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Global Education & COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Decision Making

Yes. ASU is currently moving forward with a number of Global Education programs in destinations where student mobility from the United States remains possible.

Students interested in a Global Education program, but who are unable to travel should consider one of our fully online Global Education programs.


ASU previously cancelled all Spring and Summer 2020 Global Education programs. Programs starting Fall 2020 and beyond are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis; should any program be cancelled, all affected students will be contacted ASU email.

ASU takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State and our international security intelligence providers. When making decisions about specific programs, we also consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners. Prior to cancelling any Global Education program, we first explore all viable alternatives, including relocating the program to another destination.

Decisions regarding program cancellation are made on a program-by-program basis, whether by ASU or our partner institutions/program providers. Because of the fluidity of the situation, ASU has not established specific dates on which decisions will be made for programs in a particular term or in a given country.

Program Cancellation/ Withdrawal

Financial Implications

Students will be subject to the terms of the applicable Payment and Withdrawal Policies, which holds students responsible for any non-recoverable costs paid or committed by the Global Education Office (GEO) on the student's behalf prior to program cancellation. If your program is cancelled for any reason after it starts, it is highly unlikely any refunds will be available. While ASU will do its best to provide refunds as feasible, ASU will not be responsible for any personal expenses or losses incurred as a result of program cancellation (including, but not limited to, airfare, passport and visa fees). In addition, we will provide as much support as we can to ensure the students’ ability to expeditiously depart the host country.

GEO will work with all students who received a GEO Travel Grant or Global Education Diversity Scholarship for a program that has been cancelled. Students should work with their International Coordinator for more specific details.

Learn about Trip Cancellation/Cancel for Any Reason Insurance.


Academic Implications

How students would receive credit for their program coursework if the program is cancelled will depend on the program and the timing of program cancellation. If the program is cancelled before it begins, it may not be possible for students to complete the program coursework. However, depending on the program, it is possible that students would be presented the option to complete their program coursework online. If the program is cancelled while it is in progress, ASU will make every effort to ensure that students can maintain progress towards their degree and complete their academic work. Again, the specifics of how this would work will depend on the specific program, courses, and the timing of program cancellation.

The Global Education Office (GEO) will directly contact students with updates via email. GEO reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the ASU community can find updates related to COVID-19 on this page, and at https://eoss.asu.edu/health/announcements/coronavirus.

ASU understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions will be made between a student and his/her/their family. Global Education participants will be subject to the terms of the Payment and Withdrawal Policies that they signed within their online application. Whether the decision is made before or after the program begins, students should contact the Global Education Office (GEO) for coordination assistance as soon as a decision has been made, and should notify their academic advisor of their choice as well. If a student chooses to leave a program already in progress and return home, we respect that decision. GEO will work with our partners to try to support the student’s completion of their work with that program, but awarding of academic credit will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.

Learn about Trip Cancellation/Cancel for Any Reason Insurance.

You will need to consult with your academic advisor, department, or program director to see what alternatives may be available to fulfill the requirements of your major.

The Global Education Office (GEO) will work with University leadership, our insurance provider(s), host universities, and program providers to facilitate faculty, staff, and students' return to the United States as quickly as possible. GEO will communicate with emergency contacts in the event of an abrupt, unexpected departure, as appropriate. Every effort will be made to ensure that you can maintain progress towards your degree and complete your academic work. GEO, however, cannot guarantee that ANY portion of your program fee will be refunded in this scenario.

Travel Logistics

You can still apply for a new or renewed U.S. passport, but processing times are currently 8 weeks (for expedited processing) to 11 weeks (for routine processing). Due to anticipated delays, if you are planning on participating in a Global Education program outside the U.S., you are strongly encouraged to apply for a passport as soon as possible.

Refer to the U.S. State Department Update on U.S. Passport Operations for the most current information, and visit their Passport Agency and Center page to check on the status of passport agencies and centers. To see the current wait times to receive your passport and the return of your citizenship documents (such as previous passports and birth/naturalization certificates), please see the U.S. State Department’s Processing Times page.

The Global Education Office (GEO) strongly recommends that students purchase fully refundable airline tickets to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellation. GEO assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties.

This will depend on the host country’s entry requirements, airline requirements, or program provider/host institution protocols. The best places to find information on COVID-19 testing requirements in a specific country include: host country's Ministry of Health and government websites, U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices, and the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories.

Please note that the ASU Global Education Office will not pay for any COVID-19 test required for you to enter your host country. However, ASU offers free and easy drop-off COVID-19 PCR (saliva-based) tests to all students. More information on Devils' drop-off testing is available at https://devilsdropoff.asu.edu/. Alternatively, ASU students can schedule a free COVID-19 PCR test through https://biodesign.asu.edu/research/clinical-testing/testing.

Given the rapidly changing landscape of COVID-related travel restrictions, ASU is unable to communicate directly to students every time a country changes its COVID-related entry requirements or other restrictions. However, there are a number of resources students and their families can consult for the most updated information regarding the COVID-19 landscape in the program location(s). For example:

  • 30 days prior to the published program start date, students will be enrolled in ASU’s AlertTraveler system and will receive an email invitation to download and activate the AlertTraveler app. At that point, students will begin receiving alerts from AlertTraveler about incidents that might impact their travel plans (including changes to COVID restrictions in-country).
  • All students participating in a Global Education program outside of the United States should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to traveling. After doing so, students will receive updates from the U.S. State Department.
  • All travelers should regularly consult resources like the U.S. State Department’s COVID-19 country-specific information, the website of the U.S. Embassy in the program country, and the CDC’s COVID-19 travel recommendations.

Yes. Prior to returning to the United States, students will be required to take a PCR test and provide a negative test result before boarding a return flight. Current U.S. government policy (as of the date this page was last updated) requires incoming travelers to take that test within one day of departure. Students returning from any ASU Global Education program must follow the most current ASU travel guidance, which may include getting a PCR test after travel and staying home and self-quarantining for a number of days. Refer to the CDC’s guidelines for travel during COVID-19 – as well as the CDC's Travel Health Notices – for the latest guidance. Click here for state-by-state COVID-19 travel restrictions, guidelines and resources.

Student Experience

No. However, all participants will be provided a COVID-19 Disclosure within their online program application.

Students should anticipate that their experience abroad could be different than they may have originally imagined. Keep in mind the following as you set expectations for a term abroad:

  • Independent Travel: Independent travel outside of your program city and/or country may be limited. Country borders may be closed, quarantine measures may remain in place, and there may be sudden changes to countries' entry and exit requirements. Do not assume you will be able to travel outside of your host country.
  • Quarantine: Many countries around the world require incoming travelers to quarantine upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, you may be required to quarantine during your program in the event that you or another student (or faculty or staff member) are exposed to COVID-19.
  • Academic Experience: There may be sudden changes to the academic format of your program and additional rules/restrictions may be put in place within the classroom spaces. For example, programs or universities could implement a hybrid online/in-person format or could suspend in-person classes in case of a local COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • Social Experience: There may be local limitations on operating hours and capacity for various events, activities, and venues (including restaurants, museums, etc.). In addition, individuals may be required to provide proof of vaccination to engage in various in-country experiences (including entering facilities like restaurants or even university campus buildings).

The best places to find information on COVID-19 in a specific country include: host country's Ministry of Health and government websites, U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices, and the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories. Global Education Office program participants will also receive relevant updates via AlertTraveler.

This answer will depend on the program model, how far into the program this change occurs, and the contingency plans of program providers and host universities. The ASU Global Education Office will coordinate with academic departments to determine the best course of action in each specific case and will communicate information to students.

If a program converts to remote learning due to COVID-19, it is important to follow the guidance issued by the ASU Global Education Office and your host university or program provider.

Health and Safety Matters

While ASU strongly recommends that all participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Global Education Office does not require vaccinations in order to participate in any of our programs. However, the host country, airline or other transportation providers used, and the specific destinations visited on the program may have requirements regarding being vaccinated. Be sure to view the COVID-19 Considerations tab on your program brochure page for COVID-related information about your specific program.

No. While no one can guarantee the safety of students, faculty, or staff in any location (on campus, in the United States, or abroad), or eliminate all risks from traveling and participating in a Global Education program, ASU is committed to taking reasonable steps to minimize students’ exposure to risk while participating in a Global Education program. As long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the ASU Global Education Office will: 

  • Communicate the risk of travel abroad to students, faculty, and staff before departure; 
  • Ensure that all ASU students, faculty, and staff participating in a Global Education Office program are enrolled in an international medical insurance policy
  • Provide 24/7 emergency assistance for ASU students, faculty, and staff abroad; 
  • Provide COVID-19 related training and information to students, faculty, and staff; 
  • Encourage all students, faculty, and staff to register with the U.S. Department of State through the STEP program; 
  • Regularly review and assess host country requirements or restrictions related to COVID-19 and communicate updates to faculty, staff, and students; and
  • Provide students, faculty, and staff with details on locating resources and assistance in their host country.

ASU offers a wide variety of programs in many countries, and the impact of COVID-19 on each program and destination continues to evolve. As a result, the additional measures taken will vary by program and may need to be adjusted multiple times before departure or while the program is in progress. Examples of such additional measures, whether imposed by ASU or our on-the-ground partners, may include: 

  • Limiting capacity in student accommodations; 
  • Limiting capacity on program transportation;
  • Restricting guests in program housing;
  • Requiring face covering during program activities;
  • Maintaining appropriate physical distance during program activities;
  • Requiring a negative PCR test prior to travel (taken within 72 hours of the program start date); and
  • Limiting program and independent student travel outside the primary program location.

It depends on your program, your specific housing arrangements, and your insurance coverage. ASU has developed response protocols for our Faculty Directed and Global Intensive Experience programs; protocols for our Exchange and Partnership programs are established by our partner universities and program providers. Students with questions about a specific Partnership or Exchange program should contact the partner institution or program provider directly.

The CISI international insurance policy provided by ASU (to all international Faculty Directed, Global Intensive Experience, Exchange and Partnership program participants) can reimburse up to $4,500 for lodging, meals and incidentals should a medical authority require you to quarantine or self-isolate (for up to 14 days). If your program is located within the U.S., your own insurance policy may provide some applicable benefits - be sure to check with your insurance carrier.

Insurance Matters

The CISI insurance policy provided by ASU (to all international Faculty Directed, Global Intensive Experience, Exchange and Partnership program participants) covers testing and treatment for students diagnosed with COVID-19 or symptomatic students directed by a medical provider to receive a test and/or undergo treatment. The Global Education Office does not provide medical insurance coverage to students participating in Global Education programs within the U.S., so participants in these programs should consult with their own insurance carrier.

View ASU’s CISI policy details or read more info on CISI's policy related to COVID-19

If you become ill with COVID-19 and a medical evacuation is necessary, that evacuation will be covered by the CISI policy provided by ASU (to all international Faculty Directed, Global Intensive Experience, Exchange and Partnership program participants). The Global Education Office does not provide insurance coverage to students participating in Global Education programs within the U.S., so participants in these programs should consult with their own insurance carrier.

View CISI’s policy related to COVID-19 or view ASU’s CISI policy details

All students, regardless of program type, are strongly encouraged to purchase additional travel insurance in the event that the student’s program is canceled or if the student is recalled to the U.S. because of COVID-19 (since these events will not be covered by most international insurance policies). 

Learn about Trip Cancellation/Cancel for Any Reason Insurance.

Additional Information

Who can I contact about Global Education programs and COVID-19?

For questions related to a specific Global Education program or student, contact the ASU Global Education Office. Media inquiries should be directed to mediarelations@asu.edu.

What resources does ASU recommend for reliable updates regarding COVID-19?

  1. ASU Health Services 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Info
  3. CDC COVID-19 Travel Recommendations
  4. CDC Travelers' Health Info
  5. U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories
  6. U.S. Embassy in Host Country
  7. World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Info