Prospective Semester Study Abroad Students
Will I be able to study abroad during the Spring 2021 Semester?
Student safety and security remain our top priority as we continue to navigate the unprecedented conditions created by the global pandemic. HPU has continuously monitored, evaluated, and held extensive discussions about the many factors associated with study abroad for Spring semester. With student safety in mind, the difficult decision has been made to suspend semester-long study abroad programs for the Spring 2021 semester.
We understand that this news is disappointing. We admire the commitment of our students in pursuing the important global life skills and academic insights cultivated through study abroad. Please know that High Point University and the Office of Global Education did not take this decision lightly.
Many sources were consulted in the decision-making process, including:
- The U.S. Department of State, who currently advises U.S. citizens to reconsider international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. It has issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory for all countries scheduled to host HPU students in Spring 2021.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who maintain a Level 3: COVID-19 Risk Is High advisory for all countries scheduled to host HPU students in Spring semester 2021. This advisory recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel and states that COVID-19 risk is high in all countries scheduled to host HPU students in Spring semester 2021.
- International SOS, HPU’s global health and safety management partner, who recommends against “non-essential” international travel.
Challenging travel logistics were also a factor in our decision. These challenges include entry and exit restrictions for various host countries, quarantine requirements upon arrival, limited availability of international flights, uncertainty about visa processing, limitations on independent travel and extracurricular activities, and potential for sudden lockdowns and academic disruptions due to increasing local infection rates. HPU also continues to prohibit university-related travel through the end of the Spring semester.
I’ve already been nominated to study abroad for the Spring 2021 Semester. Can I defer my nomination to the Fall 2021 Semester?
In most cases, yes. Please contact the Office of Global Education for details. We are available to meet with you Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm. Email Mr. Ferguson or Dr. Palis or call 336.841.9280 to schedule an appointment. Students who are approved to defer to the Fall Semester will need to complete a new set of course approvals.
Will I receive a refund of my semester study abroad application fee since my Spring semester study abroad program was suspended prior to departure?
Yes. Since your program was suspended prior to departure, a refund of your application fee paid to HPU will be refunded. Spring 2021 semester-long study abroad students will receive a full refund of their application fee unless they contacted the Office of Global Education by Friday, October 23rd, and requested to defer their application to a future semester. Students who are approved to defer to a future semester will need to complete a new set of course approvals.
Will I be able to study abroad during the Fall 2021 Semester?
We hope so! The application deadline for Fall 2021 semester study abroad is March 15, 2021. Please begin the application process by reviewing program options in the ViaTRM study abroad portal and by making an advisement meeting with Mr. Chris Ferguson, our Senior Study Abroad Advisor. Applications will officially open around the start of the Spring semester.
What factors will impact the decision on whether Fall 2021 semester study abroad is allowed to move forward?
The Department of State currently advises U.S. citizens to reconsider international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. It has issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory for all countries scheduled to host HPU students in Spring 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a Level 3: COVID-19 Risk Is High advisory for all countries scheduled to host HPU students in Spring 2021. The lowering of these advisories is a prerequisite for any university-sponsored international travel to take place. High Point University will also be utilizing resources provided by International SOS, an industry leader in global health and safety management, in addition to advice provided by partner universities about health and safety precautions, socially-distanced housing options, measures to contain COVID outbreaks on their campuses, and course delivery methods. Information will also be sourced from local and national governments about entry restrictions for U.S. citizens, quarantine requirements for travelers arriving from abroad, local infection rates, and restrictions on daily activity.
Should I create a back-up plan in case semester study abroad programs are suspended?
Absolutely, yes. Students hoping to spend a semester abroad should make a back-up plan to remain on campus at HPU if student mobility is suspended. This back-up plan must include registration for a full course schedule and for campus housing. If study abroad is approved, students will be provided an opportunity to withdraw from their back-up courses and housing prior to departure.
What happens if I’m approved to study abroad during Fall 2021 but my program is canceled midway through the semester?
High Point University will work with your host university to determine how you will complete the semester. In most cases, students would remain enrolled at the host university, although classes would be completed remotely from the comfort of your home. Students would return home as quickly as possible once the departure order is made by HPU. In order to limit the financial impact of returning home mid-semester, HPU recommends booking flights that offer flexible ticket change or cancellation policies, along with purchasing “cancel for any reason” trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance should be purchased concurrently or soon after flights are purchased. Students are responsible for paying for their own flights to and from their host universities. Application fees are non-refundable if a student withdraws from a program prior to HPU suspending study abroad or if the program begins as planned and is suspended during the term.
Prospective Global Experience “Maymester” Study Abroad Students
Will I be able to study abroad on a 2021 Global Experience “Maymester” Program?
We are cautiously optimistic. Global Experience “Maymester” Program applications opened on October 1st, 2020. The deadline for applications is November 20th, 2020. The Office of Global Education plans to review applications, issue acceptances, and finalize program rosters by the end of the calendar year. Final decisions will be made on study abroad travel at least 90 days prior to departure to ensure all program fees, including application fees, are refunded if we have to cancel the trips. Unfortunately, program fees are non-refundable if a student withdraws from a program prior to HPU suspending “Maymester” study abroad or if the program begins as planned and is suspended while abroad.
Will 2021 Global Experience “Maymester” Programs be different than in previous years?
Yes and no. The programs will be the same in that the groups will be led by expert HPU faculty members in partnership with education travel companies or partner institutions. The same focus on immersive, experiential-based activities and innovative, challenging course delivery, paired with excellent health and safety protocols, will be in place on all of the trips. While much will be the same, we can expect some differences, too. Local restrictions on group size and requirements for social-distancing could impact the way we complete our field activities. Likewise, we can expect some of the free-time activities to be curtailed, including our ability to dine out, visit museums, and attend performing arts. We are confident that these small sacrifices will not take away for our ability to provide an enriching experience abroad.
Will 2021 Global Experience “Maymester” Program courses be taught during the Spring Semester or as May-Term courses?
All 2021 “Maymester” courses will be taught as May-Term courses. Many of our programs (Marketing in Spain, Placing Sicily, etc.) have always been taught as May-Term courses so this method of course delivery is not new to HPU. However, in order to avoid students enrolling in a Spring Semester course starting in January, only to get their trip component cancelled mid-way through the semester, the decision was made to move all programs to May-Term. Again, we’re cautiously optimistic that programs WILL run in May/June 2021, but in order to protect students from a disrupted Spring Semester, study abroad courses will not begin until the May-Term 2021.
ALL Prospective Study Abroad Students
Does HPU require a comprehensive international insurance plan?
Your health and safety is our top priority. All students traveling abroad on official university programs will be enrolled in a comprehensive international medical insurance plan and risk management program. The premium for this plan, $325 per semester or $220 per Global Experience “Maymester” program, will be billed to your student account as the International Health and Safety Fee. This is a two-part plan: the international medical insurance component is provided through GeoBlue; the risk management program is provided through International SOS. Students will be provided full details about the comprehensive plan during pre-departure orientation, including details on how to arrange treatment due to illness, register all international travel, access mental health assistance, and take advantage of safety and security resources prior to departure and during your time abroad.