Last updated: 2/23/2021
Will the University of Florida International Center (UFIC) move forward with Summer and Fall 2021 study abroad programs?
UFIC has been carefully monitoring the situation regarding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections worldwide and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Our office is also monitoring all notices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State. While there is much uncertainty regarding COVID-19, please know that we will never run a program that cannot be carried out safely for both our students and faculty alike.
At this time, we are planning to run programs for Summer and Fall 2021 and are accepting applications to study abroad accordingly. However, final approval for programs will only be issued approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the start of the program. Study Abroad Advisors will be updating students should there be any changes to the timeline stated above. It is important that all students continue to check their UF email frequently for any updates.
Will study abroad be different during the pandemic?
Studying abroad during the pandemic will undoubtedly be different, and it is important for students to realize this. Every country has their own policies and laws in place to manage the pandemic, and all students will be required to adhere to them. This might include: limitations on regional travel, city-wide curfews, lock downs, etc. Students should research their host country and prepare for these differences. If a student is unable to be flexible and adapt to these changes, they may want to consider studying abroad at a different time in the future. Remember to honor yourself and your comfort level when making this decision.
Can the study abroad application be completed online, or do I need to be on campus?
All students can complete the application online. Concerning the Academic Advising Form, it can be accessed within the online application, and we will accept electronic signatures from all relevant parties. If any student has questions regarding how to complete the form, or cannot find the correct form, please contact Study Abroad Services for assistance.
The study abroad application requires that I pay a deposit/application fee. What are the refund policies for this deposit/fee?
Generally speaking, this fee/deposit is non-refundable. However, if a program is cancelled or significant changes* have been made to the program design, students will have the option to transfer this fee/deposit to a new study abroad program within one year, or they may request the money be refunded. If a UF Sponsored program or UF Exchange program is cancelled or significantly modified, your Study Abroad Advisor will contact you with further instructions regarding the refund or transfer process. Students participating in a Non-UF program will be refunded their application fee if the provider cancels the program. Please provide UFIC with proof of cancellation accordingly.
Should a student pay the deposit/application fee and then decides to withdraw their application for any personal reason, including concerns about COVID, these funds are not refundable. For more information about medical withdrawal policies, please view our website.
*Significant changes may include date changes, course changes, shifting the program to a virtual model or others, as determined by UFIC.
Does UF require that I be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to study abroad?
At this point, the University of Florida and the UF International Center do not require students to be vaccinated in order to participate in a study abroad program. However, if the vaccine is required for entry into the host country, students must be vaccinated and comply with all other local, regional and national policies regarding COVID-19. If vaccinations are not available for students at this point, the program will be canceled accordingly. If a student decides to not be vaccinated, even though the host country might require it and vaccines are available, their deposit will not be refunded and they are liable for any payments already made on their behalf. Please also see UFIC’s cancellation policies for further information.
If my program is cancelled due to COVID-19, will I be refunded any program fees I have already paid?
Students participating in a UF Sponsored program will be refunded any program fees (including the deposit) paid if UF cancels a program. Students participating in a Non-UF program should speak with their provider/host university to discuss their refund policy for the selected program prior to financially committing to their program.
Where can I read more about UFIC’s cancellation and refund policies?
All students are required to read and sign a document in their application stating they have read and understand the Cancellation and Refund Policies. It is also clearly outlined on our webpage. Please make sure you read these policies and understand your financial liability before committing to a program.
Please note the specific COVID cancellation policies for UF Sponsored Programs below:
Once the International Center has determined it is safe to travel, students who are “Conditionally Approved” for their program will be alerted via email that they have three days to withdraw - for any reason - from the program before becoming financially liable for (full or partial) payments we will be making on their behalf. After this three-day window, students who have not withdrawn will be moved to the ‘APPROVED’ status and can begin planning for travel. If a student decides to withdraw during the three-day window, their deposit will not be refundable but they will not be liable for any additional program fees.
What is my application status and how do I know when I am fully approved?
Throughout the process of applying to a study abroad program, student will see changes in their application status. The three statuses are: Pending, Conditionally Approved, and APPROVED.
- Pending: The student as started an application but has not yet provided all required documentation or signatures for their application to be complete.
- Conditionally Approved: The student has completed all application requirements, and in effect, have been approved to study abroad. However, due to COVID-19, the program is still under review, and consequently, student travel has not yet been approved by university administrators. This is what that means by program type:
- UF Sponsored: The student has been selected by the program director to participate in their program. The student will be contacted by their program director or Study Abroad Advisor regarding any additional paperwork, next steps, or to schedule a group meeting.
- UF Exchange: The Study Abroad Advisor will now nominate the student to study with our exchange partner. Once nominated, the host institution will communicate with the student directly about next steps, which may include completing an application, obtaining paperwork necessary to apply for a visa, or submitting housing preferences.
- Non-UF Programs: The student has fulfilled all of the requirements for UF's application, and their Study Abroad Advisor can now complete any necessary approval forms for their program. If they have not already done so, each student should also complete an application for their chosen program provider or host institution. From this point on students will work with them directly. As such, it is your responsibility to understand their cancellation and refund policies as they relate to COVID-19.
- APPROVED: The program is approved to run, and students may begin planning for travel.
When can I purchase my flight tickets?
Once a student has been fully APPROVED, they may continue with their travel preparations, which may include: obtaining a visa, purchasing airfare, reserving lodging etc. However, we highly recommend that all students purchase additional travel insurance to help cover flight cancellation costs. Please understand that UF will not be able to refund any expenses (including but not limited to housing, flights and visa costs), in the event a program is cancelled at any time.
When will I be invoiced for the program fee?
Once the International Center has determined it is safe for travel, students will be moved from the ‘Conditionally Approved’ status to the ‘APPROVED’ status. At this point, students will receive an invoice from UFIC for their program fees. Please make sure you are aware of UFIC’s cancellation and withdrawal policies, as once a student’s application has been moved to ‘APPROVED’, they are now fee liable and may not withdraw without financial liability.
Will I need to provide a negative test for travel and/or self-quarantine upon arrival in my host country?
While it is difficult to predict what the COVID-19 situation will look like when a program begins, we expect each country and host school to have different policies and regulations regarding travel and quarantine. Students will be expected to fully comply with all host institution or country policies and regulations, including mandatory testing or vaccinations. We recommend that participants research their host country’s regulations and those of the airline they plan to use, as there may be different requirements set by each. Our Study Abroad Advisors can also provide some information regarding travel restrictions and rules for your program. Please note that if testing, vaccination and/or quarantine is obligatory, you may incur additional expenses.
Can I still engage in personal travel to other countries or regions during my study abroad program?
Travel this year will undoubtedly look different and it is important to recognize the additional hurdles students may have to go through in order to travel outside of their host country. While the International Center strongly advises against personal travel, please consider the following:
- Travel warnings and restrictions for your destination and any restrictions for return to your host country. We recommend that you look at and monitor the travel warnings listed by the U.S. Department of State and the CDC. You should also research COVID-19 testing information and local laws in place for your travel destination. Pertinent information regarding travel requirements, local curfews or quarantine mandates can be found on the U.S Embassy webpages for each country.
- There may be different travel restrictions depending on your mode of transportation. You may be required to provide a negative test to travel via train, bus, private car, plane, boat, etc.
- Border closures can happen at any time. It will be important to stay up to date with the local news for your host country and any other potential travel destinations and make appropriate decisions on personal travel. If cases are rising, borders may be shut down and you will not be able to re-enter your host country.
How can I get tested in my host country, so that I may re-enter the United States according to the regulations outlined by the CDC Testing Order?
On January 12th, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order requiring a negative COVID-19 test for all air passengers entering the United States. All passengers entering the U.S. are required to get a viral test (test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight for the U.S. departs and provide written documentation of the laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19.
Students participating in UF Sponsored programs should familiarize themselves with testing availability in their host city. In many cases, our partners abroad will also be able to assist students in finding viable testing locations. Additionally, the International Center is working with Faculty Directors to explore testing locations abroad. Please note that testing for your return flight is not included in your program fee.
Students participating in Exchanges or Non-UF Programs should discuss testing availability and resources with their partner school/provider. Students can also contact their Study Abroad Advisor with any questions or concerns.
Should I register for classes at UF as a backup plan? Will I be able to withdraw from those courses without being fee liable, if my program runs as planned?
Students should register for coursework at UF as a backup plan. Once they are approved by all parties for their study abroad program and hear from their Study Abroad Advisor, they can drop the UF courses they have registered for without penalty. All courses must be dropped by the UF drop/add deadline in order not to be fee liable, as indicated on the UF Registrar website.
If I sign up for housing in UF’s residence halls and end up studying abroad, can I get out of my UF housing contract?
According to the UF Housing Terms and Conditions for 2020-2021, “Students participating in an internship, co-op or study abroad activity for which they will receive University course credit, or fulfilling a requirement of their University degree; in such instances Student may cancel this Agreement without a cancellation fee provided that Student supplies appropriate documentation (as determined by the Department) substantiating the relevant circumstances.” Your Study Abroad Advisor can provide such documentation upon request.