Study and work abroad

We know that this has been a very unsettling time for you and we appreciate your patience during this period of uncertainty. Following a thorough review and consultation process, the University wishes to continue with a student-centred approach to study and work placements abroad for 2021-22, whereby the wishes, preferences, health, safety and wellbeing of our students are at the heart of our position.

University position on studying abroad in 2021/22

Yes, where it is safe and practicable, we will support your decision to attend an in-country placement whether that be for study or work abroad, subject to the following criteria:

  • travel to the host country is permitted by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO);
  • the host country’s border is open;
  • the host university/employer is able to host you in-person;
  • If it is possible to meet the host country’s entry requirements in time;
  • Your risk assessment

The situation will be constantly monitored, and the University of Kent reserves the right to withdraw the placement at a later date. 

The University followed a thorough review and consultation process, continuing its student-centred approach to study and work placements abroad, whereby the wishes, preferences, health, safety and wellbeing of our students are at the heart of our position.  

The options will be decided by your School based on what is suitable for your degree, taking into account course requirements, the availability of suitable virtual mobility, and building on the student experience and feedback of this past year.

Timing will also impact alternative options, for instance the likelihood of a transfer may not be possible the closer the date gets to the start of term.

The University’s decision to suspend a placement takes into account a number of health, safety, and administrative considerations (such as visa processing times). For this reason we are not able to reverse any suspension decisions related to Autumn 2021.

What should I consider when making my decision?

Travel

You can check the current situation on the FCDO’s travel advice website.

Please bear in mind that there may also be travel restrictions to certain countries or regions for other, non-Covid related reasons, for example a high risk of crime or terrorism in the area.

You can check the current situation on the FCDO’s travel advice website.  

  Check the latest advice from your host university or employer.   

Visas and entry requirements

Check with the Consulate for your host country regarding their current arrangements for submitting a visa application and booking an appointment.

At present, there are a number of countries which are not allowing UK citizens and/or flights from the UK, with study not listed as an exemption. If these restrictions are not lifted by the time you need to secure a visa, then travel will not be possible. 

Check the self-isolation, quarantine and vaccination requirements for your host country/university: this could involve providing proof of vaccination on entry, a quarantine period in a hotel or designated facility before moving into your student accommodation, self-isolation in your student accommodation or other arrangements.

Your host university may publish Covid information on their website or in emails to you. You can also contact the International Office or equivalent there directly for more information.

Regulations on social distancing and masks may be different from the UK and may vary from region to region in some countries; make sure that you are aware of requirements before you travel.

You can also find additional information for your host country on their Embassy’s website. Requirements could include, for example, Covid-testing on arrival, proof of vaccination, self-isolation for a set period in a specific location, quarantine for a set period in a designated hotel/facility.

Finance

Going abroad at any time carries a host of associated costs, but due to the pandemic there are now many additional costs to consider. These include, but are not limited to, the cost of quarantining in a hotel for a specified time upon arrival in the host country, the costs of private Covid-19 tests before travel, upon entry, and during quarantine, and the costs of returning to the UK, which again may require private Covid-19 tests and quarantine in a hotel. 

Additional costs such as these are excluded from the University’s travel insurance coverage.

If you are eligible for Student Finance funding, check with SFE in case you can include Covid-related costs in your travel grant application.

Potentially yes, if you had paid for travel, visas or accommodation and then were unable to go abroad, e.g. if you decided not to travel or travel was not permitted. If the UK or host government will not allow travel, costs would not be covered by insurance or the university. Similarly, if you chose at a late date to cancel your study placement, costs would not be covered by insurance or the university.

If you decided to leave the placement early for whatever reason, you would be bound by the terms of your accommodation contract and would need to liaise with the accommodation provider regarding any notice period, deposit or other arrangements. Costs of cancellations or new travel arrangements may or may not be covered by insurance depending on the individual circumstances.

Vaccinations

The university strongly encourages students who are undertaking a study/work placement overseas to take up the offer of a covid vaccination when the opportunity arises. Consider if it will be possible for you to have both doses of the vaccination before your placement is due to start.

Country entry requirements vary, so check if you will be asked to provide proof of vaccination on entry.

At some universities, proof of vaccination and/or complete a quarantine period may be required before you can move into your campus accommodation. Check if this is the case with your accommodation provider.

You will also need to consider, and comply with, any other health-related requirements the host country or institution/company may stipulate, for example other vaccinations or a health certificate.

Vaccine roll-out varies from country to country, there are also often different levels of access for residents and non-residents. In some case, vaccination programmes are run by each region/state within the country with varying arrangements.

A few universities are offering Covid-19 vaccinations on campus to their students so check if this is the case for your host university and if it is open to exchange students. Find out the vaccine requirements for your host university/country before you arrive.

If you are expecting to have the first dose over the summer, check with the host university if it is possible to get the second dose (of the same vaccine) in your host country.

UK universities are in discussion with the government about vaccination arrangements for students, but there are no changes at this time. Staff and students are called for vaccination by the NHS according to the national strategy.  

Insurance and health

The University’s travel insurance policy does not currently include a pandemic exclusion. However, it is anticipated that the Disruption and Serious Disruption sections of the policy, which provide coverage for expenses related to travel cancellation, disruption, rearrangement or repatriation, will exclude any loss arising due to a pandemic from 1 June 2022 onwards. The Medical Expenses section of the policy will not be subject to a pandemic exclusion.

It should be noted that the current Disruption coverage excludes losses arising from disinclination to travel, or to continue to travel, and expenses incurred as a result of regulations or order made by any Public Authority or Government. You may be required to take out additional coverage at your own cost if the host university/employer/country requires this.

Your health and safety is paramount so you will need to take into account your individual health risk and vulnerability to Covid-19, as well as the safety and wellbeing implications of travelling overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Please consider access to local health services at your destination and Covid-19 infection rates within the region. Resources for infection rates include the European Centre for Disease Control and the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre .

To make sure all health and safety aspects are considered, not just Covid-19, you will be asked to complete a Health Questionnaire and a Risk Assessment by Kent. The Risk Assessment will cover a wide range of topics, including the political and socio-economic situation in your host country. 

I do not want to continue with study/work abroad…

Please notify the Study Abroad/Erasmus team by 30th June. If you are due to do a work placement, please contact your Division Placement Office.

Then contact your school as soon as possible to complete a Change of Course form and to choose your final year modules. 

Please inform your School by 31st July and notify the Study Abroad/Erasmus team.

No, this would not be possible. 

I want to continue with study/work abroad in 2021/22…

Please notify the Study Abroad/Erasmus team using this form. We will send you the relevant paperwork, including:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Health Questionnaire

 Other paperwork such as the Learning Agreement and documents related to the Erasmus+ grant or, if relevant, to Turing Scheme funding will be sent separately.

Be prepared for changes of plan, for example due to changing travel restrictions. We recommend that you delay making any financial commitments for as long as possible, in case later changes prevent the placement going ahead.

If you deferred your Year abroad to 2021/22, please bear in mind that if you choose to proceed with your placement after this date and it is subsequently cancelled, you may have to graduate in November. 

Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis in a three stage process by a panel of International Partnerships staff in consultation with the Dean for Internationalisation and, where necessary, the Insurance Office and other Kent departments.

1) your initial response indicating your preference;

2) the panel will consider your Risk Assessment, and the criteria listed

Any queries related to your paperwork will be raised with you by email or through a Teams appointment.

Unfortunately, this cannot be guaranteed because of the potential for further changes over the summer, including but not limited to new travel restrictions or entry requirements, whether decided by the FCDO, your country of residence or your host country.

The situation will be constantly monitored, and the University of Kent reserves the right to withdraw the placement at a later date (please see our Year Abroad Terms and Conditions).  

International Partnerships will continue to monitor the situations in host countries closely throughout your time abroad. Please contact us if you have any concerns.

Depending on the circumstances, your preferences and FCDO advice, possible scenarios might include returning home and continuing to study online or staying in the host country following an updated risk assessment. 

Can I defer my Year Abroad until 2022/23...

Depending on the arrangements allowed by your School at Kent, it may be possible to defer the Year Abroad until 2022/23.

The Language Department does not allow deferral for students doing a Single Honours or Joint Honours Language degree because of the importance of completing the Year Abroad before Stage 3.

Please discuss this with your School and notify the Study Abroad/Erasmus teams of the decision. Please bear in mind that we will ask the host university if they can defer your place, but we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to send to same university as planned this year. Please note that deferring the Year Abroad may mean that you graduate in November 2023, rather than July, if the host university transcript does not arrive in time for the June Exam Boards.

Who to contact

You are welcome to email any questions to us at studyabroad@kent.ac.uk (for destinations outside Europe) or erasmus@kent.ac.uk (destinations within Europe) or book a Teams appointment with us.

To discuss the implications for your studies, you can also contact the Support team in your School or, for placements, the Placement Officer. 

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