FAQs for Study Abroad

For Spring 2022 Study Abroad

Booster Required for Spring 2022 Study Abroad


What is the status of Spring study abroad?

The University is moving forward with study abroad for the spring 2022 semester. Since the beginning of the pandemic, NDI’s health and safety and study abroad teams have been closely monitoring our program locations around the world and keeping in touch with our partner institutions who will be our hosts. With the continued rollout of the vaccines in the United States and increasingly abroad, coupled with the improving public health situations in many of our host countries, the University is optimistic that students can have a healthy and meaningful experience abroad, though different than what students may normally expect.

With the global pandemic ongoing, however, a study abroad program may still be canceled by a partner institution or provider or due to foreign governmental restrictions for reasons beyond Notre Dame’s control. Students will be notified immediately of any changes in the health and safety situations or in their host institution’s policies or offerings.

Can I register for on campus courses for the Spring semester just in case spring study abroad will be canceled?

No, you will not be able to register for spring semester courses on campus because you are committed to study abroad. You will follow instructions from your program directors or host institutions regarding your spring registration when it is time to do so.

Should I purchase my flight or book travel?

Students should NOT purchase their flights nor book any other travel until directed by their study abroad program director.

Should I apply for on-campus housing?

Since you are committed to studying abroad and we are moving forward with spring study abroad, you will be unable to apply for on-campus housing. You can do so only if your program is canceled or if you withdraw from your study abroad program.

Can I defer my acceptance to a future semester?

If your program is canceled, you may be given the option to defer your acceptance to a subsequent semester/year, provided that spaces are available.

Will I have to pay a withdrawal fee if I withdraw from my program?

A withdrawal fee will be charged unless your program is canceled. See the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy.

If my parents are concerned, is there someone they can talk to regarding their questions?

Study Abroad staff are prepared to answer your parents’ questions. Notre Dame International also has a full-time international travel and safety professional who is available for consultation. If you would like to schedule an appointment to go over any concerns or questions about the program, please email studyabroad@nd.edu or contact your program director directly. You may also find more information for parents on this webpage.

Health, Safety, and Travel

Visit our Health and Safety page for more information about managing your risk during international travel and campus resources to support your international experience.

Why is NDI hosting study abroad programs in locations with DOS and CDC travel advisories at Level 4?

For the past several months, NDI’s health and safety personnel, the study abroad team, and our global gateway and center staff around the world have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting the countries where we host study abroad programs. In addition to monitoring the CDC, the Department of State (DOS) and the International SOS travel advisories, we also consult closely with medical and health experts and track a number of other indicators to assess risks and inform our decisions. Some of those metrics include the local infection rates, 7-14 day COVID case rates, mortality rates, hospital capacity, WHO efficiency of care, local vaccination rates, flight availability, and entry requirements, among others. We believe the recent elevation of some countries from a level 3 to a level 4 by the CDC and DOS reflects the surge in COVID cases in these countries, and we expect to see these levels continue to fluctuate in the coming months as vaccine rollouts continue abroad.

At the same time, we do not believe these travel advisory levels are reflective of the actual threat to our students, who are fully-vaccinated. In addition, over the past few months, our gateways and centers have developed policies and protocols that outline detailed plans to provide for students' safety during their experience abroad. For the programs that we decided to run this fall, we are confident that with our students all fully vaccinated and following local and University health and safety protocols, coupled with the improving public health situations in many of our host countries, our students can have a safe, healthy, and meaningful experience abroad.

Will my study abroad experience look different?

Students will be expected to follow the requirements of the University, their program and host country regarding COVID-19 health and safety, which may include restrictions on gatherings, travel and mobility that can change at any time. Notre Dame may also institute additional requirements or restrictions if the COVID-19 situation warrants it.

For now, students should not plan on extensive travel outside of their host country during your program, and be prepared to spend the entire semester within their host country’s borders—and possibly even your campus or housing. Even if travel from the host country is legally permissible and allowed by your program administrators, our gateways and centers may advise against it. Sudden border closures could mean an inability to return to your study site and continue your studies as planned. Instead, you should wait until after your program has concluded at the end of the semester to conduct personal travel or to have others like family and friends to visit you (tourists are not permitted entry to many countries at this time). Also, your cultural enrichment activities may be adjusted slightly to accommodate the current COVID-19 situation where you may be.

Is it safe for me to go abroad?

There will always be inherent risks associated with international travel, and the ongoing pandemic makes international travel more complicated. However, we expect that our host countries and program partners will be prepared to receive foreign students in the spring.

As some people are comfortable taking on more risk than others, you should make your decision to study abroad in the spring after careful consideration of all available information, awareness of the risks, and how to best manage these risks. For example, the CDC is a valuable resource for advice and guidance as you assess your comfort level with the risks associated with travel and is one of many sources Notre Dame—and you as a traveler—need to consider. Other valuable resources include the US Department of State, International SOS and COVID-19 information published on the US Embassy homepage of your host country (for a full list, see here).

While NDI has worked hard to identify strong partners abroad who can mitigate some risks, Notre Dame cannot guarantee a COVID- or disease-free environment at any program, just like it cannot on the Main Campus. This means that each traveler must familiarize themselves with the risks, assess their comfort level with an experience abroad, and be willing to take responsibility for their own personal risk management.

Please take advantage of your Study Abroad staff, who are prepared to answer your questions. NDI also has a full-time international travel and safety professional who is available for consultation. If you would like to schedule an appointment to go over any concerns or questions about the program, please email studyabroad@nd.edu or contact your program director directly. Also, we encourage students to take advantage of Notre Dame's partnership with International SOS and call their assistance center at any time to ask questions about your destination or any health or safety concerns you may have prior to departure.

How will NDI prepare me to go abroad during this time?

NDI has staff both in the US and at our global gateways and centers abroad who will help you prepare for your time abroad. In addition, we closely work with our partner institutions who will also be able to provide on-site support in locations where NDI does not have a presence. We will be providing students with a series of virtual pre-departure orientation sessions, starting several months in advance, and continuing until close to your arrival day.

Is the COVID-19 vaccination required to study abroad?

On April 7, 2021, the University announced that it will require all students – undergraduate, graduate, and professional – to be fully vaccinated as a condition of enrollment for the 2021–22 academic year. Therefore, all students who participate in study abroad programs in 2021-2022 are expected to be fully vaccinated before they go abroad. Vaccination information is available at covid.nd.edu.

While the University allows approved exemptions for students to continue to enroll at Notre Dame, the exemptions will not apply to study abroad programs. In other words, all students must be fully vaccinated in order to study abroad. At this time there is no end in sight with the pandemic. And increasingly more and more countries are imposing significant new restrictions on individuals who are not yet vaccinated, and these restrictions can make it difficult or even impossible to operate certain programs as we have in the past. Accordingly, the University has made the difficult but necessary determination that unvaccinated students (regardless of whether they have received an exemption from the University) will not be permitted to study abroad in the spring 2022 semester. If students are not fully vaccinated, students will be withdrawn from study abroad for spring 2022.

Is a COVID test required for entering the host country? How should I prepare for this?

Students will receive important details from their Study Abroad program directors in the lead up to their departure about pre-departure testing requirements for entry to their host country. If a COVID test is required, students are responsible for fulfilling these requirements by:

  1. Finding a testing location of their choice,
  2. Scheduling and paying (if necessary) for their own test,
  3. Confirming the turnaround time to receive their test results so they can check in and board their flight and enter the host country (*this is often 24-48 hours), and
  4. Ensuring they have the proper information on their test result documentation (i.e. full name, date of birth, test type, date/time sample taken, results, etc.) required for entry by the host country (please note this differs from country to country).

If a student is delayed in transit to their host country and their pre-departure test expires (not allowing entry), students should immediately communicate with their Study Abroad program director and work directly with the airline to be re-booked and get another COVID test that meets the requirements for entry to their host country.

If you have had a positive COVID test within the past 90 days before departure, please inform your Study Abroad program director as entry requirements, airline requirements and documentation may differ.

If you test positive for COVID immediately before your departure and are unable to travel because you have not yet recovered and cleared by a medical professional to travel, contact your Study Abroad program director immediately.

Any pre-departure COVID tests that are required to board international flights and/or enter your host country (transit countries too if layovers cannot be avoided) are the responsibility of the student and not the University of Notre Dame or NDI.

Can I get a visa to go abroad?

Every country's visa requirements, process, and timeline are different, and Notre Dame has no control over these factors. Acquiring a visa may take longer than usual, so you will need to work closely with your study abroad program director and be extra-diligent in the application process.

Students should be aware that you may need to incur expenses related to getting your visa and these expenses may be lost and are not refundable by Notre Dame or the agency that issued the visa in the event that a program is canceled.

Will I need proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter my host country or return to the United States?

Many countries, including the U.S., currently require travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 3 or less days of departure or evidence of recovery from a previous infection for entry. This is often regardless of your vaccination status. Since requirements vary from country to country and may change prior to your program dates, we encourage you to stay up to date on your host country's regulations. NDI will continue to monitor testing requirements leading up to the start of your programs, and will immediately notify students if they change. In any case, to avoid spreading or contracting COVID-19 in your travels, please plan to be extra cautious in the 14 days leading up to your departure for study abroad.

Please note that Notre Dame’s GeoBlue Insurance does not cover the cost of any pre-arrival or on-arrival tests (precautionary testing) that host countries may require for entry. These costs may be reimbursable through your primary (domestic) insurance, so it is important to check with your insurance company. For more information on GeoBlue Insurance and COVID-19 testing abroad, please see the question below.

What if I get sick (including testing positive for COVID-19) or injured while abroad?

All Notre Dame study abroad students are automatically enrolled and covered by GeoBlue medical insurance, which provides 100 percent coverage of reasonable medical expenses while abroad, among other benefits. Take the time to read and understand the GeoBlue insurance documents provided to you in the Study Abroad Portal and contact your advisor with any questions.

Should you get sick (including testing positive for COVID-19) or injured while abroad, immediately contact the appropriate staff at your host institution and seek medical care. Your host institution staff and International SOS can help arrange local medical care, if necessary. For any prolonged illness, Notre Dame, International SOS, and your host will remain in communication throughout to support you to the greatest degree possible. Please note that due to the ongoing pandemic and current travel restrictions, you may not be able to return to your home country right away after testing positive for COVID-19 and you may not be able to have a family member quickly join you in your host country.

Will I need to quarantine upon arrival in my host country?

It depends on the host country and what travel restrictions that are in place leading up to the start of your program. Please note that quarantine means different things in different countries and may or may not be required. In some locations, a quarantine may be in a government-arranged facility or hotel with prescribed meals and no ability to leave your room until released. In other locations, you may be asked to self-quarantine in your own accommodations. It is very important to follow all quarantine requirements. In most cases, violators are subject to fines or criminal prosecution. Notre Dame cannot assist if you incur penalties for breaking your quarantine.

Recently, some countries begin to exempt fully vaccinated travelers from on-arrival quarantine; however, it is still too early to tell whether or not these quarantine exemptions will be in place for the start of the spring semester and for which host countries. NDI will continue to monitor travel restrictions and entry requirements leading up to the start of and during your programs, and will immediately notify students if they change.

Do I need to sign any special documents for study abroad during COVID-19?

All students who participate in NDI study abroad programs are required to acknowledge and agree to financial, withdrawal, cancellation, and refund policies prior to participation. Students are also required to attest that they are either fully vaccinated. In addition, students are required to sign the COVID-19 Safe Travels Pledge before departure. Please review all signature documents in your Study Abroad Portal and talk to your program director if you have questions or concerns.

What if my school or program shuts down after I arrive?

We have worked with each school or partner abroad to ensure contingency plans if in-person classes cannot continue or must be paused. In most if not all cases, you can expect to be allowed to complete the semester virtually. NDI will work with colleges on campus to support you as needed and we will do our best to help you complete your semester once it’s started.