Helping Lumberjacks through the pandemic
Coping with COVID-19 while traveling
NAU is committed to delivering in-person study abroad opportunities to students when: host country borders are open; host institutions are able to accept international exchange students; students have ready access to quality healthcare in-country; and the U.S. Embassy is open and operational in the host country. There is much out of our control and we will move forward as circumstances allow, working closely with students to offer relevant information about the risk they are accepting and helping them to be well prepared for the heightened security measures they must take to travel internationally at this time.
NAU is pre-screening factors to determine that baseline safety measures are in place to support student learning and travel. We have established protocols, a risk mitigation plan, and health and safety recommendations to respond to a new world. NAU is working with organizations statewide and internationally to create and/or identify the best student support strategies possible.
As global citizens, we must be aware of circumstances and adjust to an ever changing environment that can change our plans at a moment’s notice. Accordingly, back-up plans for the upcoming Spring 2022 semester are strongly recommended in order to respond to changing circumstances.
NAU students abroad have dealt with just about everything, from social unrest to a global pandemic. Challenging experiences like these provide incredible resiliency and learning opportunities. In a world where change is the constant, there is one thing that will remain unchanged, our commitment with you, to support you, and give you the best opportunities we can.
Pre-departure Presentation Slides:
Prior to going abroad
When should I buy a flight? Accordion Closed
We recommend that you do not purchase airfare until you have received your official acceptance letter and visa. However, we understand that flight prices increase closer to departure. If you choose to purchase a flight early, ensure that the flight can be changed if needed and know exactly how much that change fee is. We strongly recommend selecting refundable flights and flight insurance in case of delays or cancellations.
How does NAU Safe work? Accordion Closed
The NAU Safe app features notifications and alerts, tools for responding to an emergency, tips for staying safe on campus, and other enhanced features. In addition to alerts on NAU campuses, students studying abroad will receive important alerts and announcements through the app, such as natural disaster alerts, political/social unrest, and important COVID-19 related messages. The emergency number for Education Abroad can also be accessed from the app as well.
As a parent, can I contact the NAU Education Abroad office to request information about my student? Accordion Closed
Parents are welcome to contact the Center for International Education at 928-523-2409 if they have general inquiries. Parents should note that according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as FERPA), a student’s university-related records including educational, financial, and personal information are confidential. The Education Abroad office can only release information on a specific student if that student has filled out the FERPA. If students wish for their parents to have access to their personal information through NAU while the student is abroad, the student is encouraged to sign the FERPA release.
If parents have inquiries on their specific student, they are encouraged to contact the student’s Education Abroad Advisor.
When do I enroll in classes? Accordion Closed
The Education Abroad office recommends that students enroll in a full course load of classes for the study abroad term on NAU campus or NAU Online in the event that the study abroad program is cancelled at a later date. Courses should be chosen according to the student’s study plan.
If the study abroad program is not cancelled, these classes can be dropped at a later date shortly before the start of the semester, and the study abroad course can be added. More details about the study abroad course can be found in the Education Abroad application. Ask your Education Abroad Advisor for details.
Depending on the student’s academic and financial aid plan, students should consider enrolling in at least one NAU Online class while abroad which they will complete. This may prevent future enrollment or financial aid implications if the study abroad program is cancelled after the start of the semester. This situation is dependent on the host institution’s start of the academic term.
When will my Financial Aid disburse? Accordion Closed
Financial aid disbursement first covers tuition, fees, and other outstanding charges on your LOUIE account. If aid remains, students will receive the remaining funds. If there are outstanding To Do List items in LOUIE, aid may not be disbursed. Federal regulations require that financial aid is disbursed 10 days before the start of the student’s academic term. If students are enrolled only in courses abroad, aid will disburse 10 days prior to the start date of the academic program.
If students are enrolled in NAU Online courses in addition to host courses abroad, aid could disburse earlier if the online class starts earlier. For more information on Financial Aid disbursement, see the OFSA website. The NAU academic calendar can be found on the Registrar’s website. The academic calendar for your host institution abroad can be found on their website or in email communications sent during the application process; if you cannot locate the date of the start of your academic term, contact your Education Abroad Advisor.
What happens if host country borders close prior to leaving? Accordion Closed
Open borders in the host country is one of the pre-screening requirements for program approval. If borders close, the Education Abroad team will evaluate the likelihood of borders reopening within time of the start of your program abroad in coordination with your host institution’s international office. If it does not appear that borders will open in time for your study abroad program, the program will likely be cancelled either by the host institution or NAU. Students should be prepared for cancellation at any time. Your Education Abroad Advisor will work with you to find another program in a different location if possible.
What happens if the Department of State issues a Travel Advisory of Level 4 for my host country prior to leaving? Accordion Closed
A Travel Advisory of Level 4 is a recommendation from the U.S. Department of State to not travel to such location or return or the U.S. immediately if currently in that location. The Education Abroad office will evaluate the Travel Advisory alert and provide additional instructions regarding your study abroad program. If the Travel Advisory is due to a natural disaster, political/social unrest, or another security threat, the Education Abroad team will work with you on an evacuation plan.
Will I receive a refund if my program is canceled? Accordion Closed
NAU Education Abroad will refund your $100 EA application fee if your study abroad program is cancelled by NAU or your host institution. The application fee will not be refunded if the student withdraws from the program and it has not been cancelled by either institution. International health insurance will be refunded on a pro-rated basis as long as a claim has not been made on the policy. Other expenses incurred, such as flight tickets, housing payments, ISEP or other provider program fees must be negotiated with the provider.
Who is my go-to point of contact while I am abroad? Accordion Closed
Your go-to point of contact while abroad is your Education Abroad Advisor and your host university’s international student staff. In the event of an emergency, both parties should be contacted in the same email. Your host university may also provide other ways of contacting them, and their response times will be much faster. If you need to call the NAU Education Abroad office, the emergency number is 610-254-5830 or 800-285-3943.
Do I need to quarantine when I arrive? Accordion Closed
Consult government sources for the latest information to guide arrival protocols and requirements. Some countries may require a mandatory quarantine on arrival, meaning students may need to arrive early and pay for accommodation, possibly at their own expense. You may be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure or on arrival regardless of vaccination status. You may required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the country and/or public spaces such as restaurants, buses, etc. It is the student’s responsibility to research requirements and follow protocols to participate on the study abroad program.
Resources to research requirements and protocol include:
- U.S. Department of State country-specific and Travel Advisories pages
- U.S. Department of State international emergencies page
- CDC Travelers’ Health website
- U.S. Embassy website of your host country
- Enroll in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to receive notifications from the U.S. Embassy in your host country
- Embassy/Consulate website of your host country
- Specific instructions sent by your host institution
Students should check their email for instructions and check the above resources regularly, as government requirements may change at time without notification.
What COVID protocol do I follow? Accordion Closed
Always follow the protocol of your host country and your host institution, keeping in mind U.S. recommendations as well. If there is conflicting information, follow the protocol that is most conservative.
Do I need to wear a mask/face covering while I am abroad? Accordion Closed
Policies and government enforcement vary on a country-by-country basis. Students must follow the policies on face coverings set by the host institution, local governments, and host country, as well as be aware of cultural attitudes towards COVID-19 prevention and vaccination status to be respectful ambassadors of NAU and the USA. Consequences such as fines and jail time may be enforced if COVID protocols are not followed.
How do I respond to an emergency (of any kind)? Accordion Closed
An emergency is any immediate threat to your health or safety. Are you in danger, are you seriously injured or sick? Get help immediately.
Save the equivalent of the “911” emergency number of your host country in your cell phone, as well as your international health insurance number, host university and NAU’s contact information. The Education Abroad 24-hour emergency line at +1-602-254-5830. Remain calm and problem solve.
If a student experiences a medical emergency abroad, they are encouraged to use the international health insurance they are provided (either through NAU if they are on an exchange program, or through their provider if they are on a provider program) to seek necessary medical attention.
Students can also contact their Education Abroad advisor for less urgent emergencies.
How do I manage my physical and mental health while abroad? Accordion Closed
Studying abroad can be a stressful experience. You may experience changes physically and mentally. The NAU Education Abroad team is a resource for you and will check in regularly during your time abroad. If you are experiencing challenges, please communicate so we can help.
NAU Education Abroad provides CISI international health insurance that will help cover costs related to illness, including diagnostic testing, prescriptions, hospital stays, and, in serious cases, travel back to the student’s home country if medically advised. U.S. health insurance coverage should not be cancelled, in the case the student returns to the U.S. International health insurance does not include domestic coverage except in certain circumstances; for more details, see the CISI insurance policy sent directly to the student on enrollment.
Living in a new environment with different cultural norms, social expectations, and ways of life can be challenging. You will likely encounter occasional challenges and frustrations, which is completely normal. If you are dealing with an issue you do not know how to address, reach out to your Education Abroad Advisor, host institution staff, and your social support network. Consider making a communication plan with your social network and be mindful of your time spent on social media to stay present in your unique situation. Push yourself to make new friends in your host country. Maintain healthy habits that help you relieve stress, such as exercise, hobbies, and self-care activities. Do not stop taking or change prescribed medications without consulting a doctor or health professional.
What should I do if I become ill or have a medical emergency while I am abroad? Accordion Closed
If you become ill while abroad, seek medical attention and notify your host institution staff and your NAU Education Abroad Advisor as soon as possible. Utilize resources provided by CISI international health insurance. If you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms, there may be special instructions from your host institution which must be followed. Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested following host university instructions as soon as possible, as agreed upon in the Global Citizenship Contract signed by the student.
If you have an medical emergency while abroad (your life is in danger or you have a serious injury), seek medical help immediately by calling an ambulance or going to the nearest hospital. After you are safe or have received medical care, call your host institution contact and inform your Education Abroad Advisor of your status for additional support and guidance. Keep your international insurance card with you at all times.
What happens if the host country’s borders close while I am abroad? Accordion Closed
If host country borders close while you are abroad, the Education Abroad office will evaluate the situation and provide instructions on returning home or sheltering in place. It is critical that you maintain fast and transparent communication with the Education Abroad office, as your safety is our priority.
Will I be required to return home if the Department of State Travel Advisory reaches a Level 4 for my host country? Accordion Closed
A Travel Advisory of Level 4 is a recommendation from the U.S. Department of State to not travel to such location or return or the U.S. immediately if currently in that location. Depending on the nature of the Travel Advisory, the Education Abroad office will evaluate the situation and provide instructions on returning home or sheltering in place. It is critical that you maintain fast and transparent communication with the Education Abroad office, as your safety is our priority.
What should I do if I need to come home? Accordion Closed
If you are recalled from your host country due to safety concerns or wish to withdraw from your study abroad program, do not leave before working with both your host institution and your Education Abroad advisor. Depending on your date of departure, there may be implications to your study plan, housing/meals agreements abroad, and financial aid. Your Education Abroad Advisor and your host program staff can assist you in navigating this transition.
Travelers have generally been permitted to travel back to their home countries, but it could be possible that travelers are restricted from border crossing if they test positive for COVID-19. In some cases, travelers must provide multiple negative COVID-19 tests to travel. Additionally, a risk of flight cancellations does exist. In those instances, s students may need to travel home via a third country. In extreme cases, NAU Education Abroad would work with the U.S. Department of State to get you on a charter flight home. Prior to leaving your host country, visit the U.S. Department of State website on entry requirements (such as a negative COVID test, etc. ) into the United States.
Prior to leaving the U.S. for your study abroad program, it is recommended that you purchase a no-change-fee ticket to allow you flexibility in travel plans. If you did not purchase this, contact your airline to inquire about the cost to change your flight date. If you purchased the cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) insurance, work directly with the company to submit a claim for payment/reimbursement of flight costs.
What course work will be available at NAU should I need to come home early? Accordion Closed
Available coursework from NAU at the time of your return home depends on the timing of your return and available course offerings. You can continue your coursework online with your host institution if available. If the term has already started, it is possible that you may be able to find courses starting later in the term. However, some courses may be full or restricted to certain majors. Courses available also depend on the offering from individual departments. The Education Abroad office will support you as we are able to help you find courses to enroll in if you return early; however, enrollment in courses is not guaranteed.
Will financial aid be implicated if I come home early? Accordion Closed
Depending on your academic situation, there could be financial implications if you withdraw from your program abroad, particularly if you are not earning any credit for the term. In some cases, students may be required to return all accepted Financial Aid. Implications vary depending on specific student situations, therefore students must work individually with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid with the support of their Education Abroad Advisor to determine a plan to mitigate financial aid implications.
Returning to the U.S.
Do I need to self-isolate or get a COVID-19 test when I return home? Accordion Closed
Currently a COVID-19 negative test is required to enter the United States. The CDC provides guidance on what you should do when returning from international travel.
What do I need to do to transfer my courses to NAU? Accordion Closed
Courses must be completed to earn credit. If your host institution changes the method of delivery for your courses, please be sure to follow through to the end to earn credit. Only credits on the transcript can be evaluated and transferred back to NAU. Courses taken abroad must have approved equivalencies to transfer back to NAU. The course approval process must be completed before we can post grades. For more help with course equivalencies, ask your Education Abroad advisor.
NAU requires an official transcript from your host institution to process your grades and usually these are sent from the host institution to your Education Abroad Advisor. After you finish courses abroad, an official transcript is created by your host institution which is used by NAU to post your grades according to your approved equivalencies. When grades post, CIE 299 is dropped from your LOUIE and the approved courses are posted. You may receive an email from Financial Aid saying you have dropped classes; if you have concerns, forward the email to your EA advisor.
Students cannot graduate with CIE 299 enrollment on LOUIE and a To Do List item will appear if grades have not been processed and CIE 299 removed by your Education Abroad Advisor. Incomplete course equivalencies may be posted as general elective within one year of your return with the grade received.
How can I keep my international experience alive? Accordion Closed
Your study or fieldwork abroad experience doesn’t end when you return home. Just as you encountered the stages of culture shock, you may also experience reverse culture shock when you return home.
Returning home after your study abroad can be exciting but also stressful or sad. Re-entry is the emotional process of readjustment and may feel similar to the culture shock experienced during study abroad. Some common re-entry challenges include boredom, difficulty explaining what you experienced, a lack of interest from others in hearing about your experience, changed relationships, and/or missing your life and relationships from abroad. If you are feeling overwhelmed by readjustment after return home, reach out to NAU Counseling Services. Your Education Abroad Advisor is also here to support you.
The Education Abroad office hosts re-entry events and provides resources to help in your adjustment, including the Global Gathering (an event of storytelling and connecting with other study abroad alumni and international students), a re-entry guide, professional development events, and several clubs to help keep your international experience alive (NAU Global Ambassador alumni program, International Friends program (iFriends). View all of the upcoming events with Education Abroad and get involved!
Caring for your mental health
- CDC – Mental Health and Coping with COVID 19
- NPR – Coronavirus has upended our world it’s okay to grieve
- AFAR – The Five Stages of Travel Grief – by Ashlea Halpern
- NPR – Pandemic Panic? These 5 Tips Can Help You Regain Your Calm – by Allison Aubrey
- Resources collected by Stronger As One
Self-care and staying physically active
- WHO – Be active during COVID 19
- WSJ – Work out at home article for all different levels
- American Society for Nutrition – Making Health and Nutrition a Priority during the Coronavirus pandemic
- Integrative considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic – science direct
Staying connected socially
What to do if You are Feeling Lonely during the Coronavirus by Susan Mcpherson
Social Distancing Can Make You Lonely. Here’s How to Stay Connected When You’re in Lockdown – by Michelle H Lim and Johanna Badcock in The Conversation
Ted Talk – Make Stress your Friend