Study Abroad FAQ Related to COVID-19

Tufts Global Education will update this FAQ as needed.

Tufts Global Education administers our own study abroad programs called “Tufts Programs Abroad,” and we also support students on “External Programs,” where students take a leave of absence from Tufts and enroll with partner programs either through other academic institutions or program providers. Please note the difference as we answer questions related to the Coronavirus outbreak and any related program communication. (Updated March 31, 2020.)

If you are looking for general guidance and advice on COVID-19 for the Tufts Community, please visit go.tufts.edu/coronavirus.

 
Can I travel or study abroad on an external program this summer 2020?

Unfortunately, we have had to make the decision to halt all summer program approvals due to the U.S. Department of State raising the Global Health Advisory to Level 4 (“Do not travel”), as well as current Tufts University international travel policies. We will not be granting authorization to study abroad this summer. We are rescinding all previous authorizations for external study abroad, and will not accept transfer of credit for these programs.

How do you approach risk?

The safety of our students is the highest priority, and all decisions about program cancellations are made with this commitment. Tufts follows the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory and Center for Disease Control Warning levels and alerts. If a country, city, or region within a country is elevated to a level 3 or 4, we immediately review the situation in detail and assess the impact to our students and staff in detail and on a case-by-case basis. This assessment includes information from our local staff, our international assistance provider, International SOS, and the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC); we also work with peers and partners through PULSE, a network of international health and safety professionals in higher education. This assessment determines the impact on a program and our ability to mitigate issues related to health and safety.

How do you decide whether a program get suspended or cancelled?

There are many logistical and academic factors, including travel restrictions, that must be taken into account when evaluating whether a program can safely and successfully run. We closely monitor all of our Tufts Programs Abroad locations. Should a change in the current safety and security climate arise, we will immediately review the situation in detail and assess the impact to our students and staff in detail and on a case-by-case basis. This assessment includes information from our local staff, our international assistance provider, International SOS, and the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC); we also work with peers and partners through PULSE, a network of international health and safety professionals in higher education. This assessment determines the impact on a program and our ability to mitigate issues related to health and safety.

In the event that we come to the conclusion that we cannot provide a safe and successful experience to our students, we immediately notify our students and any home institutions, while our on-site staff ensure the safety and well-being of our students. Measures may include relocating students out of a high-risk area, advice to shelter-in-place, or to gather at a safe haven. At the same time, we are also working to determine how students can complete their academic requirements if they are required to leave their on-site program. We are in close and constant contact with our impacted students, our Advising team at Tufts, and home institutions.

I was abroad spring 2020 and I need additional support or have more specific questions; whom should I contact? 
When is the deadline to submit my request for a study abroad leave of absence for an external program?

The deadline for fall and full year is April 30th (with fall 2020 study abroad being suspended), and for spring it is November 15th.

Will I be charged the study elsewhere fee once I have submitted my leave of absence request for an external program? 

Study elsewhere fees will be assessed to student accounts as part of the bill for the term of study abroad. Prior to the start of the semester, in the event a student chooses to withdraw from their program, the program being cancelled by the provider, or Tufts electing to no longer support study abroad in that term, the fee will be credited back to the student’s account. However, once the semester has begun, this fee will no longer be eligible to be credited back to students.

Update: Tufts Global Education has made the difficult decision to cancel study abroad for Tufts students this summer and fall 2020. 

Tufts Global Education has consulted with students, our staff abroad, international partners, study abroad providers, peer institutions, government agencies, and various offices at Tufts in order to plan for fall study abroad. Unfortunately, it is with great disappointment that we have made the difficult decision to cancel study abroad for the fall 2020 semester. This includes all external (Non-Tufts) study abroad programs, Tufts in Madrid, Tufts in Paris, Tufts in Tübingen, Tufts in London, Tufts in Beijing, Tufts in Ghana, Tufts in Chile, and Tufts in Japan. We plan to offer these programs during the spring 2021 semester and, in most cases, students will have the opportunity to defer their enrollment to the spring term. Our goal is to move forward with spring plans, but we are also aware that circumstances may shift and you may decide that going abroad will not work with your plans for second semester.

I was planning to study abroad at Tufts University as a J-1 exchange student through the Tufts Global Education exchange program. Now that Tufts is not hosting exchanges in the fall 2020, may I defer to spring 2021 or another year? 

Yes, at this time we are working towards creating a spring 2021 option for our J-1 exchange students. If you wish to defer to another year, please discuss with your home institution.

Can I study abroad during my senior year? 

Yes, it is usually possible to be granted an exception to the Residence Requirement to study abroad during your final two semesters at Tufts. This is easiest during the fall semester of your senior year through a Tufts Program Abroad, as such a semester would be considered ‘in-residence’, but is usually also possible through an external program (with permission from your Advising Dean). Please be aware that studying abroad during the spring semester of your senior year, while possible, will almost certainly delay your graduation date. However, you may feel that this is an acceptable trade-off so that you can have the study-abroad experience you wish to have.

My program provider has not cancelled for fall 2020; am I able to continue my participation regardless of Tufts’s decision? 

No, at this time Tufts University has cancelled all participation in fall study abroad. If students decide to go abroad through an external study abroad program against the University’s decision, they will not receive transfer of credit for study abroad, there will be no Tufts connection or support, no International SOS, and no international health insurance.  We will not be approving leaves of absence for external (Non-Tufts) programs. If your LOA was approved earlier, we have reversed the status in SIS and notified the Registrar. Also, we will be notifying program providers of the University’s decision, so any home-school approval forms that may have been previously submitted will be rescinded.

If I wish to defer my fall external program to spring, what do I need do?  

You will need to speak with the program provider to see what options are available to you. Should you be able to defer your participation until spring, you will need to have a new home- school approval form completed and be prepared to submit a Leave of Absence request through SIS by the spring deadline of October 1st.

I was scheduled to participate in an external program for fall. I have paid my application fee and deposit to the provider; how would I request a refund? 

Students who have made payments for their programs should speak with their providers to inquire about current refund policies and procedures.

I am an international student and need to remain in my home country in fall 2020 and study at a local institution; is this possible? 

You should speak with your Advising Dean, your International Center advisor, and your faculty advisor to help determine the best course of action for your academic plan. Please contact us if you are unable to take courses through Tufts. If you need to remain in your home country of record (corresponding to your permanent address in SIS), you may study at a local degree-granting institution to earn credit toward your Tufts degree. We will be sharing more details soon once Tufts University has announced decisions about fall plans.

Do you plan to operate and allow for study abroad in spring 2021? 

At present, we continue to monitor the evolving situation across the globe and hope to run our programs safely and responsibly in spring 2021. However, we must place our students’ health and safety above all else and will need to be responsive to unpredictable conditions in the face of this global pandemic. We have communicated directly with students on the many factors that must be considered and have offered the following information and guidance for applicants:

  • We recommend that all students planning to study abroad in spring 2021 register for on-campus classes and consider securing spring housing as a back-up;

  • Students should not book any nonrefundable flights for study abroad from this point forward.

 

If my spring 2021 Tufts Program Abroad is canceled or suspended, will I be refunded the $350 deposit? 

Given the uncertainty surrounding study abroad for spring 2021, we want to assure applicants of two things: 1) if circumstances warrant suspension or cancellation of the program in which you have enrolled, the $350 deposit can simply be applied to on-campus tuition charges and will not be forfeited; 2) enrolled students can withdraw from their program by September 15 for spring and the $350 will simply be applied to on-campus tuition charges and will not be forfeited. If withdrawal occurs after such dates, the $350 deposit will be forfeited and, depending on when our office is notified of withdrawal, additional expenditures that have been made on your behalf by the program may be charged to your Bursar account.

How do I contact Tufts Global Education for more information on studying abroad in the future? 

Our staff is available for individual online or telephone advising sessions throughout the summer and we will continually update our website with future virtual events. Please contact Melissa Newton (melissa.newton@tufts.edu) for more information on Tufts Programs Abroad and Scott Langevin (scott.langevin@tufts.edu) for External Study Abroad Programs to arrange a meeting. If you are already enrolled in a Tufts Program Abroad for spring 2021, please feel free to reach out to each Resident Director in your country program. We will be announcing general information sessions and program information sessions starting in early fall. For general inquiries, please email global education@tufts.edu.