Study Abroad Guidelines in response to COVID-19
At the University of North Texas, our top priority is always the health and safety of our students. UNT is actively monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 and the impact on our study abroad programs by working closely with local and state public health officials and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State.
When planning to study abroad in future terms, students should monitor advisories from UNT, the U.S. State Department, the CDC, local health officials in their destination, as well as from their host institution or organization to make an informed decision as to whether to travel abroad and what precautions to take while abroad. UNT updates are available at unt.edu/coronavirus.
Faculty Led Programs and Field Trips
The University of North Texas canceled all faculty led programs and field trips that were scheduled to depart the U.S. before May 10, 2021. Students and trip leaders impacted by this cancelation have been individually notified.
UNT is currently accepting applications for summer 2021 faculty led programs. A final decision to offer these programs will be made based on a variety of factors including the ability of travelers from the U.S. to enter the host country, availability of flights and visa processing services, self-isolation/self-quarantine requirements upon entry, local transportation disruptions and other personal and financial risks posed to travelers by COVID-19.
The timeline for a final decision on programs scheduled to depart after May 10, 2021 will be established based on confirmation deadlines and financial commitments.
Exchange and Affiliate Programs
UNT suspended all UNT-sponsored travel for the 2020 fall term, 2020-21 winter session, and 2021 spring term. However, requests to participate in exchange and affiliate programs for these terms were considered on a case-by-case basis.
UNT is currently accepting applications for spring and summer 2021 exchange and affiliate programs. Students participating in individual experiences through a provider or exchange partner are permitted to go with the understanding that they do so at their own risk. Any financial loss incurred because of travel or health issues related to COVID-19 will not be reimbursed by the Study Abroad Office or the University of North Texas. If UNT decides to suspend study abroad programs for the spring or summer 2021 term, students may have the option to request to participate on a case-by-case basis.
Students should consider:
- Passport and Visa Services: The current closure of passport offices and/or continued restrictions abroad may prevent students from obtaining a passport and/or visa (or residence permit) in time for travel.
- Entrance Restrictions: The ability to depart the U.S. and enter the destination country based on current travel restrictions.
- Flight Availability and Cancellation Penalties: Limited flight availability and the possibility of receiving only airline credit for cancelled flights.
- Testing and Quarantine Requirements on Arrival: Requirement of proof of negative COVID test results prior/upon arrival or a quarantine/self-isolation requirement on arrival.
- Local Restrictions: Limitations on free movement, public gatherings, classroom capacity, etc. The possibility that programs may be abruptly ended by the provider or host institution if local conditions worsen.
- Changing U.S. Travel Restrictions: U.S. guidelines may change while abroad, prohibiting students from returning to the U.S.
- Testing and Quarantine Requirements on Re-entry: There may be a need to quarantine/self-isolate upon return to the U.S.
Students who are considering studying abroad in exchange and affiliate provider programs should work with the Study Abroad Office to ensure they are informed of any changes to Spring 2021 programs. Student may create an application online for their program at studyabroad.unt.edu or may email email@example.com to set up an appointment with a study abroad advisor.
Personal Risk Assessment and Voluntary Withdrawal
Study abroad is a rewarding and valuable experience, but it is not a mandatory component of any UNT degree. UNT understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions will be made between a student and their family. It is the responsibility of the student to evaluate their personal risk and determine if they want to participate. Students with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and are strongly discouraged from studying abroad at this time.
If you choose to cancel your participation in a study abroad program, or defer your experience to a future term, you will not be eligible for a refund of any application fees or confirmation deposit from the Study Abroad Office per the Withdrawal Policy. In addition, a student who voluntarily withdraws from a program which is subsequently cancelled by UNT is not eligible for a refund.
If still wish to withdraw, please do the following:
- Email your study abroad advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org from your UNT email account to let us know if you are canceling or deferring your program. If you wish to defer your affiliate program, let us know the new term you intend to go abroad and we’ll update your application accordingly. If you wish to defer your exchange program, let us know your desired term and we’ll help you liaise with our exchange partner to see this can be accommodated.
- Call and/or email your academic advisor to let him/her know your situation and to determine how to address your academic needs in the term you planned to be abroad.
- Reach out to your airline carrier to cancel your flight. Please reference that you are cancelling for COVID-19 related reasons and you may be able to get a full or partial refund or a voucher for future travel.
- For affiliate programs, inform your program provider that you would like to cancel or defer your program and ask about options for reimbursement and/or applying past payments to future programs. Many providers have extended their deadlines and withdrawal policies given the COVID-19 outbreak. Please CC: email@example.com
If a student chooses to leave a program already in progress and return home, we respect that decision. The Study Abroad Office 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.
Future Study Abroad Programs
The Study Abroad Office continues to closely monitor federal and international travel advisories and restrictions, as well as guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State. Although state and federal restrictions are being loosened, the global threat posed by COVID-19 remains high. The timeline for final decisions about programs departing on or after May 10, 2021 including Summer 2021 programs will be announced as information is available.
Once programs are confirmed, the Study Abroad Office strongly recommends that students purchase fully refundable or flexible airline tickets and/or trip cancellation insurance to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or future program cancellation. The SAO assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties.
Important Spring 2021 Program Deadlines
Exchange programs: September 4
Affiliate programs: October 20
Faculty led programs: Visit your program's website for specific deadlines
For more information about study abroad opportunities, please review the information on our website, call (940) 565-2207, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are Here to Assist You!
The Study Abroad Office remains open for appointment-based advising and services. Drop-in advising is currently unavailable and visitors to our office will not be able to meet with staff without a scheduled appointment. Our office is following all university recommended COVID protocols including social distancing and enhanced sanitizing of our space. A face mask is required for all employees and visitors.
Students may schedule a virtual appointment conducted over Zoom during normal business hours. Study Abroad Virtual Advising Appointment from the drop down to schedule a virtual appointment.
In-person advising is by appointment only. Select Study Abroad In-Person Advising Appointment from the drop down to schedule an in-person appointment. Mask Required.
DOCUMENT DROP OFF AND PICK UP
All documents may be sent to the Study Abroad Office at studyabroad.unt.edu. Students may also drop off or pick up documents at our office in Marquis Hall 145 - no appointment required. Mask Required.
UNT Passport and Photo Services are closed until further notice in order to reduce non-essential traffic on campus. The Study Abroad Office is consulting with U.S. Department of State agencies to establish appropriate protocols and procedures for future passport operations. Passport services may resume on an appointment-only basis in the future. Please watch this page for continued updates and consult the U.S. Department of State for updates on U.S. Passport Operations.
Individuals may apply for passports at the Post Office located at:101 E McKinney Street Denton, TX 76201-4255
As a temporary measure due to COVID-19, please schedule an appointment in advance online at usps.com/international/passports.htm