program. This could include travel costs, fees due to partner providers, or health related expenses.
  • For cancellations due to any other reason, our normal withdrawal process and policies will apply.
  • If you are applying to a partner program, check with the program provider to confirm their cancellation policy. Most providers are being very flexible, but cancellation policies vary and all fees may not be refundable.
  • We understand that it is more challenging to make future travel plans due to the worldwide impact of COVID-19. It makes sense that you may be hesitant to confirm your place on your program at this time. UW Study Abroad is allowing more flexibility with confirmation deadlines, and you will receive additional information about confirming closer to the program start date. Connect with us if have concerns or need additional flexibility.

International travel considerations

  • The current closure of U.S. passport offices and/or suspension of visa processing services by foreign governments may prevent students from obtaining a passport and/or visa (or residence permit) in time for travel
  • Travelers may not be able to enter the destination country based on current travel restrictions
  • A 14-day self-isolation/quarantine period is likely upon arrival in the destination country
  • Programs may be abruptly ended by the provider or host institution if conditions worsen
  • Travel restrictions may change while abroad, prohibiting students from returning to the U.S.
  • There may be a need to self-isolate upon return to the U.S.

Using your scholarship

If you were awarded a UW Study Abroad scholarship for a program that was cancelled due to the pandemic, you will have the opportunity to use your award during a future term. Visit our scholarships page for more information.

UW travel restrictions

  • In person study abroad is currently suspended through spring quarter 2021.
  • All travel outside the U.S. by UW employees and students is restricted until further notice, effective March 20, 2020. Read more about this policy at the UW Office of Global Affairs.
  • On August 6th, 2020 the global travel advisories by the U.S. Department of State and the CDC were rescinded and both organizations are reverting to national level advisories for each country. The UW travel restriction is still in effect.
  • These restrictions do not apply to personal travel. However, we strongly encourage you to avoid travel and review applicable travel warnings.

UW COVID-19 resources