How does COVID-19 impact study abroad programs?

Your safety and the safety of those around you are our top priority.  To reduce the spread of COVID-19 there are preventative strategies in place that are similar to what you experience on a day-to-day basis at the University of Oregon. In some cases, more stringent preventative measures may be in place, depending on your host country’s regulations.

Do I need to have had a COVID-19 vaccination to study abroad?

Depending on your host country’s requirements, you may be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. GEO will provide information about your host country’s regulations as needed, however, it is ultimately the responsibility of each program participant to ensure they are in compliance with their host country's requirements.

Following federal public health guidance, as of May 11, 2023, it is no longer a GEO requirement to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in a study abroad program. The University of Oregon highly recommends that students are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations following CDC guidance.

Please note that COVID-19 regulations can change at any time, so you are encouraged to travel with your CDC vaccination card. It is strongly recommended that you carry a copy of the front and back of your card on your phone, and to make a photocopy of the front and back of your card and carry a hard copy with you when traveling.

GEO policy aligns with the University of Oregon’s recommendations around vaccinations. More information about  COVID-19 vaccinations can be found on the CDC website and the Lane County Health and Human Services website.

I’m already fully vaccinated. Should I get a booster shot before studying abroad?

The CDC recommends that two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and booster dose(s) when eligible to be up to date.

It is possible that your host country may require booster shots for travelers who were fully vaccinated more than six months before entering the country. GEO will provide this information to you if this is the case, but it is up to the student to make sure they are in compliance with their host country's regulations.

Do I need to quarantine before and/or after a future study abroad program?

At this point, most countries have fully removed any quarantine requirements upon arrival. Your study abroad advisor can provide the requirements for your specific program location, however, each student is responsible for making themselves aware and complying with any entry requirements of their destination. If you test positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms while studying abroad, you should inform on-site staff and isolate for five days per CDC guidance.

The United States currently does not require or recommend that vaccinated travelers to the US from abroad quarantine upon arrival.

Do I need to take a COVID-19 test before and/or after a future study abroad program?

This depends on the host country, but at this time most countries have removed testing requirements. GEO will inform you if you do need to take a COVID-19 test before and/or after studying abroad, but it is ultimately the responsibility of each program participant to ensure they are in compliance with their host country's requirements.

What healthcare options are available to me during my study abroad program? What if I have emergency medical needs while abroad?

International health insurance is included in the study abroad fee. This insurance can help cover costs related to illness, including prescriptions, hospital stays, and, in serious cases, travel back to the student’s home country if medically advised. Testing for COVID-19 is covered only when determined to be medically necessary by a qualified healthcare provider, and not when required for travel or as a precaution when having been exposed to someone with COVID-19. This insurance is considered secondary insurance, and GEO strongly recommends that students keep their primary health insurance in the U.S. while they study abroad.

Do I need to wear a mask/face covering during a study abroad program?

Policies vary on a country-by-country basis. At this time, most countries have eliminated requirements around wearing masks except in healthcare settings and public transportation in some locations. You will receive more information about face coverings and other local guidance during your program orientation.

Do I need to budget extra money for testing, housing, and supplies for COVID-19?

Routine testing, such as after exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, is in most cases done at the student’s expense. 

If a student needs to isolate during the program due to COVID-19, travel insurance provided by GEO may cover some isolation-related expenses under certain circumstances with documentation of a positive test and expenses incurred. Be sure to alert on-site staff if you test positive or are symptomatic and stay home.

What if the country I am in restricts travel to my home while I am abroad?

Citizens have generally been permitted to travel back to their home countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. A slight risk of flight cancellations does exist. In those instances, students may experience travel delays or may need to travel home via a third country. In extreme cases, GEO would work with the U.S. Department of State (if you are a U.S. citizen) or your home country officials (if you are not a U.S. citizen), to help get you to your home country.

Can I travel to other countries on my free time during my study abroad program?

Yes, you are welcome to travel to other countries during the free time on your program. However, you are responsible for complying with any entry/exit requirements of the destination you are traveling to and your host country. Make sure you are actively monitoring regulations to ensure you do not get stuck during your travels and for making it back on time to participate in program activities.