It’s no secret that the world has changed, including the fact that the staff and students in these photos would be wearing masks. And although it would be nice to see the coronavirus pandemic as a distant memory, the current global health crisis is still very much a reality. However, that doesn’t mean your study abroad dreams have to be put on the backburner. Here at USAC, we’re excited to offer a range of in-person programs in 25 countries for Spring 2021, including our new Spring Accelerated programs, as well as our growing selection of online opportunities to keep you on track for your degree wherever you are. If you’re interested in studying abroad during the Spring 2021 semester, know that we have been making serious adjustments to our programs to keep you safe and healthy.
A Variety of Locations for Comfortable Choices
We’re pretty excited to offer our full semester program lineup for Spring 2021, including six new Spring Accelerated programs. We understand that every student (and parent) is going to have a different level of comfort when it comes to travel during and after COVID-19. With the addition of the Spring Accelerated model, there truly is a program for every student, schedule, budget, and academic needs. We’re also continuing our Global Perspectives online courses and virtual internships to meet the needs of students who aren’t quite ready to pack their bags. By running our complete menu of programs and new condensed options, we hope to give you the flexibility and customization to make the choice to study abroad in 2021 a comfortable one.
We’re Sharing Our Knowledge With You
Part of our commitment to keeping our students safe and healthy is educating our students on health and safety measures they can take to stay safe before, during, and after study abroad. Before you take off, you’ll be participating in a new pre-departure health and safety webinar that will focus on COVID-19 prevention measures to ensure you feel comfortable when you touch down in your host country.
The USAC Health & Safety team has created additional materials to keep you healthy, safe, and informed, including revamped health and safety pages on the USAC website, an updated Wellness Guide, and a virtual pre-departure orientation.
Once on site, program staff will host a comprehensive orientation that focuses on USAC and host country guidelines and restrictions for each program site, program activities, type of housing, and host university. Our experienced program and host university staff are available 24/7 to assist and guide students through any study abroad challenges, including issues surrounding COVID-19.
Continuing to Study Abroad Safely
Just because you’re studying abroad doesn’t mean you’re immune to illness of any kind, and the coronavirus is no exception, right? In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, USAC staff and students will adhere to all local social distancing guidelines in classrooms, USAC housing, and during all activities. This means we’re making efforts to place students in single rooms whenever possible and minimizing homestays for the upcoming semester. We’ll also be implementing strict disinfection and cleaning recommendations in USAC common areas and program housing. We’re working hard to improve the safety of our programs without sacrificing any of the study abroad experience you’re after.
Limited Travel & More Chances to Explore Your Host City
Because of the heightened risk of infection during travel, as well as evolving travel restrictions and border closures, we’re encouraging our students to limit independent travel (especially out of the country) and explore the areas around their host country. The best part about study abroad is getting to know your host city, finding hidden gems, and discovering your favorite spots. Don’t think of it as losing the ability to travel. Instead, think of it as gaining time to really make a home where you are. Time and time again, USAC alumni share the advice to spend more time in your host city, and now’s your chance! Trust us, you will not be sorry that you spent more weekends exploring your home city and getting to know it better.
Staying Alert and Flexible
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during 2020 it’s that the universe can be a bit unpredictable. However, we know that the coronavirus is not gone, and the possibility of a resurgence across the globe is certainly possible. That’s why our Health & Safety Team, along with the USAC Crisis Management Team, will continue to diligently monitor the status of your host country before, during, and after your departure. To make informed decisions, USAC will continue to follow the recommendations of local, national, and international agencies, including the CDC, WHO, the U.S. Department of State as well as agencies in the host country.
As the global health crisis evolves, we’re working tirelessly to provide you with the most impactful, enjoyable, and safe study abroad experience possible. We recommend checking out our Coronavirus Health & Safety page to learn more about the precautions we’re taking to keep you healthy abroad.