2021 ISEP Program Updates, Policies, and COVID-19 Information

February 19, 2021

Click on a frequently asked question or topic below for details regarding 2021 ISEP programs.

Are ISEP 2021 programs still running, and are the dates finalized?

Yes, we are currently planning to run most 2021 programs and are accepting applications now in advance of summer, fall, and academic year priority application deadlines. When we learn of program cancellations, we remove those dates from the program page.

Over the coming months we will be monitoring health guidance from the World Health Organization, CDC, U.S. State Department, our university partners and other organizations. We’re also collecting pandemic response plans from each of our host sites and monitoring vaccination rates around the world.

As ISEP host institutions finalize their plans, we will update ISEP program pages and inform program applicants. We recommend waiting to purchase your flight until final dates are confirmed or purchasing flights with flexible, low-cost date changes.

When are the application deadlines for fall, summer, and academic year 2021 programs?

Our priority application deadline for ISEP Exchange programs is March 1 for fall (SM1), summer, and academic year (21-22) programs.

ISEP Direct programs have different applications deadline, so please see our ISEP Direct Program Deadlines page for information on your program of interest.

When will I need to commit to my ISEP program?

You’ll commit to your program by signing an acceptance package, which you can review with your ISEP Home University Coordinator and ISEP Student Advisor. The due date on your acceptance package will vary for each student, but for students who apply by our March 1 priority deadline, it is likely to be in April or May.

How will current travel restrictions impact my ability to study abroad?

ISEP students come from universities all over the world, and travel restrictions will vary based on your home country, current location, and planned host country. We recommend that you start an application to your program of interest so we can provide updates, and that you also monitor your home country and host country’s restrictions. We will update you if there are changes that impact your ability to participate in a program.

U.S. students may have heard that there is currently a travel ban in place for Americans hoping to travel to the European Union. Students traveling for the purpose of study are exempt. At this time, European travel restrictions do not prevent U.S. students from traveling to countries within the E.U. for a study abroad program, and ISEP is currently operating programs with in-person learning in Europe.

How can I find the requirements for the program I’m interested in?

Each ISEP Member University may have a number of programs. You can find specific requirements on each individual program page, which shows academic and language requirements, fields of study, dates and fees, and links to course lists. When you add a program to your application, you can return to the corresponding page by clicking on the program’s title.

What happens if my home university will not allow me to study abroad, my host university cancels my program, or travel restrictions prevent me from going on my program?

In the event that a home university, host university, or travel restrictions prohibits a student from participating on a program after a student applies but before the program begins, ISEP will:

· Attempt to find you an alternate academically appropriate placement,
· Defer you to a later semester in the same program, or
· Refund all fees paid to ISEP except for the non-refundable application fee and any non-recoverable costs, only if the student does not wish to accept an alternate placement.
· For students in a Global Experiences Internship Program, ISEP will refund all fees paid to ISEP except for a non-refundable $1,000 deposit.

If my program is cancelled, will I get a refund?

If your program is cancelled prior to the start of the program, ISEP will refund all fees paid to ISEP except for the non-refundable application fee and any non-recoverable costs from the host site. We ask all ISEP host institutions to determine if they plan to run their program before any non-recoverable fees would be incurred, so those fees are usually related to the cost of a visa, passport, or other personal expenses, although this is not guaranteed. For internships with The Intern Group, students may transfer any fees paid to TIG for another program location or a future credit.

What happens if my program moves online or I am asked to return home while I’m abroad?

If your program moves online while you are abroad, your host university will have already prepared for this contingency and will provide options for academic continuity. You will still be able to complete your semester and receive credit by participating in your courses remotely. In some cases, this might be a temporary cease of in-person instruction, after which time you will complete the semester in-person.

If it is determined to be in the best interests of the student’s health and safety to return to their home country before the program is complete, ISEP will work closely with your host institution to provide alternative modes of instruction that can be completed virtually/remotely.

If all my classes are online, can I withdraw from my program and receive a refund?

  1. If the entire program moves online (for the whole semester) prior to the start of your program, you have the option to continue to attend, or request a refund.
  2. If all of your classes are online for the first few weeks, but you may live on site, and classes are scheduled to transition to in-person, ISEP will continue to operate the program and your host institution will provide support and academic continuity. ISEP will not provide refunds.
  3. If your program starts in person, and then must temporarily transition online due to an outbreak, your host institution is providing academic continuity and you are able to receive academic credits. ISEP will not issue refunds.

If I decide to withdraw from my program, will I receive a refund?

If your program is not cancelled and you chose to withdraw, ISEP’s standard withdrawal policy will apply.

Are there any virtual options available?

Yes! ISEP is pleased to offer virtual internship options through The Intern Group. We also are offering a new virtual service-learning program in Barcelona. With flexible options for all fields of study, these programs offer a rich, cross-cultural opportunity to gain hands-on skills that employers are seeking. You can learn more about ISEP Virtual Opportunities on our website.

Health & Safety Abroad

ISEP’s Response to COVID-19

    • ISEP works closely with its Member Institutions to ensure the health and safety of all students is the number one priority of the organization. We closely monitor local health and safety conditions at all host sites and make programmatic decisions with this information.
    • ISEP maintains a standing Health and Safety Taskforce which meets regularly to ensure we have a consistent and thorough set of policies and procedures that are designed to assess individual scenarios and allow staff to act accordingly in supporting students.
    • In addition to closely monitoring governmental and non-governmental agencies, ISEP also utilizes its health and safety partner, On Call International, as well as our ISEP staff and coordinators abroad to determine whether a program meets its high standards for a safe environment for students to learn and grow.

What are ISEP’s COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols?

    • ISEP shares its Health & Safety standards and communications protocols on its website. As we’ve learned more about best practices put forth by the WHO and CDC, we’ve amended our health and safety protocols in order to respond quickly and effectively to ensure student safety and academic continuity in the event that a COVID-19 outbreak impacts the on-site learning experience of our students.

ISEP guidance for reducing exposure and spread of COVID-19

    • ISEP actively collects information related to COVID-19 response and mitigation from all of our host universities. We use this information to share with students our recommendations for reducing their exposure and potential spread of COVID-19. In addition, we share recommendations presented by global epidemiological and public health experts during pre-departure orientation, in-person orientation, and through regular email communications.

Will I need a COVID vaccine to participate in my ISEP study abroad program?

Students are required to understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of their program. If the student’s host country, host university, home university, home country, or travel provider require a COVID-19 vaccination, students should comply with that requirement. ISEP expects changes to vaccine requirements for 2021 and 2022 programs. Students should monitor program expectations and terms of participation. For your host institution’s requirements, please see your program acceptance package. ISEP will notify students if we become aware of changes in the terms of participation for their program.

What will my on-site experience be like during COVID-19?

    • While COVID-19 presents unique challenges to universally ensure continuous in-person instruction, our expectation of all of our host universities is that academic continuity is to be prioritized in the event of a disruption to in-person instruction in order to address potential COVID-19 transmission.
    • Students should be prepared to adhere to local expectations related to PPE and social distancing inside and outside of the classroom.
    • Extra-curricular opportunities will be assessed by our host university coordinators, who are best positioned to recognize the local health conditions. Students should follow all guidance from their host institution related to social distancing and PPE.
    • All ISEP member institutions have been reviewed closely to ensure that they are providing safe, clean, and academically appropriate housing for their hosted students. ISEP is reviewing all housing options provided by member institutions to ensure that they are meeting standards recommended by local public health officials and best practices declared by other governmental and non-governmental organizations. It is expected that housing will be provided for the duration of a student’s program regardless of a potential COVID-19 outbreak.

Insurance Coverage

    • ISEP requires that all students are covered by health and emergency evacuation insurance coverage while abroad. Our health insurance coverage is comprehensive and includes free testing for COVID-19 as well as treatment, if needed, following a $50 deductible. To learn more, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on ISEP Health Insurance.