COVID-19 Updates

We have been sending students abroad throughout the pandemic, and we are grateful for your confidence in us! 



I am supposed to depart for my program in a few weeks and just tested positive for COVID. I’m worried I will test positive before my flight. What do you recommend?

If the country you are going to accepts  PCR or antigen testing, then scheduling the antigen test, not the PCR test, may be advantageous. Though it may be challenging to find an antigen test within 24 hours of departure (often antigen tests are required within 24 hours of flying) –  it may be better for you.

This is why:

  • A PCR test will detect even a small amount of virus in the system – so someone could test positive for weeks after getting over COVID.  
  • An antigen test will likely only show if a person has large quantities of the virus in their system (and is most likely currently shedding the virus).  

In summary, if you’ve tested positive for COVID in the weeks leading up to travel, if your airline/host country regulations allow, try to use the antigen test path, if available, to fulfill the testing requirement for travel.  This article provides an overview of the different kinds of tests and how they work. Please contact your program coordinator with further questions.

If no testing is required to fly, we simply ask that you test yourself with rapid at home tests, and if you are testing negative then you are safe to join your program abroad.

What are CIS Abroad's health and safety policies with respect to COVID-19?

CIS Abroad has developed a site-specific risk management plan for every location so that health and safety protocols are monitored, managed and communicated throughout the semester. We have developed a COVID Care Package included in our program fee to make traveling and living in a host country easier on students, especially those first few weeks on-site:

  • COVID compliant airport pick-up and transfer to housing.
  • COVID-safe classrooms and campus facilities as well as access to masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies according to country and location specific standards.
  • Access to accommodation if isolation is necessary due to positive COVID test or exposure; this housing may incur additional charges.
  • Information and assistance on meal delivery, if students need to isolate.
  • Access to COVID testing; this testing may be an additional charge.
  • Medical and accident insurance that covers COVID-related illness (except for on programs operating in the USA).
  • Cultural activities and reflection that emphasize safe, local exploration geared to the specific context of being abroad at this special time.
Is CIS Abroad requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students?
For all 2022, and January/Spring 2023 programs, a vaccination is required. For all Summer 2023 and beyond programs, vaccination and boosters are strongly recommended. You can read the current policy here.
Why is CIS Abroad strongly recommending vaccination?

The WHO and US CDC agree that the vaccine helps reduce the risk of serious illness and helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CIS Abroad strongly recommends all participants receive the vaccination and boosters because it:

    • Reduces the health risk of:
      • Spreading COVID-19 and its variants to other parts of the world, including CIS staff, international partners and the communities where we have programs.
      • Contracting COVID-19 while abroad, which could lead to serious illness and death, missed classes and excursions, and mandatory isolation.
    • Reduces the financial risk of:
      • Being denied entry abroad if a country requires vaccination for entry.
      • Being denied acceptance to one of our international universities, housing, host families, or other local venues.
      • Having to isolate for longer periods of time if COVID positive
    • Reduces the academic risk of:
      • Missing important classes due to illness or mandatory isolation, due to changing regulations.
      • Missing out on amazing cultural experiences due to decreased access.

We’ve created this Why get vaccinated to study abroad? handout that outlines the reasons why being vaccinated is beneficial while abroad.

Can I get be denied entrance to a host country if I am not vaccinated?
International rules and regulations change rapidly. We abide by the local, regional and foreign government regulations governing COVID-19 and other vaccinations. CDC guidelines are here. We also abide by US sending institution rules and regulations re: sending students abroad. Host country and airline rules around vaccination can change at any time; participants are responsible for all related expenses that are incurred due to these changes and are subject to regular withdrawal policies if participation is not possible. This is why we strongly recommend vaccination; not only does it protect one’s health and those around them, but it protects against changing vaccination rules and regulations around the world.
Will I have to show proof of being vaccinated while I am abroad?
Maybe. International rules and regulations are subject to change at any time. This means that at any time, the country/region/host institution can change their rules and regulations regarding requiring vaccinations. This includes restaurants, flights, subways and other day-to-day activities. Some countries where we operate are requiring vaccination for entry, and some venues require people to be fully vaccinated to enter. This is why we strongly recommend being vaccinated and traveling with your card.
Will CIS staff and international university partners be vaccinated?
100% of CIS Abroad’s North America-based staff are fully vaccinated, and we’re getting close to 100% vaccination for staff around the world.  International universities will have their own requirements. Students will come into contact with unvaccinated individuals as they travel.
Will I be housed with vaccinated students?
Because we do not require vaccination, you will not necessarily be housed with vaccinated students.
What if CIS Abroad cancels a program after the program start date or a participant’s home university moves to recall all participants from their program abroad due to COVID-19 or any other event?
If CIS Abroad or a host university cancels or suspends a program after the program start date, or if a participant’s home university recalls participants from abroad after the program has begun, participants are not eligible for any refund of program costs. NOTE: If CIS cancels a program after the program start date due to health and safety concerns, early departure costs, travel plan changes, and housing are the responsibility of the participant. We have recommendations for trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect against this possibility.
If I am studying on my program and the government mandates that universities close, what will happen to me?
In the unlikely event that a university closes during the program, we will ensure that either you are housed until the university is able to reopen or that you are housed until you are able to return to the US. In either case academic continuity is guaranteed – you will be able to finish the semester either in person or online. See our Return to Travel Plan for our academic continuity information.
Will I be able to travel to other countries while I'm abroad?
Due to travel restrictions, we may ask students to not travel outside of their host countries during certain programs, however in most locations students will be able to travel freely anywhere they wish to visit.
Will I need to quarantine when I arrive?
Currently there are no CIS Abroad locations that require quarantine upon entry.


I noticed that not all of your programs are open for 2022/23. Why not?
We have made the careful decision to only open a program that we believe will meet our Guidelines for Restarting International Programming: it must be possible for US citizens to travel abroad, and return safely; there must be confidence that the host country is managing the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that would enable students to successfully complete their program; and, the program design, delivery, and advising strategy must be reviewed and potentially altered to mitigate risk to students, faculty, the host community, and onsite staff. Also, we recognize that there are changing trends in travel demand as we emerge from the pandemic, so we are not immediately re-opening all locations.
What are your refund policies?
We have fundamentally changed our refund policies to be as flexible as possible. Read more: CIS Abroad Refund Policy.
When can I book my plane ticket?
Please do not book your airplane ticket until your Program Coordinator tells you to do so!
When will I get a pre-departure orientation?
A pre-departure orientation webinar about a month prior to your program will give you program specific information. We also offer webinars designed for parents and guardians.
What if I've applied to a program that gets cancelled?
Please review the “special circumstances” section of our refund policy.
If I decide to withdraw from a program before it begins, will I receive a refund?
Please review our CIS Abroad Refund Policy. If you want to protect even more of your investment in your travel abroad, you can opt to purchase Trip Protection Insurance.
If I decide to withdraw from a program after it has begun, will I receive a refund?
Perhaps. Our refund policy states that once your program has started, if for any reason you withdraw or the program is suspended or cancelled, CIS Abroad will always recoup and refund you any recoverable* costs. Recoverable costs are noted on our refund page. If you want to protect your trip, you can opt to purchase Trip Protection Insurance.
If I have questions that are specific to my program location, to whom can these be directed?
Specific program location questions are addressed on the website page specific to your program and by your Program Enrollment Coordinator.


What if my US university cancels all study abroad programs?
CIS Abroad recommends that you talk to your study abroad office directly about your situation. Some students were able to petition to study abroad through an affiliate education abroad program, like CIS Abroad, even though their universities had officially cancelled study abroad.
Can CIS Abroad help me with my university's petition and/or risk management approval process?
We know some institutions are still in the process of making decisions around future travel. CIS Abroad has developed Site Specific Risk Mitigation Plans for each location in which we are operating. Talk to your Program Coordinator about how they or you can share this information with your study abroad office, use information to complete approval paperwork, etc. We also have a risk rubric that offices have found helpful in understanding which locations to open. If your university requests additional information not covered in these documents, please reach out to us.
Will my classes be in person?
Yes! Courses are scheduled to be in-person. Should the need arise due to the pandemic, hybrid courses or other types of online learning may be offered.


If I can’t go abroad right now, what other options are there for me?
We have developed Virtual Global Internships to give your work experience and bring some culture and fun into your online life! Previous interns have designed a children’s book, pitched a solar tree product concept to investors, and managed a B-corp certification project. Check out this engineering student blog. Earn credit, or earn a Micro-credential in Working Remotely Across Cultures.

Hear what students, interns, and alumni have to say

BOLDLY COMMITTED to providing the best experiences abroad