Health Advisories

impact of COVID-19 on study abroad programs

Education Abroad (EA) is monitoring the impact of the pandemic through regular contact with partner organizations and institutions abroad. As the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, please refer to the Niner Nation Cares website for more information about the virus, precautions you can take, and the most up-to-date information from the University. 

If you believe you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please seek medical care as soon as possible and contact the University’s Student Health Center at 704-687-7400.

For more information about the precautions UNC Charlotte is taking this semester, learn more on Niner Nation Cares website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Study Abroad Moving Forward

Will abroad programs be offered while we are still in a global pandemic?

  • Currently, UNC Charlotte intends to continue offering in-person programming abroad for Fall 2022 and the foreseeable future in countries that meet specific criteria. However, in addressing this crisis, we know that situations and circumstances can change rapidly. Education Abroad (EA) is committed to keeping students apprised of any modification to their education abroad programs.
  • Note that there is a University requirement for all international travelers to petition for an exception to the UNC System's Travel Restriciton policy. EA will communicate the petition process for international travel to all approved applicants within a few months of their departure for the host site/country. 
    •  Each campus endorses this exception through a petition process to the University Chancellor or their designee. At UNC Charlotte, EA receives a recommendation from the Study Abroad Petition Committee for each host country in which UNC Charlotte students will study . This committee’s members are:
      • Robert Jones, M.D., UNC Charlotte Medical Director
      • Amy Kelso, Senior Associate General Counsel
      • Joël Gallegos, Assistant Provost for International Programs
      • Elizabeth Lorenz, Assistant Director, Education Abroad
      • Brad Sekulich, Director, Education Abroad
  • For each study destination, the committee considers:
  • Education Abroad monitors this data regularly and will update the Committee on any significant changes in the course of COVID activity in a host country. As we have emphasized throughout the pandemic, the impacts of COVID-19 are unpredictable and can change in a short period of time. Approval for University endorsed travel can be amended quickly based on the virus’s effects within a country. For this reason, we have continually recommended trip cancellation insurance for all participants.
  • EA will communicate if the the critiera for future programming has updated after application deadlines for that semester abroad. Students planning on studying abroad this should check their application in the EA Portal and their UNC Charlotte email for further updates from Education Abroad. 

How can study abroad applicants prepare academically in the event that their study abroad program is canceled?

  • As students prepare for their upcoming term abroad, EA encourages those not yet approved through the petition process outlined above to remain enrolled in courses at UNC Charlotte in their degree plan until Education Abroad instructs students to drop their courses. We recommend discussing an academic plan for the intended semester abroad with their academic advisor as soon as possible so that they are prepared in the event that we do need to alter that term's programming. These courses can be dropped prior to the start of the intended term abroad so that we may enroll students in the appropriate study abroad course. Should the COVID-19 crisis continue and future study abroad programming must be modified or canceled, these students will have assurance of enrollment in their courses on campus and will continue to make progress toward their degree.

What other recommendations does EA have for study abroad students regarding study abroad expenses?

  • At the moment, EA does not recommend or advise students not yet approved through the petition process outlined above to make any non-refundable deposits (i.e. airline tickets, housing accommodations, etc) for their program. In the case of program cancellation, UNC Charlotte will be unable to reimburse students for those costs. However, in the event future study abroad programs are canceled prior to departure, we will refund any administrative fees paid directly to EA. Students should communicate with their affiliate provider and/or host institution to understand cancellation deadlines and refund policies for their specific program. 
  • EA strongly recommends that students planning to study abroad for a future term invest in “Cancel for Any Reason” Insurance. Knowing that circumstances can and do abruptly change during the COVID-19 pandemic, such insurance will help in the recovery of costs for any expenses incurred. However, EA still strongly recommends that students wait to incur any expenses until we confirm with the student that they will be permitted to continue with their study abroad plans.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required to study abroad?

  • There is currently no UNC System requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine to study abroad. However, many nations and countries are passing restrictive policies on vaccine requirements that will make it very difficult or impossible to study abroad without the vaccine. Additionally, many host institutions and affiliate providers are currently requiring the vaccine. With these developments, EA highly recommends students are fully vaccinated to study abroad.