Covid-19 FAQ: Short-term Programs

Syracuse Abroad recognizes that this is a challenging time to make decisions about studying abroad. We would like to reassure you that 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 Covid-19 vaccination rates across our program locations 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 questions and answers below represent the best information we have as of December 23, 2021.  This information changes rapidly and we will update this page as new information becomes available.  Also, the information in this FAQ only applies to the programs that Syracuse University operates. For more information about World Partner Programs, please reach out to your World Partner program advisor.

Syracuse Abroad requires all participants to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes Covid-19, unless they have been granted a medical or religious exemption. 

As noted in our announcement on December 7, 2021, all students who are eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster must receive one before the beginning of the spring term. All future participants should check with their healthcare providers about Covid-19 booster eligibility.

Student Enrollment and Pre-Departure

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.  Other conditions such as border closures will result in a program cancellation.

Covid-19 Vaccination Policy

Does Syracuse Abroad require Covid-19 vaccinations for study abroad?

On April 27, 2021, Syracuse Abroad announced that all study abroad participants will be required to be fully vaccinated.  This requirement is consistent with the Syracuse University Chancellor’s message to the University on April 8, 2021.

Syracuse University students will need to upload documentation of their status to the Barnes Center Patient Portal.  Visiting students should upload documentation of their status to their Covid-19 Documentation Upload questionnaire on their OrangeAbroad portal. Please move expeditiously to secure the vaccine.  In addition to increased health and safety for you, vaccinated students will also be less impacted by international and local covid-related restrictions.  For any Covid-19 questions, please contact Bridget Demorest at

Does Syracuse Abroad require a Covid-19 booster for study abroad?

On December 6, 2021, Syracuse University announced that beginning with the spring 2022 semester, all students who are eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster must receive one before the beginning of the semester, including all study abroad participants. Additionally, many of our study abroad locations have very strict Covid vaccine passport rules and a booster will be required to access most public venues, indoor dining, university facilities and transportation access.

If you are a Syracuse University student, you must upload an image of your updated Covid-19 vaccine card to your Barnes Center Patient Portal.  Students will soon receive an email from the Barnes Center with additional information related to how and when to upload documentation.  For visiting students, please navigate to the “Online Applications Checklist” section of your OrangeAbroad account and upload an image of your updated Covid-19 card to the “Covid-19 Booster documentation upload” checklist item in your account.

Does Syracuse Abroad consider medical or religious exemptions?

Syracuse Abroad will consider requests for medical or religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement on a case-by-case basis and consistent with the guidelines for Syracuse University.  However, in some locations local governments have instituted very strict policies requiring vaccination against Covid-19 to access public spaces.

If Syracuse Abroad, in our sole discretion, feels that the quality of an unvaccinated student’s experience will be so diminished as to not meet a reasonable standard then we will not consider exemptions for that location.  Please check with your International Program Advisor regarding vaccine requirements in your intended destination.


What is Syracuse Abroad’s refund policy?

Students can withdraw from their program or defer their enrollment to a new semester any time prior to the program’s financial commitment date without incurring any financial penalty. See Syracuse Abroad Refund Policy and Commitment Deadlines for more information.

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 cannot be offered for individuals in quarantine or isolation during a short program. The faculty will work with the student to identify appropriate accommodations.

Travel & Arrival

How are CDC and US Department of State risk ratings taken into consideration?

We continue to monitor both among other indicators including those provided by local experts and our international service provider, International SOS (ISOS).  In particular, where the State or CDC rating is driven heavily by risks associated with Covid-19, we consider these risks in the context of our active and aggressive efforts to mitigate those risks including a fully vaccinated student population.

Students On-Site

Will Syracuse Abroad allow personal travel?

Potential quarantine and isolation 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 and isolation.

Will students be covered by insurance?

As a student studying abroad with Syracuse, you automatically receive travel insurance benefits as part of your program fee. This is not major medical coverage, but will provide coverage for accidents or emergencies that occur overseas. It is important that you review your private insurance to see if global coverage is included. Taking into consideration the Syracuse Abroad insurance along with your private insurance, you can then make an informed decision on whether to purchase additional coverage based on your health situation.

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.

If a program ends early and students must return home unexpectedly due to COVID, will Syracuse Abroad cover their flight costs?

Syracuse Abroad is unable to purchase tickets for students, make flight arrangements or cover the cost of an early return flight.  Students are encouraged to purchase flights that have flexible ticket policies to allow for minimal or no change fees.