Fall 2021 Programs FAQ

Update as of April 27, 2021: Covid-19 Vaccine Requirement for 2021 Programs

Syracuse Abroad recognizes that this is a challenging time to make decisions about studying abroad. We would like to reassure you that at this time, we are moving forward with fall 2021 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 each program.  Notably, the increasing availability of a Covid-19 vaccine as 2021 progresses leads to heightened optimism.  Please know that we are committed to communicating frequently and transparently as conditions change.  

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.

Please note: The information in this FAQ applies to the programs that Syracuse University operates. For more information about World Partner Programs, please reach out to your World Partner program advisor.

As of July 13, 2021, the Fall 2021 Syracuse Santiago program has been cancelled due to the continued extension of the Chilean border closure. If you are currently enrolled in this program, please reach out to syrsantiago@syr.edu to make alternate arrangements for your semester.


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 health is at risk beyond our ability to reasonably mitigate that risk, we will modify or cancel the program as needed.

Will program dates change?

Some Syracuse Center program dates have been modified.  Please view Fall 2021 Program Updates for new program dates. 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?

Because most of our programs have been modified to be under 90 days in length, all U.S. citizens studying in Central Europe, Florence, London, and Madrid will not need a student visa. U.S. citizens studying in Santiago will also not need to apply for a visa.

International students studying at the above locations will be required to apply for a student visa.


  • Strasbourg Center – All students (both U.S. and international) will be required to apply for a French student visa prior to departure for France.  
  • London Center – All students (both U.S. and international) who will be pursuing an internship in London must apply for a visa. 
  • Students requiring a visa will work closely with their program advisor for guidance and support.

Can I switch to another study abroad program for fall 2021?

Yes, pending availability, you can switch to a new program at a different Syracuse Abroad center.  Please contact your Syracuse Abroad program advisor to inquire. 

Can I defer my application? If I defer my enrollment, will I be able to apply my application fee (paid by all students) and $575 deposit (paid by visiting students) to a future program?

Yes, you can defer your application to a subsequent semester. If you wish to defer your enrollment, your application fee and $575 will be applied to your future program.  If Syracuse Abroad cancels the program, the application fee and deposit will be refunded to the student.  Please contact your Syracuse Abroad program advisor to make this change. 

What is the likelihood that fall 2021 programs will be cancelled?

While we are unable to predict with certainty whether programs will be modified or cancelled, the increasing availability of a vaccine in 2021 makes program operation more likely.  Be assured that we are monitoring all locations closely and will maintain communication with all applicants as conditions evolve.

As a Syracuse University student, will I be able to secure on-campus housing if the program gets cancelled?

Yes, if a student would like to secure on-campus housing for the 2021-2022 academic year as a back-up, they can apply for on-campus housing in April 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 fall.

Covid-19 Vaccine

Will a Covid-19 vaccination be required to participate on the program, enter my respective country or participate in travel on the program?

On April 27, 2021, Syracuse Abroad announced that all fall 2021 study abroad participants will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure.  This requirement is consistent with the Syracuse University Chancellor’s message to the University on April 8, 2021. This means that either the single dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson or the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine must be received two weeks before your planned departure.  For those of you on campus, please contact the Barnes Center or visit Get Vaccinated- Syracuse.edu to register for a vaccine appointment now.

Syracuse University students will need to upload documentation of their status to the Barnes Center Patient Portal.  Directions for visiting students from other universities as to how to provide documentation will be forthcoming within the next few weeks.  In any case, please move expeditiously to secure the vaccine.  In addition to increased health and safety for you, we are hopeful that vaccinated students will also be less impacted by international and local covid-related restrictions.  We will provide specific information as it becomes available.  For any Covid-19 questions, please contact Bridget Demorest at brhughes@syr.edu.  

Will I satisfy the vaccine requirement if I’ve received a vaccine that’s not approved by the WHO??

All students, regardless of vaccine type, should upload their vaccine documentation to the Barnes Center Patient Portal.  Students who have had vaccines that are not WHO approved are welcome at our Syracuse Abroad Centers but will be required to follow all procedures and protocols for students who are NOT vaccinated due to an approved exemption.  If the vaccine does become approved after the start of the program, the student may request a new review and will be able to forego the extra requirements for the remainder of the program if approved. 


What will the refund policy look like for fall 2021?

  • The Syracuse Abroad withdraw date for fall 2021 programs will vary by program.  This allows you to withdraw from your fall 2021 program or defer your enrollment to a new semester any time prior to the date listed below without incurring any financial penalty.
Program Commitment deadline
The Student Hotel housing option
June 30
Apartments housing option
July 30
El Faro housing option
June 30
HUBR housing option
June 10
Host family housing option
July 30
Jul 30
July 30
June 30
Central Europe
June 30


  • After the commitment deadline, Syracuse Abroad will work with each student to minimize the financial impact of a withdrawal/cancellation. 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 place. 


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 fall 2021 program is cancelled?

Syracuse Abroad is 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 with you to either identify an alternate study abroad option (when available and if applicable) or offer you to return 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 the typical selection of classes (pending course enrollment) and may add additional sections 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 ‘Courses’ link under ‘In this Section’.

How may Covid-19 impact my registration experience?

With social distancing measures in place, there will be fewer seats available in each classroom. As a result, we anticipate that more classes than usual may fill during registration. In conversation with your academic advisor, please prepare for registration by selecting multiple alternative classes you will be able to substitute for your first-choice options in case your preferred options fill. Flexibility will be key to a stress-free registration!

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 fall 2021 as planned. At the same time, there is still some uncertainty related to the global pandemic and therefore, we are recommending most of you plan for both 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 April for main campus classes.*  You will drop this schedule once it is confirmed that your study abroad program will move forward as planned.

*Students in our Architecture and Drama Programs should NOT plan a main campus contingency schedule.

Travel & Arrival

What about CDC and US Department of State risk ratings?

We continue to monitor both and are pleased that both agencies have returned to country-by country analysis rather than a global level 3 or 4 risk rating.  We believe this signals a return to 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?

We have every hope that we will be returning to group flights for future semesters. However, it is too early to definitively comment about travel plans this far in advance.  Your program advisor will send out detailed instructions for purchasing flights this summer.  In the meantime,  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.  The trend of late has been for reduced or eliminated quarantine periods in favor of testing before and after arrival.  Increasing availability of the vaccine will likely also reduce the need for an initial quarantine.

Can parents or family members come with students?

At this time, U.S. Citizens are only able to enter most countries if they are deemed “essential.”  Students are deemed essential under local policy, but, unfortunately, parents and family members are not.  All U.S. Citizens may enter the United Kingdom but must follow quarantine requirements. We ask that parents not enter residential spaces or program locations.  If parents would 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?

At present, students will be asked to refrain from travelling outside their host country for the duration of the program except, in some cases, as part of program-sponsored travel.  Any restrictions within the host country are within the purview of the host country and students will be routinely apprised of any applicable guidance.  That said, we truly hope that vaccine distribution will be far enough along by fall that we will be able to remove or reduce travel restrictions.  We will keep you informed as conditions evolve. The ability to travel outside of the host country in future semesters will also be dependent on any restrictions that are present within the country at that time.

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.  Again, we truly hope that conditions will make this issue moot and students will be able to travel more freely.

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 fall 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 expect to have air filtering systems that are appropriate to each facility.

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 another).

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.  


Will students stay in orientation hotels? How many per room?

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.  We very much hope initial quarantines will not be necessary.

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-19 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 the start of the program.

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 the program.

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 the start of the program 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.  We anticipate the need for masks for the foreseeable future even with the advent of a vaccine.  While current science has established that the vaccine is likely to provide immunity, it is not yet clear whether such immunity will also prevent recipients from becoming carriers that can infect those that have not yet been vaccinated.

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 dramatically increase 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 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 the start of the program.  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 the start of the program.

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 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 as will any necessary treatment.

Will students be required to be tested throughout the semester?

Very likely.  Unless vaccine distribution makes this issue moot, we are planning to have surveillance testing at each site.  The specifics of this process at each site will vary and, if necessary, details will be made available as we get closer to the start of the program.   Additionally, and consistent with good contact-tracing practice, students/staff/faculty found to have had close contact with another student/staff/faculty that tests positive will be asked to preventatively quarantine and to take a test consistent with local regulations. 

Will there be random tests?

Yes.  Asymptomatic transmission remains prevalent for traditional college-aged students and we will be using surveillance testing to interdict the spread of infection within the program.

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 start of the 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 the start of the program.  As with other issues, we are hopeful that increasing vaccine distribution will relieve more and more pressure on local testing systems as we move forward.  

Quarantine/Isolation Protocols

If a student is exposed to Covid-19?

Official requirements for responding to someone who is positive for Covid-19 are the responsibility of local health authorities.  We will provide more specific information about the planned response of each jurisdiction as we get closer to term.  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 formally quarantine.  However, the program may also intervene and ask a student preventatively to quarantine to protect other program participants.  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 or if the government required the program to do so.

What conditions might trigger a program cancellation?

Program cancellation due to Covid-19 would be considered if government action requiring the end of the program and/or strain to local health resources such that support for students became unreliable.  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.

View Fall 2021 Program Updates for program-specific details.