Syracuse Abroad Spring 2021 FAQ

Syracuse Abroad has made the difficult decision to suspend all Syracuse center study abroad programs for Spring 2021. For more information, view Spring 2021 program updates.

Syracuse Abroad recognizes that this is a challenging time to make decisions about studying abroad next semester. We would like to reassure you that at this time, we are moving forward with our spring programs as planned. Our highest priority is the health and safety of our students and we will continue to review public health and travel advisory guidance leading up to and throughout the spring 2021 semester.

In general, CDC guidelines will be observed. However, each program is bound by law to follow the health requirements of their host country, region, and/or city.  In most cases, these expectations meet or exceed CDC guidelines, but may achieve the desired result differently, and in a manner consistent with local culture.


How will it be decided if a program is cancelled?
The Office of Global Safety & Support at Syracuse University carefully monitors developments in close cooperation with various offices on the local, national, and international level such as the NYS Department of Health, the CDC, U.S. State Department, and International SOS.  We want to provide the very best study abroad experience for each of you. If we feel that your safety is at risk or that we can no longer provide an optimal experience for you, we will modify or cancel the program as needed.

Will program dates change?
For World Partner programs, we are currently monitoring our partner institutions’ plans and will notify students of major changes.  Students should also be alert to updates they receive directly from their programs. 

Will students be required to obtain a visa?
The majority of our programs have been modified to under 90 days, therefore, U.S. Citizens will not be required to obtain a visa.  All international students, students pursuing an internship in London, students enrolled in Music Performance program in Strasbourg and all students enrolled in a Signature Seminar in Madrid will be required to obtain a student Visa.  Students needing a visa will work closely with their program advisor to begin this process.

Can I defer my offer of admission to a future semester?
Yes, if you wish to defer your Spring 2021 offer of admission to Summer or Fall 2021, you must contact your Syracuse Abroad program advisor to make this change before December 1, 2020.

Will I be able to switch to another study abroad program for spring 2021?
Yes, pending availability, you can change your enrollment to a new program at a different Syracuse Abroad center.  Please contact your Syracuse Abroad program advisor directly before December 1, 2020.

If I withdraw or defer my enrollment, will I be able to apply my $70 application fee (paid by all students) and $575 deposit (paid by visiting students) to a future program?
Yes, if you wish to defer your enrollment to Summer or Fall 2021, your $575 will be applied to your future program.  You must contact your Syracuse Abroad program advisor to make this change before December 1, 2020.

What is the likelihood that my spring 2021 program will be cancelled?
Unfortunately, we are unable to predict if a program will be cancelled. It is unknown how and when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will evolve in the United States and in locations of our study abroad centers. Be assured that we are monitoring all locations closely and will maintain communication with all applicants as conditions evolve.


What will the refund policy look like for spring 2021?
    • The Syracuse Abroad withdraw date for spring 2021 programs is December 1, 2020.  This allows you to withdraw from your spring 2021 program or defer your enrollment to a new semester any time prior to December 1, 2020 without incurring any financial penalty.
    • After the commitment period, but before the beginning of the semester, Syracuse Abroad will work with each student to minimize the financial impact of a withdrawal/cancellation.
    • After the start date of the spring 2021 program, refunds will be consistent with the University refund policy stated on the Tuition, Fees, and Related Policies Bulletin.  Students are encouraged to read the policy.  The actual amount of the refund will depend on a variety of factors including type of housing and the point in time when the withdrawal/cancellation takes please. 


If a student is required to quarantine, will classes be available virtually?
Virtual classes and/or appropriate accommodations will be made to support students’ ability to stay on track academically.

What happens if my spring 2021 program is cancelled?
Syracuse Abroad is strongly committed to helping you stay on track to graduate while abroad.  If a program is cancelled before the semester begins or during the early phase of the study abroad semester, we will work to either move you to another Syracuse Abroad center (when available and if applicable) or return you to main campus (for Syracuse students) or your home campus if possible (for visiting students).  If a program is cancelled close to or beyond the half-way point of your semester abroad, we will assist you in completing coursework remotely, on the main Syracuse campus, or through a combination of both.

Will Covid-19 affect the number of classes taught at each center?
Our Centers expect to offer as many or more classes in order to meet social distancing requirements.  At some of our centers, you will see some new and exciting courses that directly tackle current issues.  Class lists available on our web site reflect the most up-to-date information on planned offerings.  Find your program here and then select the first link under ‘In this Section’.

As a Syracuse student, will I be able to register for classes on main campus if the program gets cancelled?
Currently, we are planning to run all Syracuse Abroad programs in spring 2021 as planned. At the same time, there is still some uncertainty related to the global pandemic and therefore, we are recommending an abroad and a main campus schedule.  Please work with your academic advisor to confirm that this is what your school or college recommends.  If yes, that means you will initially register in December for main campus classes.  You will be prompted to drop this schedule once it is confirmed that your study abroad program will move forward as planned.

Travel & Arrival

What about CDC and US Department of State risk ratings?
We continue to monitor both and are pleased that as of 8/6/2020 both agencies have returned to country-by country analysis rather than a global level 3 or 4 risk rating.  We believe this is the beginning of a more nuanced analysis of COVID-19 risk for travelers.    We will continue to monitor these important measures and as we get closer to spring will provide specific information about the COVID-19 risks in each program location.

Will group flights be offered?
Syracuse Abroad will not be offering group flights for spring 2021, however we will be sending out detailed instructions for purchasing flights in early December.  Please do not book any flights until you receive this information from your program advisor.

Will students be required to quarantine upon arrival?
This is a possibility and will depend on the requirements of the host country.  Should quarantine be required, then each program will provide academic and personal support during the quarantine period and specific instructions will be provided closer to spring.

Can parents or family members come with students?
At this time, U.S. Citizens are only able to enter Spain, Italy, and France if they are deemed essential.  Students are deemed essential but, unfortunately, parents and family members are not.  All U.S. Citizens may enter the United Kingdom but must follow quarantine requirements. We also ask that parents not enter residential spaces or program locations.  If you’d like to meet with staff, please call and they will make arrangements to meet you.  Per our standing policy, parents/guests are not permitted to participate in program activities.

Is travel in the province, country, region allowed? Based on visa? Based on COVID?
Unless conditions change, students will be asked to refrain from travelling outside their host country for the duration of the program.  Any restrictions within the host country are within the purview of the host country and students will be routinely apprised of any applicable guidance.  Note that the Strasbourg program is an exception.  Consistent with this location’s unique history between France and Germany, a determination about students travel within both countries will be made closer to the start of the spring semester.

If students can travel, will they have to quarantine upon return?
Among other reasons, potential quarantine requirements are one of the reasons that independent travel will be limited to within the host country.  Please note that students will be solely responsible for the foreseeable consequences of violating the travel guidelines, including financial consequences associated with quarantine.

Will there be limitations to local travel that may affect my travel time from my housing to class?
This will vary by location and may change over the course of the semester.  We will provide specific guidance as we get closer to the start of the spring semester.  In general, students should plan on longer travel times anywhere public transportation is utilized.  Social distancing protocols will assuredly limit the number of passengers per vehicle, whether bus or train, resulting in increased travel times.


What will physical distancing look like in classrooms?
Appropriate physical distancing (typically 2 meters) will be the standard in each classroom.  In some cases, the layout of the room or other factors, may require the use of temporary separation barriers (e.g. plexiglass shields).  Specific layouts for these rooms will be determined based on enrollment and as we get closer to the spring term.

What is ventilation like?
Some facilities in Europe pre-date central air conditioning systems, and, in some cases, Syracuse Abroad does not own the facility and cannot make changes to the infrastructure.  That said, we are currently looking at options for air filtering systems that are appropriate to each facility and will provide an update as we get closer to the spring term.

What will the maximum capacity be?
This depends on class enrollment, the specific classroom size, and the number of seats that can be arranged in the room while maintaining a 2-meter separation between students.  On average our classroom capacity will be approximately 60% of normal.

Will libraries be open (Florence and Madrid)?
Yes.  Masks will be required and students will be asked to social distance appropriately.  Study spaces will be rearranged (e.g. Students will not be seated across from one anther).

Will there be procedures in place for students arriving to the classroom/building (e.g. temperature checks)?
There will not be temperature checks.  Given this age group is most likely to experience asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, temperature checks are not generally effective for limiting spread.  Students are advised to remain home if they feel ill.  Methods for a daily health survey are being considered and an update will be provided as we get closer to spring.


As a Syracuse University student, will I be able to secure on-campus housing if the program gets cancelled?
Yes, if a student is currently living on-campus, they should not cancel their spring assignment and will continue their stay on campus if the program gets cancelled.  If students are able to go abroad in the spring, they can cancel their on-campus housing for the spring semester at no charge.  Students should remove all of their belongings from their on campus residence at the end of the fall semester.

If a student is not currently living on campus but would like to secure on-campus housing for the spring semester as a back-up, they can apply for on-campus housing beginning November 1st when the housing portal goes live. Students will be able to cancel their on-campus housing at no cost if they go abroad in the spring.

Will students stay in orientation hotels? How many per room?
This will very much depend on local quarantine requirements.  Details will be provided as we approach the spring semester. This will depend on local quarantine requirements which we have been monitoring and will continue to monitor closely leading up to your arrival.  If students are required to quarantine in a separate location prior to moving into their regular residence abroad, we will provide details about this requirement and process closer to the start of the semester.

Will students stay in homestays? How many per host?
In some locations, the host family housing option will be offered.  This will depend on a variety of local and international factors/considerations.  In locations where the host family option is offered, there will be specific COVID protocols implemented to minimize risk to both students and their host families.  The specifics of housing arrangements will be provided as we get closer to spring.

Apartments in London…how many students?
Student sharing an apartment will be treated as a “pod” or “family group.”  Students within the group may associate without social distancing as one does now with family.  Outside the group, masks and social distancing should be strictly followed.  The exact size and configuration of apartments will be provided closer to the start of spring.

Will the centers be offering field trips? If so, what will transportation look like?
Yes, the specifics of these experiences will be provided as we get closer to spring as the risks associated with travel in each location become clearer.  Rest assured, that all arrangements will meet appropriate health guidelines.


Are masks being provided upon arrival?
In general, students are expected to bring their own supply of masks, cloth or otherwise.  Each Center will maintain a supply of disposable masks for special use.

Are students required to bring their own masks? If yes, how many? What kind?
We recommend a supply of cloth masks in sufficient quantity to allow the mask to be cleaned and dried each day.  While this is possible with two masks, it is certainly more convenient to bring more.  We do not recommend disposable masks as these are not environmentally friendly and are dramatically increasing the waste stream.

What is the availability to purchase masks abroad?
Masks are now broadly available in most locations.  However, given travelers are expected to wear masks while in flight and/or at the airport, students should expect to travel with a basic supply of masks.  Please keep in mind that at certain times, such as a beginning of the semester, there may be a high demand for masks which might make acquiring masks locally a challenge.

Where are masks required to be worn? In our program space? In housing? In and around the city?
Mask requirements will vary by location, much as they do in the United States.  We will publish these requirements for each program location as we get closer to spring.  That said, masks will be required in all classrooms and program spaces regardless of local rules.  Masks will not be required in a student’s personal living space but may be required in shared spaces depending on the facilities requirements or the family’s expectations, if you are living in a homestay.

Covid-19 Testing

Will students be required to take a Covid test before departing for their program? How recent should the results be?
Yes. Consistent with the practice at main campus, students should have a COVID-19 test before travelling. The requirements for how soon before travel the test is required will vary by location.  Details of the testing process will be released closer to spring semester.

Will students need to take a test upon arrival?
This will depend on quarantine and testing requirements in the host country. We will release details as we get closer to the spring term.

Will the University’s travel insurance cover Covid-19 testing?
University travel insurance will NOT cover preventive testing. However, should a student become ill then any necessary diagnostic testing will be covered.

Will students be required to be tested throughout the semester?
At this time, we are not planning a general program of surveillance testing.  However, consistent with good contact tracing practice, students/staff/faculty found to have had close contact with another student/staff/faculty that tests positive may be asked to take a test.  The particular requirements will vary based on local regulations.

Will there be random tests?
No. We have no plans to conduct surveillance testing at this time.

What will the turnaround time be for test results?
This will vary based on location.  Obviously, we are all very interested in testing regiments that provide quick results. We are monitoring the turnaround time for government-supported testing in each program location.  If this is found to be insufficient, we will seek a source of private testing.  More details about each program’s testing plans will be available as we get closer to the spring semester.

What is the general availability in each city?
At present, testing is broadly available in each program location.  However, as we have seen in the United States, if there is a local surge in such cases then resources can become strained.  We continue to monitor local testing availability and will provide more information as we get closer to spring semester.

Quarantine/Isolation Protocols

If a student is exposed to Covid-19?
Official requirements based on exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19 is the responsibility of local health authorities.  We will provide more specific information about the planned response of each jurisdiction as we get closer to spring.  That said, close, and not casual, contact is generally required before precautionary quarantine would be required.  If a student is required to quarantine for a 14-day period because of exposure, then the student will be able to continue to study remotely and support for life needs will be arranged.

If a student is sick?
Any student experiencing an illness with symptoms which might be COVID-19 will need to contact a physician for advice.  Each program location will provide access to appropriate medical care.  As in the US, there may be a fee for these services beyond what is covered by program travel insurance.  Students are expected to follow medical advice regarding testing, treatment, and any necessary self-isolation.  Students who test positive, if they live with another student, will be provided temporary isolation housing.  Please note that testing positive for COVID-19 will NOT result in a student’s repatriation to the United States.  Excellent medical care is available in each location where we operate a program.  In fact, it is unlikely that either the host government or the US government will permit a known positive individual to fly.

If a roommate is exposed? Sick? Has symptoms?
Local health authorities will determine whether a roommate of an ill patient must quarantine.  Quarantine support will be provided as noted above.  Please note that if all roommates are found to be positive then no individual isolation is required and all those found to be positive may isolate together.

What would require a student to return home?
Special expectations for student behavior will be published in advance for each program site.  Students are expected to rigorously adhere to University and program policies intended to support participant health and safety.  Flagrant violations of these expectations will result in the student being sent home.  While not likely, students would be repatriated if advised to do so by medical professionals.

What conditions might trigger a program cancellation?
Program cancellation due to Covid-19 would be considered if a local surge in cases was determined to place students at substantial risk, and/or if there were a number of cases among program participants that could not be traced and contained through isolation and quarantine.  To be clear, as with universities across the country, a successful study abroad experience is heavily dependent on the cooperation of students and their compliance with health and safety regulations.  Risky behavior may result in all losing a great experience.