Updates for Study Abroad Students

Communications with students

June 30, 2020 Update

The following email was sent to students planning on studying abroad in the Fall 2020 semester. 

After much deliberation, the University of Louisville has made the difficult decision to suspend study abroad programs for the Fall 2020 semester. Over the past several months, committees have been closely monitoring updates from state, national, and international organizations including the CDC, U.S. Department of State, WHO, and foreign consulates. Having considered the varying public health advice in different host countries, the current domestic and international travel restrictions, and the uncertainty as to when such restrictions will be lifted, it is clear that it is neither feasible nor safe for UofL students to participate in study abroad activities. This decision applies to all program types: exchange, direct enroll, third-party program provider, ISLP, and faculty-led. Additionally, the University is not permitting any waivers or exceptions for Fall 2020 study abroad, including for those programs with delayed start dates in September or October.

We understand this decision has wide-ranging implications for you. It is absolutely normal to feel frustrated and let down. However, please know that this decision was reached with the personal and financial well-being of all students in mind.

Speak with your academic advisor about whether your schedule allows you to defer your semester abroad to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021. If you choose to defer, we will keep your submitted paperwork on file. You can also cancel your program entirely. Please let our office and your program provider know as soon as you have come to a decision. *Note that if you decide to study abroad the last semester of your undergraduate career, it willdelay your graduation.

If you have not already done so, we encourage you to register for classes this fall at UofL immediately. If you have difficulty enrolling in your desired courses, let us know. Additionally, you should make housing arrangements for the fall term. Information and the application to live on-campus can be found here. 

We recognize that this is not what you expected for your fall semester. Studying abroad is an impactful, life-changing opportunity that students sometimes plan years in advance. But we would be remiss to put your health and safety in jeopardy.

Send any questions our way,

Virginia, Melissa, Kimber, and Rebecca

The Study Abroad and International Travel Team

May 29, 2020 Update

The following email was sent to students planning on studying abroad in the Fall 2020 semester.

Good afternoon future travelers!

Sending updates regarding your anticipated semester abroad. The current COVID-19 situation is incredibly fluid and can change with little notice. Ask your program provider what their cancellation policy is. Ensure you know the deadline to cancel your program and receive either a full or partial refund of any money already paid. 

Please read this email in its entirety. 

Study Abroad staff are working remotely through at least June 30th. We can be reached by email, phone (see numbers below), or via Microsoft Teams.

Dr. Virginia Hosono: 502-791-6360

Melissa Lee: 502-294-9139

Kimber Guinn: 502-791-6388 

Placeholder Course Enrollment

We register all study abroad students in a placeholder course during their term abroad. The class does not create a tuition bill; it merely maintains your status as a UofL student.

We will not register students in this class until the following conditions have been met:

  1. You have submitted your study abroad paperwork + a copy of your signed passport
    1. Reminder: paperwork should be submitted electronically by June 15th.
  2. You have successfully completed the Pre-Departure Orientation on August 3rd
    1. Orientation will occur via Blackboard Collaborate. You will be added to the course and given access to content. If you have studied abroad and attended a PDO previously, you ARE NOT exempt from this Orientation as there is additional information related to COVID-19 included.
    2. There is a chance Orientation will be earlier than August 3rd. I am waiting to hear from Financial Aid about their deadline to register students for the placeholder course. If it does change, I’ll immediately send an email with that information. But for now, plan on August 3rd.
  3. *Flight Itinerary – Please wait as long as comfortably possible to purchase your flight. When you do purchase it, we recommend buying directly from the airline. This gives you greater flexibility should you need to change the dates or cancel entirely. You can also purchase a refundable ticket.
    1. See the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website or their May 12, 2020 Notice for details on what refunds you are entitled to.
  4. *CISI Registration – You are responsible for enrolling in CISI. It’s completely free. Instructions on how to enroll can be found here. Wait to enroll until you absolutely know you’ll be studying abroad this fall. Those going abroad with AIFS or USAC do not need to enroll as your program includes the exact same coverage in your program fee.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Disbursement

Financial Aid and scholarships are disbursed on the start date of your program. KEES money may not be disbursed until up to one month after your program start date. 

If you need your aid disbursed earlier, email Rachel Kirk at rachel.kirk@louisville.edu. You must provide a written statement detailing why you need your aid by an earlier date.  

Financial Aid cannot be disbursed without you being enrolled in the placeholder course. If you need your aid, let us know and we can work with you.

Back Up Plan

We highly encourage all students to register for classes this fall at UofL. If your study abroad program runs, we can work with the Registrar’s office to drop your classes through August 21st. 

That being said, you should also consider housing alternatives in town as well in case your program does not run.

Will fall programs run? 

According to the UofL Travel Warning Policy, “When the U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel, University of Louisville and UofL-promoted study abroad programs, research, training and presentations in that district or country shall be suspended.” This includes the current Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel issued on March 31, 2020.

Additionally, “When the CDC issues a Travel Health Warning that recommends postponing nonessential travel to the area, the following rules apply:

1.      University of Louisville and U of L promoted study abroad programs in that country shall be suspended.

2.      No student shall be allowed to travel to that country under University of Louisville auspices.

3.       If the student is already in the country for which the CDC Travel Health Warning has been issued, the Dean for Student Affairs shall decide, in consultation with other appropriate persons, whether the student shall be required to return to the U.S.

4.     Where the student is required to return to the U.S. or where the student desires to return to the U.S. under these circumstances, the University of Louisville will, at the student’s request, endeavor to help the student make arrangements for his/her return.  However, student should be aware that the University of Louisville, and even the U.S. Department of State, may be unable to assist, and that the student may be obliged to “shelter in place” in the event that commercial airlines drastically curtail or even cease operations, and/or travel restrictions prevent people from returning to the U.S. or leaving the affected country.”

There is a chance Fall study abroad programs will not run. As long as the U.S. Department of State has a Level 4: Do Not Travel and/or the CDC has a Level 3: Travel Health Warning issued; study abroad programs will be suspended per UofL policy.

Our goal is to be as transparent and informative as possible to avoid confusion. Send any questions or concerns our way.

Please reply to this email stating you have read and understand the information provided.

Best,

Kimber

March 18, 2020 Update

The following email was sent to students who have completed an advising appointment and received paperwork from the Office of Study Abroad and plan on traveling in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020: 

This morning’s email from President Bendapudi has cleared up the initial confusion we’ve experienced the last week.

Effective immediately, all international travel through June 30th is cancelled and prohibited.

If your program begins on or before June 30th:

  1. Please contact your program provider to determine alternative options.
    1. I have already emailed all providers informing them of UofL’s decision to prohibit all travel through June 30th. I’ve asked them to work with students in selecting academically appropriate, later summer sessions.
    2. If your program begins late June, your provider may be able to adjust the start date to July 1st to accommodate the new UofL policy.
  2. If you cannot find a different option, your program provider should refund any money you have already paid to them. If they do not offer this, let me know immediately and I will reach out on your behalf.
    1. Note that refunds may take between 10 – 12 weeks to get to you.
  3. Whether you decide to change programs / locations, or cancel your summer study abroad plans entirely, please let me know.
    1. I will send you updated paperwork and budget if you opt to change.

If your program begins July 1st or later:

  1. Your travel is still okay. But please be aware that program providers may choose to cancel later summer programs as well as the situation rapidly evolves. We will keep you updated with any news we receive as we receive it. Our goal is to provide complete transparency.

You’re most likely feeling upset and let down due to these sudden policy changes. That is absolutely normal. Please reach out to the UofL Counseling Center to schedule a tele-health appointment to talk through your frustrations and stress. Also, take time to do something that brings you joy. FaceTime with friends, play with a pet, binge Netflix guilt free, or embark on a new hobby (knitting, anyone?). 

Fun FactThe Louisville Free Public Library offers access to eBooks, eMagazines, downloadable audiobooks, streaming music and movies online, and online courses – all free with a library card! Get a library card online here.

We will be available for video conferencing or direct messaging via Microsoft Teams. This software is available to all students free of charge using your UofL credentials. Download Teams for your desktop, laptop, iOS, or Android phone here. Enter your email for the UserID in the format: userid@louisville.edu. Please be aware that unless you are connected to a WiFi network, using the Teams mobile app will use your phone’s data plan.

To schedule a Microsoft Teams appointment, follow these steps:

  1. Email the advisor you have already met with.
    1. Kimber Guinn, Kimber.guinn@louisville.edu
    2. Melissa Lee, melissa.moore@louisville.edu
  2. Include in your email:
    1. Your (new) Program Provider Name
    2. Location City and Country
    3. Dates of Program
    4. Two possible dates and times you are available to ‘meet’ (ex: 3/19 at 2 pm)  
  3. Your advisor will respond with the confirmed date and time.
  4. Your advisor will schedule an appointment using MS Teams. You will receive an email to your UofL email address with a link to join the meeting.
  5. Day of the Meeting: Your advisor will begin the meeting ~5 minutes before the pre-determined time to allow wiggle room for you to adjust settings, ensure your microphone and/or webcam work, etc.
    1. If you do not want to use a webcam, that’s fine! You do not have to. But you should at least have microphone capabilities on whatever device you use.

Please refer to the attachment included in this morning’s email for great resources related to continuing your classes online.

Need internet?

Spectrum is offering free broadband and WiFi access for 60 days to households that do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived.

As always, let us know how we can further assist you and if you have any questions,

Kimber, Virginia, Melissa and Rebecca

March 16, 2020 Update

The following email was sent to students who have completed an advising appointment and received paperwork from the Office of Study Abroad and plan on traveling in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020: 

Good afternoon,

Without a doubt, this has been a chaotic week. Spring Break has been extended by two days (hoorah!) and all classes will be moved online beginning Wednesday, March 18th, 2020. I understand your frustrations and confusion. Thank you for being resilient in the face of uncertainty.

Many of you have reached out regarding your upcoming Summer or Fall 2020 travel. We ask for your continued patience as everyone in the International Education field navigates the murky terrain COVID-19 has created.

Our office is currently assisting all UofL international travelers who are abroad right now. Ensuring their safety and return home is our highest priority. Please bear with us as we work to best help them.

We are also awaiting additional clarification and guidance on President Bendapudi’s March 11th, 2020 email stating, ‘no future international trips are permitted to be booked through June 30th.’ 

Currently, the only program provider that has cancelled all of their Summer 2020 programs is KIIS. They are offering a full refund to participants, please see the email they sent you last week. If you were previously going abroad with KIIS and would like to discuss other options, we can absolutely do so.

Please note that other program providers may cancel their Summer 2020 programs as this is an extremely fluid and unconventional time. Prepare to be flexible and adjust accordingly.

As of tomorrow, March 17th, 2020 – all Office of Study Abroad staff members will be working remotely. We will be checking email regularly and feel free to call us at the numbers below: 

Dr. Virginia Hosono, Director: 502-791-6360

Kimber Guinn: 502-791-6388

Melissa Lee: 502-294-9139

Rebecca Dixon: 502-536-9259

We will be available for video conferencing or direct messaging via Microsoft Teams. This software is available to all students free of charge using your UofL credentials. Download Teams for your desktop, laptop, iOS, or Android phone here. Enter your email for the UserID in the format: userid@louisville.edu. Please be aware that unless you are connected to a WiFi network, using the Teams mobile app will use your phone’s data plan.

Is the paperwork deadline still April 10th?

  1. Nope! We are extending the paperwork deadline to April 17th. Please keep in mind department contacts, your academic advisor and Mr. McMillan in Financial Aid are most likely working remotely. Give them extra time and don’t wait until the last minute to have classes and your budget approved.
  2. I will accept course equivalencies via email. Forward me the email from the appropriate department contact who approved your foreign class(es). The email MUST include the UofL equivalent class, the number of credit hours it’s worth, and the minimum grade required to pass.

If you are scheduled to depart the U.S. for a study abroad program before April 30, 2020:

  1. Per the President’s email, all planned international travel is cancelled through April 30th, 2020.
  2. If your program or requested travel takes place during the summer term, you cannot depart before May 1, 2020. Check with your program provider to see if alternative arrangements can be made.

If you are scheduled to depart the U.S. for a study abroad program before June 30, 2020:

  1. If your program begins between May 1st and June 30th, 2020; delay booking your international airfare until further communication from the President has been released.
  2. If your program begins between May 1st and June 30th, 2020; contact your Third-Party Program Provider to discuss options (i.e. defer to a later time or request a full refund should you choose to cancel). 

I’ve already purchased my flight. What should I do?

  1. Do not purchase travel insurance (even ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ insurance) as pandemics are not covered events and you will not receive any reimbursement from insurance for cancelled flights.
  2. Many airlines are waiving change fees to alter the dates of your flight. Airlines additionally may offer a flight credit in the sum of the price of your flight that can be used up to one year after being credited.
  3. Most airlines are requesting you DO NOT CALL their customer service unless your flight’s departure date is within 48 – 72 hours. Please do not overwhelm airlines further by calling about a flight that leaves mid-May (example).
  4. Below are links to airline responses regarding COVID-19 (accurate as of March 16th, 2020):
    1. Aer Lingus
    2. Air Canada
    3. Air France
    4. Air New Zealand
    5. Alaska Airlines
    6. Allegiant Airlines
    7. American Airlines
    8. British Airways
    9. Delta Air Lines
    10. Emirates
    11. Frontier Airlines
    12. Hawaiian Airlines
    13. IcelandAir
    14. JetBlue Airways
    15. KLM
    16. LATAM Airlines
    17. Lufthansa Group
    18. Southwest Airlines
    19. TAP Air Portugal
    20. Turkish Airlines
    21. United Airlines
    22. Virgin Atlantic

What if my travel is after June 30?

  1. As of March 11th, 2020, your travel is not cancelled if it begins after June 30, 2020. Please note, this is a very fluid situation and there are no guarantees that your program will not be cancelled or delayed. We recommend postponing the purchase of airfare as long as possible.

Where can I learn more about UofL’s response to COVID-19?

  1. Find more information and additional resources here.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will email with additional information as soon as we have it. 

Kimber, Virginia, Rebecca and Melissa

March 12, 2020 Update

Refer to UofL Campus Health Services' Self Isolation Guide, found here.

All persons who have traveled internationally during Spring Break are required to complete the 'Returning Traveler's Report' prior to returning to campus. Upon review of the travel information submitted, you will receive confirmation of permission and a timeline for your return to campus

Find the 'Returning Traveler's Report' by visiting UofL Campus Health Services and clicking the Report Travel button in the center of the page. 

March 11, 2020 Update

Dear Current and Future International Travelers,

The Office of Study Abroad and International Travel is working diligently to answer your questions and concerns regarding President Neeli Bendapudi’s email correspondence today.

We appreciate your patience as we strive to provide accurate and updated information.

You can best reach us by emailing edabroad@louisville.edu

Many thanks!
The SA Team