Academic Year 2021–22 FAQ

Education Abroad is dedicated to supporting you in achieving your global learning goals during your time at Cornell and simultaneously committed to your health and safety abroad. In consultation with the International Travel Health and Safety team and with the support of Cornell leadership, we are pleased to offer a selection of study abroad programs for academic year 2021–22.

At this time, we are accepting spring 2022 applications on a preliminary basis. The university is expected to make a final decision in October about allowing spring programs to advance; applicants will be notified. Fall 2021 study abroad students should continue to refer to the FAQ below.

Explore the Office of Global Learning’s approved study abroad programs

Jump to: 

Programs and Application Process

What study abroad programs are offered and how do I apply?

Visit Experience Cornell to see all approved study abroad programs. Be sure to filter by your desired term in the left sidebar. You can apply directly from the program listing in Experience. Click “apply” to begin your application.

If you have any questions about a program or the application process, please reach out to the advisor listed in the right sidebar of the Experience program page. Visit Get Advice to make an advising appointment or reach out to us by email. We’re here to help!

 

How did Cornell select the spring 2022 program options?

The Office of Global Learning is pleased to provide a robust program portfolio for spring 2022, selected based on curricular, health and safety, and strategic criteria. Programs are now finalized for the spring, and we do not expect changes. Due to the ongoing health and safety situation, there will be no program petitions allowed for academic year 2021–22. We look forward to supporting you on your application to one of our spring 2022 programs or during a future term.

The university is expected to make a final decision about spring programs in October. Applicants will be notified. If programs continue to appear feasible, they will remain on offer.

If a program is canceled by Cornell, the decision will be final, even if the location’s health and safety conditions improve in the months following. However, sponsoring units and student applicants should be aware that programs are subject to cancellation at any time due to changes in health and safety circumstances or other factors beyond Cornell’s reasonable control.

 

Can I have a valuable study abroad experience?

Like anything in life, adaptability and personal responsibility are key. An international experience always provides opportunities for personal and professional growth through the challenges it presents and the people you meet who share those challenges. The experience in fall 2021 or spring 2022 may not be like the experience a student had in fall 2019—or the one that may be possible in spring 2023—but it can be yours, and that can be invaluable.

Before applying to a program, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the specifics of how it will be taught, the precautions expected of students, and other policies to make sure it will provide you with an engaging experience.

 

Should I apply to more than one opportunity?

Plan on applying to one program—and perhaps a back-up, if you are concerned about admission into your preferred program. An Education Abroad advisor can help you determine if you need a back-up option and if your back-up option is appropriate. In most cases, if you are nominated for a college exchange program, you should not have another application in the works. There is generally no reason to apply to more than two programs.

 

May I petition to attend or receive credit from another program that isn’t approved?

No. Programs are now finalized for spring 2022, and we do not expect changes. Due to the ongoing health and safety situation, there will be no program petitions allowed for academic year 2021–22. We look forward to supporting you on your application to one of our spring 2022 programs or during a future term.

If you want to enroll in a non-approved program—even a different program with one of our partners—you will have to take a leave of absence to study abroad. In such a case, Cornell cannot offer any administrative or financial aid support and will not award credit.

 

I heard that fall study abroad participation is conditional. What does that mean?

With the global health crisis ongoing, a study abroad program may be canceled at any time for reasons beyond Cornell's control or due to policy changes. Sudden border closures, significant changes in the risk environment, or a host's decision not to hold in-person instruction can occur at any time and lead to program cancellation, either by the host or Cornell.

 

Even after I apply and commit, how should I prepare for the possibility that my study abroad may be canceled?

Considering the uncertainty around travel, we encourage you to make alternative plans—one of which should be to remain at Cornell. It is important to connect with your college to discuss your options and to understand academic policies and deadlines around enrollment. 

In the event of program cancellation, Education Abroad’s ability to accommodate your participation in another approved program will be limited and impacted by timing and availability. Your only options may be to return to campus or take a leave of absence, and if applicable, defer your study abroad participation to a future term.

 

What about housing? Should I get 2021–22 housing in Ithaca?

If you have already applied for 2021–22 on-campus housing, we recommend that you do not withdraw your application. We will share a final list of study abroad students with Cornell Housing, so they are aware of potential adjustments. However, you are fully responsible for notifying Housing of any changes, including requesting a single-semester spring 2022 housing assignment.

All decisions, including financial, about off-campus housing are independently made by students. Cornell Housing offers suggestions for off-campus students planning to study abroad.

 

Can my program be canceled after I am accepted and start the onboarding process? 

Yes. Due to the global health crisis, there is a great deal of uncertainty about travel safety.

Our goal is to ensure you are prepared if study abroad can move forward for fall 2021, but it’s important to understand programs may be canceled at any point up to the start date and even once the program has started. Please plan accordingly, review the applicable program policies in detail, and make sure you understand the financial, academic, and logistical risks involved. 

In the event of program cancellation, Education Abroad’s ability to accommodate your participation in another approved program will be limited and impacted by timing and availability. Your only options may be to return to campus or take a leave of absence, and if applicable, defer your study abroad participation to a future term.

 

I’m not sure I’ll be able to study abroad before I graduate. Are there gap year or post-graduate opportunities?

Yes! There are many opportunities for students and recent grads to gain international experiences not tied to a semester at Cornell. Cornell Career Services offers resources for recent graduates looking for an international experience, such as working or interning abroad, gap year options, graduate school abroad, fellowships, and more.

If you’re a U.S. citizen, take a look at Fulbright opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni to study, research, and teach English abroad. You might also consider Peace Corps. Find more ideas and resources on our Opportunities Abroad page.

 

Health, Safety, and Travel

Visit our Health and Safety page for more information about managing your risk during international travel and campus resources to support your international experience.

 

How will fall 2021 and spring 2022 be different from other study abroad terms?

Studying abroad during a pandemic will undoubtedly be different, and it is important to consider this as you decide whether to apply. Students will be required to adhere to host and country policies and laws in place to manage COVID-19. Public health policies might include limitations on regional travel, citywide curfews, lockdowns, and courses moving online. You should research your host country and prepare for these possibilities.

If you’re unable to adapt to these changes for any reason, you may want to consider studying abroad at a later time. A study abroad experience should always be taken on with careful deliberation and planning, and we encourage you to consider if this is the year for you. Remember to honor yourself and your comfort level when making this decision.

 

What travel and mobility limitations should I expect in the falland quite possibly in the spring?

For many study abroad participants, personal travel on the weekends or during holidays is part of the appeal of studying abroad. This year, however, is undeniably different. The ongoing pandemic continues to ask each of us to adjust our expectations and consider personal and public safety above all else.

As a reminder, you will be expected to follow the requirements of your program and host country regarding health and safety, which may include restrictions on travel and mobility that can change at any time. Cornell may institute additional requirements or restrictions. Be prepared to spend the entire semester within your host city's borders—and possibly even your campus or housing. Even if travel from the host country is permissible and allowed by your program administrators, Cornell would advise against it. Sudden border closures could mean an inability to return to your study site and continue your program as planned.

As these policies are constantly shifting, you should expect changes up to and throughout your time abroad. To ensure a smooth start to your experience and comply with any required quarantine period, we advise that you do not plan personal travel before the start of your program, but make arrangements to arrive in the time frame recommended by your program administrators.

If travel is permitted by your program and host country, and you choose to assume the associated risks, we ask that you notify us via the International Travel Registry by adding a new trip and choosing “side trip” as your purpose of travel. 

 

Is it safe for me to go abroad? 

There are risks associated with all travel, and the ongoing pandemic enhances those risks. COVID-19 is a highly infectious, life-threatening disease, spread through person-to-person contact. Because it has a long incubation period—when carriers may not show symptoms, but still be highly contagious—and the ability to mutate into novel variants, it is very difficult to control the spread of COVID-19.

Cornell cannot guarantee a COVID- or disease-free environment at any program. This means that you must familiarize yourself with the risks, assess your comfort level with an experience abroad, and be willing to take responsibility for your own risk mitigation.

Please take advantage of Cornell's partnership with International SOS and call the assistance center at any time to ask questions about your destination. Find more resources on our Health and Safety page.

 

Do I need to sign any special documents for study abroad during COVID-19?

All students who participate in Office of Global Learning study abroad programs are required to acknowledge and agree to financial, withdrawal, cancellation, and refund policies prior to participation. Applicants are also required to complete the International Travel Registry. In this secure registry, you acknowledge and agree to hold harmless and general standards of conduct for off-campus international activities. Please review all documents and language carefully, being sure you understand all contents and risks associated with study abroad during COVID-19. Talk with one of our advisors if you have questions or concerns.

 

Will students studying abroad be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes. In line with Cornell’s policy regarding student vaccination on its own campuses, students intending to study abroad must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their departure for any program, unless they have obtained an approved exemption. Students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. Please register your vaccination status through Daily Check using the COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination tool.

Students should also be aware that particular study abroad programs, institutions, airlines, and U.S. or foreign governments may establish their own safety protocols (including but not limited to quarantine, testing, and vaccination requirements), may require evidence of vaccination upon enrollment or entry into the country, and may not consider medical or religious exemptions.

Students choosing to participate in study abroad are subject to all such requirements, and are responsible for maintaining awareness of such requirements as they evolve. Failure to comply with any requirements may result in an inability to travel or participate in the program, and any resulting costs will be the student’s responsibility.

 

Should I bring my COVID-19 vaccination card with me?

Yes. As countries determine how best to verify vaccination status for entrance requirements and mobility restrictions, International Travel Health and Safety advises you to bring your original, fully completed vaccination card when you travel abroad.

This card is difficult to replace, and in most cases, Cornell cannot assist you—so treat this card as you would your passport. With ever-changing travel restrictions, the loss of or inability to provide this card may mean you can’t travel as planned. 

We do not suggest you laminate your card, particularly if the data was printed on thermal printer paper or stickers. The heat from laminating can cause your information to be unreadable.

 

The CDC and Department of State say to avoid travel to my destination. Shouldn't I listen? 

Yes. You should make your decision to study abroad after careful consideration of all available information. Both the CDC and DoS are valuable resources for advice and guidance as you assess your comfort level with the risks associated with travel. CDC advice is based on specific criteria that consider incidence rate and new case trajectory and is one of many sources Cornell—and you as a traveler—need to consider.

Some people are comfortable taking on more risk than others. If you decide to pursue study abroad, you should commit to making every reasonable effort to mitigate risk. Visit our Health and Safety page for more information about managing your risk during international travel.

 

Can I get a visa to go abroad? 

Visa service availability has fluctuated this past year, however, and getting the proper visa may take much longer than it did before the pandemic. You'll need to work with your program administrator and be extra-diligent in the application process. Every country's process and time frame are different, and Cornell has no control over these factors.

You may need to incur expenses related to getting your visa before Cornell has communicated the program status decisions. As study abroad programming is currently conditional, you should be aware that these expenses may be lost and are not refundable by Cornell or the agency that issued the visa.

 

Will I have to take a COVID-19 test to enter my host country or return to the United States? 

This is very likely. There is currently a requirement for all U.S.-bound travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours or evidence of recovery from a previous infection. Many other countries have this or similar requirements. Cornell’s travel medical insurance does not provide a benefit to cover the cost of these tests. Your primary insurance may, but most likely on a reimbursement basis. There may also be specific requirements about which type of tests will be accepted and additional verifications or forms. A couple of good sources on entrance restrictions are International SOS's COVID-19 page, which you can access through the Cornell International SOS portal and Fragomen’s Immigration Update: Coronavirus

 

Will I need to quarantine in my host destination, and what would that entail? 

It depends. Quarantine means different things in different countries and may or may not be required. In some locations, a quarantine may be in a government-arranged facility or hotel with prescribed meals and no ability to leave your room until released. In other locations, you may be asked to self-quarantine in your own accommodations. It is very important to follow all quarantine requirements. In most cases, violators are subject to fines or criminal prosecution. Cornell cannot assist if you break your quarantine and incur penalties.

 

What if I get sick or injured while abroad? 

All Cornell travelers are covered by travel medical insurance, which provides 100 percent coverage for any “urgent or emergent” ailment while abroad. If you test positive for COVID-19 while abroad and need hospitalization, this means the insurance will cover the cost in the same way it would for a twisted ankle or medically necessary evacuation. Take the time to understand this insurance and the benefits provided and not provided. Visit our Health and Safety page for more information.

Getting sick or injured while abroad does not mean you can choose to return to the United States for care and have the insurance cover those costs. Evacuation from a destination must be medically necessary, and in most cases, the patient is transported to the nearest facility that can care for them. You should also understand that medical systems abroad may not always provide the same level of access or standards of care that are available in the United States, and that the availability of some resources may be or become limited due to the pandemic.

 

What if I test positive for COVID-19 while abroad? 

If you test positive for COVID-19 while abroad, immediately contact the appropriate staff at your host institution and seek medical care. International SOS can help arrange medical care, if necessary. All Cornell students abroad are covered by a travel medical insurance plan, which includes care for COVID-19. Please also reach out to Cornell by email or via International SOS.

Be aware that you may not be able to return to your home country right away or have a family member swiftly join you in your host country. Cornell support to return to your home country for continued medical care, if not medically required, will be limited or not possible. Options for a family member to join you in-country may be limited or not possible due to travel restrictions, required quarantine, and the like. Cornell, International SOS, and your host will remain in communication throughout any prolonged illness to support you to the greatest degree possible.

 

What if my school or program shuts down after I arrive? 

We have worked with each school or partner abroad to ensure contingency plans if in-person classes cannot continue or must be paused. In most if not all cases, you can expect to be allowed to complete the semester virtually. Each program is different, however, and you should speak with your advisor about the nuances of your program.

 

Will I be able to return to the United States when my program is complete? 

Currently, U.S. citizens and other specific persons (including students on a valid F-1 visa) are able to enter the United States from any country. If you are not a U.S. citizen, there is the chance that you will not be allowed to return to the United States as planned. If you are not able to return for any reason, you may be required to incur additional unexpected costs.

Restrictions on entry into the United States and other countries have changed often in the past year, and you should plan to monitor them very closely while you’re abroad. Aside from contacting the appropriate embassy or consulate directly, a couple of good sources on entrance restrictions are International SOS's COVID-19 page, which you can access through the Cornell International SOS portal, and Fragomen’s Immigration Update: Coronavirus.

 

Financial Questions?

Check out our Finances page and new Finances FAQ for answers to your questions about program costs and other financial considerations.

back to top