Summer and Fall 2020 Study Abroad Program Cancellation
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the unprecedented decision to cancel all study abroad programs set for summer and fall 2020. Our actions take into account our current review process for programs abroad listed below.
The decision reflects the University’s interest in preventing exposure to the virus and the need for faculty and students to navigate unpredictable circumstances overseas, such as access to healthcare, disruptions to local services, and the potential for travel interruptions or restrictions. In addition, given the intensive block schedule of faculty-led Study Abroad programs, logistical disruptions could limit the ability to offer a high impact program abroad. Suspending our programs prioritizes the health and well-being of our University community members and supports the academic integrity of our study abroad programs.
Please review the COVID-19 Alerts page for the latest information from St. Edward's University.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Related Frequently Asked Questions
CONTACT STUDY ABROAD
How can students contact Study Abroad with questions?
Staff members are currently working remotely, in accordance with the University's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please email studyabroad [at] stedwards.edu to get in contact with our staff.
Who can students contact with financial and health insurance questions?
Student Financial Services (Financial Aid): Kim Bowen, kimw [at] stedwards.edu
Student Health Insurance Plan: Vanessa Pena, vavinape [at] stedwards.edu
Has St. Edward’s canceled study abroad programs?
All summer and fall 2020 programs abroad have also been suspended. Spring 2021 applications are now open, and program participants will be notified immediately if the status changes to suspended. Study Abroad continues to closely monitor federal and international travel advisories and restrictions, as well as guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Department of State. Although state and federal restrictions are being loosened, the global threat posed by COVID-19 still remains high. Decsions regarding Spring 2021 programs will be made in September 2020.
Where will students returning from spring 2020 study abroad programs go?
St. Edward’s students returned early from study abroad programs returned to their home locations—not to St. Edward’s University. All students were required to return by March 20, 2020.
All students should follow CDC guidelines, as well as any local guidelines, for self-quarantine.
What about the families of students who are self-isolating?
The CDC recommends individuals in self-isolation stay in a room away from family members and use a separate bathroom if possible. As long as the student remains healthy, other family members can go about their daily activities as normal with no restriction on their movement.
Can students choose to remain in-country after St. Edward’s recalls their study abroad program?
No. To ensure the safety of our students, and following CDC guidance, St. Edward’s has asked students to return to their home locations as soon as possible. Should a student disregard this mandate, St. Edward’s will be unable to provide further support or assistance.
If a spring student refuses to return home, what are the likely consequences or repercussions?
Students who remain abroad against the University’s mandate do so at significant personal risk and may not be able to leave the country for an extended period due to international travel restrictions. Because of the safety issues at stake, should a student choose to not return from a Study Abroad program, they may face the following consequences:
- St. Edward’s may withdraw the student for the semester and the student may lose some or all academic credits, housing, and financial assistance.
- If the Study Abroad program continues operating remotely and students complete their coursework, St. Edward’s would accept academic credits from the relevant program. However, should the host institution subsequently suspend the program after a student had made the decision to stay despite the University’s mandated recall:
- St. Edward’s would not be able to guarantee academic credit should the host institution not award academic credit.
- St. Edward’s will also not guarantee any refunds financial assistance for any time or academic credit.
- St. Edward’s will evaluate additional consequences or disciplinary sanctions on a case-by-case basis.
Who should international students contact about visa and travel questions?
International students should contact International Student Services at iss [at] stedwards.edu for advising about how visa status may be impacted as well as any concerns about returning home.
How do students returning early from study abroad programs enroll in the St. Edward’s Student Insurance Plan?
Students are able to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan that St. Edward’s offers upon return to the U.S. In order to enroll, students should submit the insurance enrollment form and a copy of their passport to Dr. Vanessa Pena at vavinape [at] stedwards.edu. Insurance premiums are dictated by the period date and coverage rate.
What happens to financial aid if a program moves to remote delivery and a student chooses to withdraw rather than continue with online courses?
In order to minimize academic disruption and any negative impacts to financial aid, we encourage students to continue courses online if the option is available. If students are considering withdrawing, financial aid may be reduced or canceled, so they should Kim Bowen in Student Financial Services at kimw [at] stedwards.edu, before making that decision.
Will program fees and/or tuition be refunded?
No tuition will be refunded if students can receive academic credit via remote delivery of courses. Study Abroad has created a taskforce to work with students on a case by case basis in the event that a program is canceled and academic credit cannot be awarded.
Will study abroad students receive room and board refunds?
If your housing was billed as part of your program fee and academic credit is being offered through remote delivery, we are following up with our program providers/host universities to see if there are any recoverable costs, such as unused housing. Students will be notified about potential refunds in the coming weeks.
Independent housing (housing that is not included in the program fee) is considered an out-of-pocket expense and will not be refunded by Study Abroad. Students are responsible for their lease and communicating with their landlord in their host country. For students who paid a program provider housing costs, the provider will reach out directly with any updates on recoverable costs.
Is there any assistance for the cost of return flights?
Flights are considered out-of-pocket expenses and will not be refunded by Study Abroad. Students are responsible for arranging their travel to their home and should reach out to their airline or booking agent for support with itinerary changes.
If students need financial assistance paying for a return flight, Study Abroad can assist with this process and have the charge billed to your account. Please email studyabroad [at] stedwards.edu to get more information on this option.
How do students register for summer/fall courses at St. Edward’s?
Student’s primary academic advisor will reach out to provide registration PIN and students will register online during the normal registration period.
What steps is St. Edward’s taking to ensure that students returning from spring study abroad programs can continue their studies and earn their spring credits?
Study Abroad is working with each overseas partner to see what academic credit may be available. Some programs have already confirmed that students can earn full credit via remote delivery of online classes and we are working to confirm this information for remaining programs soon. Please be advised that this may not be possible at all sites, but we are hopeful that the majority of students will earn their spring credits.
Can returning students enroll in coursework at St. Edward’s?
Though it is too late to enroll in regular spring 2020 coursework at St. Edward’s we understand the impact that this situation is having on students’ academic plans. Wherever possible, Study Abroad encourages you to stay enrolled in the online options offered by your study abroad program. Additionally, we are exploring options for alternate delivery course opportunities for our students for the remainder of spring semester and also for summer. Information on registration is available on our website.
How were students notified of changes related to Study Abroad?
The following messages were sent to students abroad:
- Program cancellation update from St. Edward's University to students who applied to Study Abroad in the Fall 2020 semester. (May 14, 2020)
- Program cancellation update from St. Edward's University to students who applied to study in Angers in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 semesters. (May 14, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward's University to our Study Abroad community (March 14, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward's University to our Study Abroad community (March 12, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward’s University to our Study Abroad community (March 11, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward's University for our Study Abroad community (March 10, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward's University for our Study Abroad community (Feb. 29, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward's University for our Study Abroad community (Feb. 28, 2020)
- Previous COVID-19 update from St. Edward's University for our Study Abroad community (Feb. 27, 2020)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Program Determination Guidelines
The St. Edward’s Study Abroad office will continue to use the CDC and/or State Department level rankings connected to coronavirus to evaluate programming on an ongoing basis. For all programs, we use the following criteria:
Prior to a Program Departure:
If the warning level from the CDC or U.S. Department of State ranking is at 3 or above due to coronavirus concerns prior to program departure, the program will be suspended or canceled. Should this occur, students will be notified by Study Abroad staff directly.
During a Program:
If the CDC or U.S. Department of State issues a level 3 or above warning due to coronavirus concerns while a program is underway, the Risk and Emergency Management team will provide further information regarding what, if any, choices a student has at that time. If a level 4 warning is issued from the State Department, we will recall students from the location.
Safety, Security and Well-being Abroad
Study Abroad at St. Edward’s University oversees credit-bearing, international experiences for undergraduate students and, as such, places the utmost importance on the safety, security and well-being of all students participating in programs abroad. While abroad, students are exposed wholly to a new culture along with all of the associated opportunities and risks of the environment.
St. Edward’s maintains an International Travel Policy that outlines the university's stance on restricted travel and, when travel is approved, also provides comprehensive overseas insurance and travel assistance program for faculty-led programs, St. Edward's international internship program and all exchange programs. We ensure that all sponsored programs included similar comprehensive insurance for our students who participate in these programs. Additionally, Study Abroad monitors daily the security situation worldwide. We rely on information from:
- Program Staff, international partners
- CHUBB Travel Assistance Program
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council
- Travel alerts
- Local embassies and government agencies
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
All study abroad students have access to study abroad advisers who can provide health and safety information, direct them to further resources and address concerns. We provide pre-departure orientations for all of our study abroad students before leaving campus. While we remain a resource to students before, during and after their time abroad, we emphasize that students must take personal responsibility for their own safety, security and well-being while abroad.
Although no one can guarantee completely a student’s safety, security and well-being — at home, on campus or abroad — there are steps each student can take to mitigate risk and make the most of the experience. We strongly recommend that students carefully read through the information and resources we have provided in this section of the website. Please contact Study Abroad with any questions or concerns.
We encourage you to review the following in order to be informed of pertinent health and safety considerations prior to your study abroad experience.
Health and Safety Information and Resources
Strategies for Remaining Vigilant
Your health and safety abroad largely depends not on what might be happening around you, but on the responsible decisions you make before you leave and while you’re abroad. Prioritize your health and safety above all else when making decisions.
- Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and ensure your Study Abroad Portal Profile is up to date with all relevant contact information.
- Trust your instincts.
- Keep your cell phone charged and with you.
- Carry contact information for your program staff and the in-country, 911-equivalent emergency number(s).
- Remain alert to your surroundings, even if you become uncomfortable.
- Know what activities are culturally and legally appropriate.
- Stay informed about current events in your host country. Learn to assess unfamiliar situations and possible risks in your new country.
- When traveling away from your program site, make sure that your program staff and family know where you’re going and when you’re expected to return.
- Avoid demonstrations, or if you find yourself caught up in one, stay far from the center of activity. Do not document the event with your phone or camera.
- Stay away from high crime areas, and if out at night, make sure you and your friends have a safe way home. Avoid walking alone at night whenever possible.
In an Emergency
In an emergency, it is imperative that you first contact local, on-the-ground support in order to receive the urgent assistance needed. Next, utilize the services of your travel assistance, which includes emergency services, such as evacuation, if needed. Then, notify St. Edward’s through the 24/7 UPD number. The St. Edward’s Study Abroad office is only open during business hours. Finally, contact your family to update them and ensure they know how to reach you.
If you are traveling with faculty or staff: Faculty or staff on-site at your study abroad program are the fastest and most helpful resource in an emergency. Contact them first for immediate assistance.
Travel Assistance Program: For approved travel and for exchange, faculty-led and international internship programs, contact 1-855-327-1414 (Toll Free), 1-630-694-9764 (Direct), medassist-usa [at] axa-assistance.us.
During Business Hours (Monday–Friday, 8 a.m–5p.m.)
Moody Hall 102
studyabroad [at] stedwards.edu
NOTE: Study Abroad staff does not regularly check email or voicemail over weekends and holidays. Time zones might also make it hard to receive a timely response.
After Hours 24/7:
University Police Department (UPD)
Holy Cross Hall, G13
campus.safety [at] stedwards.edu
The St. Edward’s Travel Assistance Program
When travel is approved, students on exchange, faculty-led and the SEU international internship programs are able to utilize the CHUBB Travel Assistance Program. Students on sponsored programs must either use the St. Edward’s Travel Assistance program, or show proof that they have purchased the sponsored program travel assistance provided by the sponsor. All St. Edward’s students who go abroad through Study Abroad must have access to a comprehensive travel assistance program.
CHUBB provides 24/7/365 service, including, but not limited to:
- Medical and dental referrals
- Mental health support
- Coordination of payment for out-of-country medical bills (for coverage up to $150,000 )*
- Access to real-time security and safety information
- Facilitation of emergency evacuations
- Translation services
- Assistance with replacement of lost travel documents
*CHUBB provides coverage for up to $150,000 in out-of-country medical expenses for treatment of illness or injury that occur while participating in your program. This coverage includes 14 days of personal travel deviation outside of the program dates. (Note: Travel assistance and evacuation coverage applies at all times. Only the out-of-country medical expenses are limited to the program dates and 14 additional days.) This is not health insurance and cannot cover routine costs.
To contact CHUBB for assistance:
Call the in-country numbers listed on the card, or call the phone number 1-855-327-1414 (toll-free). You may ask the operator to reverse the charges.
Have the policy number ready when you call: ADDN17928665. This number can also be found on your card.
When in doubt, contact CHUBB. They are happy to help with your inquiry and will direct you as necessary.
Before you go:
- Download and print, the one-page flyer. Carry your card at the bottom of the flyer with you while you travel.
- Save a picture of the card in your Google Drive or on the phone/device you will take abroad.
- Tell your family about the service. Send them the flyer or a copy of the card.
- Inform your onsite study abroad program staff that you are covered by this service.
- Contact CHUBB to discuss any health or security concerns related to your destination.
Physical and Mental Health
When studying abroad, it is important to recognize that your health may be affected in unexpected ways. Due to changes in your environment — including time zone, climate, food and water — even well-managed conditions can be more challenging abroad. Studying abroad, like any transition, can bring about an onset, return or increase in symptoms.
We require you have a medical examination before you embark on your study abroad experience, especially if you receive treatment for a pre-existing condition. Talk with your primary care physician about specific steps to maintain your healthcare plan and to assess if any special accommodations might be needed abroad.
We also encourage you to speak with your study abroad program in advance. Disclosing a physical and/or mental health condition to your program staff will allow them to have a plan to assist you in managing your health. It is especially useful to let your program know if you:
- Need specific accommodations abroad (physical or academic)
- Are currently taking prescription medication
- Are being treated for a current mental health or physical condition
- Have severe allergies
Bear in mind that approaches to, and systems of, healthcare may be different than what you are accustomed to at home. Bring with you abroad any pertinent health documentation such as immunization records, prescriptions, or eye glasses or contact prescriptions.
Sexual Harassment or Assault Abroad
Cultural sensitivity does not mean that you need to submit to behaviors that invade your personal boundaries or that make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Educating yourself about sexual harassment, violence,and gender dynamics abroad can empower you and your friends to make safer choices. We encourage you to talk with your host family, your program and local students to understand these cultural differences better.
- Consider cultural sensitivity and your personal boundaries.
- Learn social norms about personal space, touching and gender dynamics.
- Balance independence with your own safety.
- Trust your gut.
- Tell someone.
Support If You Have Been Harassed or Assaulted
First and foremost, if you are the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, remember that it is not your fault. If you are sexually assaulted while abroad, or if you feel you have been harassed, we encourage you to contact your in-country support (program director/faculty leader/international student office). They are the best first resource for you since they not only have the cultural knowledge, but can also advise you about next steps legally and medically in that country.
St. Edward’s University resources also remain available to you while abroad if you would like additional support and/or if you do not feel comfortable speaking with your in-country support.
Remember that a high priority is placed on confidentiality in these situations.
If you need immediate assistance or medical attention, contact one of the following:
- Faculty or staff on-site at your study abroad program
- Travel Assistance Program: 1-855-327-1414 (Toll Free), 1-630-694-9764 (Direct), medassist-usa [at] axa-assistance.us
- After hours 24/7: University Police Department (UPD), [+001] 512-448-8444, campus.safety [at] stedwards.edu
- During business hours: Study Abroad, Moody Hall 102, [+001] 512-448-1051, studyabroad [at] stedwards.edu
Country-Specific Health and Safety Information
Stay informed of current health and security considerations in your proposed country of study. You should refer to these resources as you determine the most appropriate program abroad, during pre-departure planning and when traveling within or outside of your study abroad location:
- U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories
- U.S. Department of State Students Abroad Site
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
- The U.S. Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council provides a list of travel/safety mobile apps
Awareness of Local Laws
You are always subject to the laws of your host country, and any country to which you travel. You do not have any special privilege as a U.S. citizen, as a citizen of a country outside your host country, or as a St. Edward’s student. Neither St. Edward’s nor the local U.S. Consulate can intervene or secure your release from jail if you get arrested. Should you develop legal problems in the country where you are living, you have the sole responsibility to attend to the matter at your expense and with your own personal funds. For more information, please review the U.S. Department of State Guidance on Arrest or Detention Abroad.
Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drug use affects both your health and safety abroad. Intoxication in any form increases your personal risk. If you decide to drink alcohol while abroad, you should be aware of the minimum legal drinking age and drink responsibly. Never travel with or use illegal drugs, including marijuana.
Laws pertaining to alcohol and drugs will likely be different in your host country. While you may consider some laws to be more lenient, others can be much more severe (including the death penalty in some countries). You are expected to educate yourself not only on the minimum legal drinking age, but also on the legal blood alcohol level, legality of possessing and using different substances, and penalties for public intoxication and driving while under the influence.