UKIC / Education Abroad & Exchanges / COVID-19

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As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together, University of Kentucky Education Abroad & Exchanges is here for you. We’re committed to keeping you informed and will continue to do everything in our power to minimize the impact of this challenging situation.  We are striving to seek new avenues to ensure that our students have every opportunity to become better, more connected global citizens. This page will keep you updated on what steps are being taken and how UK EA is responding.

Students

Prioritizing Health & Safety

University of Kentucky is continuing to monitor developments related to COVID-19 around the world.

UK Education Abroad & Exchanges is in regular contact with our partners abroad, our program providers and other US institutions and our office has an established international crisis management protocol that we follow. So, we want to assure you that decisions regarding education abroad programs are made with the health and safety of you, our students, at the forefront.

Spring 2020

Program Status

University of Kentucky Administrative Regulation 4:9 guides all UK international education activities, including Education Abroad programs. Under AR 4:9, UK does not permit international education travel in countries with a U.S. Department of State and/or a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher. To comply with AR 4:9, UK EA worked with UK Leadership to continually evaluate education abroad destinations and program developments, and to facilitate the immediate return of impacted students abroad. Using the US Department of State and CDC guidelines, and in close coordination with our partners abroad, we recalled students from China, South Korea and Italy, then later from all of Europe, and eventually from all countries. University of Kentucky’s spring 2020 Education Abroad programs were canceled.

Financial Updates

UK EA has reimbursed spring 2020 students for their unexpected, early flight home. The reimbursement checks were sent to the student via mail.

EA is also working on refunding administrative fees charged by our office for anyone whose program was canceled. These refunds will appear on your UK student account.  

If you have questions regarding refunds for an original airline ticket bought before the pandemic, please contact the airline directly. Each airline has created its own policies for canceling or changing flights in regard to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Visit the airline’s website for the latest available information.

Spring-Embedded 2020

Program Status

All spring-embedded programs were canceled.

Financial Updates

UK EA has refunded all UK EA fees related to spring-embedded programs which includes a $50 application fee, $100 administrative fee, and deposit and program fees. To confirm the specific amount that was to be refunded, please refer to the program page’s cost & scholarship section. These refunds will appear on your UK student account.

Summer 2020

Program Status

UK Education Abroad & Exchanges has canceled all summer programs. In addition, the Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG) Executive Committee made the difficult decision to suspend the Interprofessional Health Brigades to Ecuador for summer 2020.

Students participating in programs facilitated by partner providers have the option to defer their participation to a future semester. Please contact your EA Advisor for more information or help.

Additionally, for summer 2020, EA has partnered with several of our providers to offer virtual programming, including international internships and remote courses taught by faculty abroad. For more information, visit our website.

Financial Updates

Faculty-Directed Programs

All UK EA fees will be refunded, including the $50 application fee, $100 administrative fee, as well as any deposits or program fees paid to date. EA is working on processing refunds for summer participants and these refunds will appear on your UK student account.

Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG) Programs

March, May and June brigade participants who were not able to transfer to the August brigade  have been refunded their full program fees through WorldPay, the online payment platform used to process brigade payments. For any payments older than three months, the UKIC Budget Office processed the refunds manually.

Non-Faculty-Directed Programs

UK EA fees will be refunded, including the $50 application fee, $100 administrative fee, and $10.50/week international medical insurance, if billed. EA is working on processing refunds for summer participants and these refunds will appear on your UK student account.

If you applied for an EA program with one of our providers or partner institutions, please contact them directly to ask about refunds. Each provider and partner institution has developed their own cancellation and refund policies for summer 2020 programs.

Fall and Academic Year 2020 & Beyond…

Program Status

Currently, University of Kentucky has suspended international travel,  including education abroad programs.  While we do not know when these restrictions will be lifted, we remain hopeful that things will improve in time to allow fall, academic year, and winter programs to proceed as planned. We assure you that as soon as we have more information, we will promptly communicate that to you.

UK EA will be making decisions regarding the feasibility of fall, academic year, and winter programs before you are required to pay nonrefundable deposits or program fees.

If your fall, academic year, or winter program will not proceed, UK EA will notify you via email, so please check your UK email regularly. We will also update this page with any new information as it becomes available. Additionally, we will post important updates on our social media:

Instagram: @ukyabroad

Twitter: @ukyabroad

Facebook: @ukyabroad

If you are not able to participate or your program is canceled, you can work with your EA Advisor to either defer to a later semester, find an alternative program, or cancel your application. If your program is canceled by UK, UK EA will refund all EA administrative fees to you. 

Advising & Planning

UKEA continues to provide advising and support for all UK students who are interested in studying abroad or participating in a virtual program.

EA advising appointments are now held exclusively on Zoom. To find your EA Advisor and schedule an appointment, visit our website:  https://international.uky.edu/ea/meet-ukea-advisors.

Once you have chosen a day and a time to meet with your advisor through UK EA’s appointment portal, you will receive an automatic email and calendar invite for the scheduled meeting. A Zoom meeting invitation will then be sent in a follow-up email from your EA Advisor. If accommodations are required for the advising appointment, please let your EA Advisor know as soon as possible.

Planning travel amidst travel suspensions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel rules and regulations are constantly changing. While we expect conditions to improve, it is important to be thoughtful and cautious about planning any sort of future travel.

Passports

If you already have a passport, be sure to check when your passport expires. Many countries require it to be valid six months past your return date to the US, although more validity might be required.

Currently, the U.S. State Department is experiencing significant delays in processing new and renewed passports. For the most up-to-date information, please see the US State Department’s Passport website.

If you do not have a passport yet or need to renew your passport, make sure you have all  application requirements ready to go, including the application form, your photo, important documents and your payment of fees, so that when the U.S. State Department’s normal operations resume, you can submit your application.

Airline tickets

Firstly, it is important for you to follow any guidance provided to you by your EA Advisor, program provider, host institution, or program director about purchasing a plane ticket. Do not purchase a plane ticket until you are instructed to do so. Secondly, here are some key things to consider:

  • Make sure to stay informed on current travel restrictions. The best sources for this information are the U.S. State Department’s Travel Advisory page and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Traveler page.
  • Research your selected airline’s cancellation and ticket change policies before purchasing a ticket. Please know that different airlines will have varying policies. We’ve found this Tripadvisor blog post to be particularly helpful.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance with your ticket. This may protect against any unforeseen changes in your travel plans and is highly recommended.
  • Remember to stay informed. Changes in international travel can happen quickly. Signing up for notifications from your airline, watching or reading the news, and communicating with your EA Advisor or program provider about your travel plans are all good ways to stay up-to-date.

Visas

First, you need to determine if you need a visa for your program and if you need to get it prior to traveling. Every country’s embassy has a website, and information about student visas can be found there. If you are applying with a provider, they also may have information whether you will need a visa and the process to apply.

Currently, many consulates and embassies are not processing visas for students. As conditions around the world change, different countries will begin to resume normal visa processing in varying ways on varying timelines. It is necessary to check embassy websites regularly for updates. If you do need a visa, UK EA recommends that you research and gather the application requirements and be ready to apply as soon as the consulates begin accepting visa applications. 

Registering for courses at UKY for the fall semester

While we do not know when the travel suspension will be lifted, we remain hopeful that things will improve in time to allow your fall program to proceed as planned. However, in the meantime, we do recommend that when your course registration window opens, you should register for classes at UK in case your EA program is canceled. You can drop these courses once your EA program is confirmed for the fall. Information about registration windows and add/drop deadlines can be found on the UK Registrar’s website.

Faculty

Leading Programs

UK EA will continue to accept and evaluate Faculty-Directed proposals for winter 2021 and beyond. It is already clear that the post-pandemic education abroad landscape will be different, and we will need to be creative in how we facilitate effective global learning in a post-COVID-19 world. We look forward to collaborating with faculty as they propose programming options for future terms.

Course Evaluations

As students plan to take courses abroad, they will need to work with the appropriate official from academic departments to assign UK course equivalencies using the Academic Approval Form (AAF).  

The AAF is a fillable PDF that can be completed and signed digitally.

We ask that the designated official from academic departments to work with students to review courses they plan to take abroad and assign UK course equivalencies remotely, all which can be done via email.  It is still the students’ responsibility to provide syllabi or course descriptions, a blank AAF, and anything else needed to determine course equivalencies. It is also the student’s responsibility to submit the completed AAF to educationabroad@uky.edu.

Advisors

EA Advising Team

UKEA places tremendous value upon our relationship with academic advisors from across campus. Although the pandemic has recently presented all of us with a number of unexpected challenges, UK EA plans to resume providing great international experiences to our students soon. We hope that academic and program advisors will continue to encourage students to take part on EA programs as part of their UK experience. This will be especially true for freshman and sophomores, as they are able to plan to include an EA program into their 4-year academic plans.

EA Advisors are continuing to work with students based on their primary college and EA program type. To determine which EA Advisor you should contact with any questions, please ask your student with whom they have been working. You can also consult our Meet your UKEA Advisor page. We are always happy to chat via email, Zoom, Skype, Teams and phone if you have any questions.

Program Status

Spring 2020 semester & embedded programs: All programs were canceled

Summer 2020 programs: All programs were canceled

Fall 2020 & Winter 2020 programs:

The University has not lifted the international travel suspension yet and so a final decision has not been made about whether fall or winter programs will be canceled. The goal is for UK EA to make any decision regarding the feasibility of fall and winter programs before students are required to pay any non-refundable deposits or program fees.

Students have been instructed by UK EA to NOT purchase airfare or any other non-refundable travel expense until they are specifically instructed to do so by UK EA. 

UK EA has also encouraged students to register for fall courses at UK in the event that EA programs are canceled.

Transcripts Fall 2019 & Spring 2020

EA is working closely with our partner institutions to receive transcripts for students who studied abroad during Fall 2019 or prior semesters. We have communicated to our partners the difficulty of receiving transcripts due to working remotely and therefore have requested for them to send us digital copies. We are also receiving mail deliveries once per week.

We are not anticipating that Spring 2020 transcripts will arrive until at least August 2020; however, there may be some delay in receiving transcripts for Spring 2020 students due to the disruption of the semester and transitioning courses abroad to an online format.  

Please know, our office is processing transcripts as soon as we receive them and prioritizing students who are scheduled to graduate in May 2020 and August 2020.

University of Kentucky response and FAQs