Off-Campus Study - Spring 2021
We are now accepting applications for spring 2021 off campus study programs. As students and their families begin to explore programs, apply, and prepare to go abroad, our office is available to assist and will continue to update this website with resources and additional information.
Message from DirectorAugust 25, 2020 - Message to all spring 2021 applicants
Dear Student and Family,
We are so pleased that you are planning to study off campus for spring 2021 or participate in a Travel Seminar in May 2021! Despite the current global travel restrictions, we are hopeful that spring will bring a return to more global mobility and opportunities for cultural exchange and engagement.
While we are planning that students will be able to travel to all programs and destinations, we certainly cannot guarantee that programs will be open again or that travel will be less limited this coming spring. With this in mind, we will continue to monitor program statuses and travel restrictions around the world and update students as changes are announced. The Department of State and the Center for Disease Control are our primary sources for health, safety and security assessments of the current situation in various countries. However, we also monitor the World Health Organization, OSAC, travel alerts and advisories from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, the International Air Transport Association, several global news sources, and regular updates from a variety of risk management organizations in order to have a more complete assessment. Another important resource is the overseas staff who are living in the host community and have a firsthand understanding of the impact of COVID. We will continue to review all of these resources on a regular basis as we prepare for spring and summer abroad.
We expect to make final decisions about spring programs by mid-October or early November, depending on the program and location; decisions about May Travel Seminars will be made later in the spring. Because of this uncertainty, Skidmore is allowing spring 2021 off-campus study participants to register for on-campus classes and housing. You will be able to register for both as if you were staying on campus. This will help alleviate some of the pressure around making an early decision about participating. In addition, OCSE will be flexible regarding our non-refundable deposit; if your program is suspended, we will refund your deposit or allow you to defer to fall 2021 and move the deposit to that term.
If your program runs as planned, you will definitely need to be flexible! Things could change once you are on site or even shortly before you depart. Please contact your program directly with questions about contingency plans. Your program will also be able to give you advice on the timing of purchasing tickets and getting visas, although we recommend you hold off on making travel plans at this time or that you purchase a refundable ticket.
I am sure you have many questions as you consider your spring options. We are developing a Spring 2021 FAQ web page and will send a link once it is up and running. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have created a list of frequently asked questions regarding studying off campus for the spring 2021 semester. We will continue to update this list as we have more information.
The office of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges is advising remotely until further notice. Here you can find links to our daily walk-in advising, schedule an appointment, and watch videos on the advising and application process.
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges would like to highlight the following pre-departure tips for spring 2021. OCSE and programs will provide additional pre-departure advice and materials prior to departure.
- Book with a travel agent. OCSE recommends booking with travel agent and/or specialist group. These professionals provide an extra level of support than booking directly with airlines or an online travel agency.
- Airline and Airport policies related to COVID-19. Before booking a flight, inquire about the airline and/or airport policies and procedures (i.e., mask requirements, temperature screening, required forms, middle seat occupancy, etc.). It is important to set expectations and be prepared for newly implemented requirements for travel.
- Direct flights. Consider flights without connections/change of planes or limit the number of connections. This will limit the need to adhere to multiple airport policies and minimize contact with other travelers.
- Purchase a refundable/changeable airline ticket since travel plans may change quickly or unexpectedly.
- Meet with your doctor. Consider scheduling a pre-trip medical clearance visit with your personal physician to discuss your health and address any concerns. Discuss how to mitigate risks, recommendations on vaccinations including influenza, obtaining antibiotic prophylactics and general advice on optimizing your health.
- Research where you can get a COVID-19 test. Since several countries have instituted a requirement of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry into their country, you should begin researching a testing facility near you where you can have the test administered in the required timeframe. Please contact your program to confirm the specific testing requirements for your country of study.
- Prescription Medications. Ensure that you have an adequate supply of any prescription medication for the semester. Consult your medical insurer to determine if you can obtain an additional supply of prescription medications, approximately 4 weeks past end of program date, should a need to shelter in place arise.
- Purchase several cloth face masks for use onsite. Neck gaiters are reportedly less effective than cloth masks in blocking respiratory droplets. Additionally, some countries have prohibited the use of bandanas.
- Bring your own first aid kit; as such, items can be in short supply in your host country (masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, over-the-counter medications, bandages, topical antiseptic cleaner, etc.)
- Consider bringing your own supply of cleaning products, such as antibacterial wipes, as these items may be difficult to find or in short supply in your country of study.
- OCSE recommends that parents/guardians possess a passport that is valid 6 months after the end date of the student program in the event they must travel due to an emergency onsite. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant reduction in passport processing by the U.S. Department of State. If there is a need to renew or apply for a passport, the recommendation is to do so as soon as possible. Please consult the Department of State website for more information on the application and/or renewal process.
- Review your Parent/Legal Guardian Contact authorizations submitted at the time of application to ensure that OCSE can communicate with them during the spring 2021 semester.