See our Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about the Study Abroad programme.
Can I travel overseas for University activity (eg Study Abroad) in the academic year 2020/21?
Decisions to grant students permission to travel abroad during the 2020/21 academic year will be assessed on a country-by-country basis. We will be informed by:
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance;
- guidance from our insurance provider;
- government and institutional policies in the host country.
If you wish to travel, you must follow the process outlined below. Completion and approval of the updated Risk Assessment is mandatory, even if you have already been accepted to study abroad by one of our institutional partners.
What if I am on a programme with integrated study abroad and don’t want to travel?
Any students on programmes with integrated study abroad who do not wish to travel will be supported in their decision and might be offered alternative options, where possible. We will contact those students affected soon with more information about this.
There is still much uncertainty about travel restrictions worldwide. Please rest assured that we will keep our position under constant review and will continue to take steps to protect your safety.
Are there any special measures I need to put in place when travelling to my host country?
You will need to refer to your Health & Safety travel risk assessment form and ensure you are following procedures laid out by airlines and your host country and local authorities. Further information will also be available via the FCO www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-checklist
Can I defer my study abroad placement to either later in the academic year or next academic year?
You need to discuss this with your Study Abroad Coordinator and the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office (voluntary mobilities), or your School (compulsory mobilities) at the earliest opportunity.
Can I delay the start of my study abroad placement?
This will be a decision for the host institution and your School; each institution is implementing their own policies regarding delayed attendance and you should follow their instruction. It might be possible to study online from your home to start with, and then travel, however some institutions will only allow you to study online for the whole semester or be present for the whole semester. Do your research early about what is possible.
Can I go to a different university if I am unable or do not want to travel to my allocated institution?
In general, it is not possible to change institutions as quotas have already been agreed with our partners. However, for voluntary mobilities you should contact the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will see what is possible. Students on compulsory mobilities should contact their School Study Abroad Coordinator.
Can I leave my placement even if the University of Reading has not recalled students / FCO has changed its guidance?
Our priority remains student wellbeing and welfare. However, there may be academic and financial consequences if you leave your placement. Please consult with your Study Abroad Coordinator at the earliest opportunity.
Can I remain in country even if the FCO and University of Reading guidance recommends I return to the UK?
The normal expectation is that you would return to the UK or home country. However, it is understood that there could be valid reasons why you might wish to remain in country. You would need to discuss your decision with your School and complete a further risk assessment. There could be insurance and financial implications if you decide to remain in country in this circumstance.
How can I get information to ensure that I am up-to-date with local in-country information?
Regularly review the information provided by the FCO:
You will need to confirm that you are registered on sufficient modules – your Academic Tutor and Study Abroad Coordinator can assist you.
Erasmus and Study Abroad Office (ESAO) will update Student Finance, but it is likely that you will need to complete a form, so we recommend you confirm the decision with them. (will update Student Finance, and there may be some implications for you so speak to the Student Finance team directly for advice??)
Once my Study Abroad placement has been confirmed, how should I gain approval to travel for insurance purposes?
Once your Study Abroad placement has been confirmed, please take the following steps to seek approval to be covered by University insurance:
Review all the information on these pages before starting the process
Obtain and review information on the country or countries you plan to visit on the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. UG students studying abroad for a semester or a full academic year as part of their degree will receive further information from the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office and your School.
Complete Risk Assessment for Study Abroad for Academic year 2020 -2021 (to be shared with undergraduate students planning to study abroad for a semester or a full year) normally no later than 28 days in advance of travel.
Once you have received formal approval, you should complete the necessary logistics, such as travel booking, visa (if required), personal health planning, purchasing additional insurance if required etc.
Complete the Overseas Travel Form on RISIS when your travel details are finalised before you travel (and keep up-to-date if there are any changes)
What if there is a local COVID-19 outbreak whilst I am abroad?
The University of Reading will be in contact with students with information if the FCO guidance for a country (or region) changes. You should:
Ensure you stay safe.
Follow the local and /or national advice provided by the host institution and local authorities
Share this local information with the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office as soon as possible.
You should also ensure that you access the various FCO information sources for your country, and the information on the Healix Travel Oracle app. Do not make any decisions without consulting with your Study Abroad Coordinator and the host institution.
What paperwork do I need to complete to be allowed to study abroad?
This will depend on where you are going. Either the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office or your School will confirm what is required. All students must complete the Health and Safety Travel Risk Assessment and submit it for approval before any travel or accommodation is arranged. The Erasmus & Study Abroad Office or your School will provide you with a copy in advance of your placement. A copy is stored in Blackboard page ‘Erasmus and Study Abroad Information (Outgoing Students)’.
What should I do if I have concerns about my personal situation?
If this is before you travel, please contact your Study Abroad Coordinator and / or the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office to discuss. If you are already in country, please contact the Study Abroad Office (or equivalent) at your host institution to discuss, and your Study Abroad Coordinator and / or the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office at Reading thereafter.
What support can I receive if I feel like I need help?
Your host institution or organisation is your first port of call if anything happens. However, you remain a University of Reading student and therefore can access the relevant support here. See Health and Wellbeing pages to see what is available to you. Also you can contact the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office and your school for assistance.
What will happen to my studies if I need to return to the UK / home country before finishing my time abroad?
This will depend on whether your host institution is able to allow you to study remotely online, and what impact your study abroad placement will have on your degree programme. You should contact and discuss this with your Study Abroad Coordinator before you make any decision.
When should I start the travel approval process?
You must complete the required documentation, including Risk Assessment, and gain approval before booking any travel. It is recommended that this is done at least 28 days in advance of travel, where possible.
Who do I need to communicate with whilst abroad?
Host Institution: In-country support e.g. study programmes; accommodation issues; arrival information; welcome week etc, as well as local guidance on Covid-19 measures
Study Abroad Coordinator: All academic matters about studying abroad (before, during and after); any concerns / personal matters whilst abroad.
Academic tutor: Personal matters; academic information about studies at Reading.
ESAO: Erasmus+/Study Abroad admin and paperwork; UoR/Erasmus/Student Finance grants; additional point of contact.
Schools will be in contact with students throughout their placements; in addition, ESAO will be in regular contact with students voluntarily studying abroad.We also ask you to be proactive in providing us with information updates and regularly checking your UoR email. Further details about communication points are recorded in the Study Abroad Handbook (see Blackboard page ‘Erasmus and Study Abroad Information (Outgoing Students)’)
Who should I contact if I start to feel ill when abroad?
Contact your host institution and follow guidance provided to you. They can provide you with local, up-to-date and in-country guidance. In addition, please update your Study Abroad Coordinator here at Reading, especially if you think that this could impact on your studies abroad.
Will I need to go into quarantine / self-isolation at the host institution?
Each country will have different policies, which might be different between various regions within that country. It is important that you keep up-to-date and follow the instructions provided to you by the host institution, the government advice provided by the host country’s government and the FCO guidance.
Will I receive Erasmus funding and will it be affected if I return from placement early?
The Erasmus & Study Abroad Office will update eligible students of any developments. If funding is available and awarded, it is likely to be affected by an early departure, but it will depend on the timing and circumstances. Please contact the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office (email@example.com) for more information.
Am I covered by University insurance (including for COVID-19) if I am travelling on behalf of the University?
If the relevant University authorities have approved the travel then you will be covered as long as the appropriate Risk Assessments and other documents have been completed.
When your travel has been approved, the University Insurance policy covers you if you develop symptoms or contract COVID-19, but you must be adhering to all local government and UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice. Any changes to this will be updated on this page and communicated to affected students.
Can I travel to an ‘exempted country’ as per the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) list?
If the University has approved travel, following the process outlined above, then yes you will be able to travel and covered by insurance as long as the appropriate Risk Assessments etc. have been completed and travel has been approved by relevant University authorities. If, during your trip the UK FCO advice is re-enforced “against all but essential travel”, then full cover will apply.
Can I travel to countries not on the ‘exempted from all but essential travel’ UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) list?
In some very specific cases we may grant permission for essential travel to countries not exempted by the UK FCO. However, a full risk assessment must be carried out and relevant approval sought. We may consider this for the following activities:
External research funding purposes
If approval is granted by the relevant University authorities then you would be covered by the University insurance policy, with the following exceptions. Cover will not apply for the following:
Cancellation or curtailment
Political or natural disaster evacuation
What happens if the UK FCO changes its advice and recommends against “all but essential travel” to the country I am planning to visit (eg it becomes a ‘non-exempted country’)?
Before you travel, you should monitor the UK FCO website regularly to keep up to date with the latest information for the country you are planning to visit.
If the UK FCO advice “against all but essential travel” for the country you are travelling to is re-enforced prior to your trip, you must re-submit your Risk Assessment form for re-consideration.
If the advice changes while you are already overseas, you will be covered by University Insurance and we will contact students affected to provide further information about recommended next steps.
If I am living outside of the UK and it is approved that I can travel for University activity (for research, placements, Study Abroad or fieldwork), am I insured?
You must seek approval to travel by completing the Risk Assessment process outlined above, before you travel. Once we have received your Risk Assessment, we will review it alongside the information obtained and forward to insurers for review. It is possible that certain elements of the policy may not be covered in these circumstances or there may be an additional premium required. We will let you know once the decision has been made by the insurance company. You should not travel until we have confirmed this.
Who can I contact for more information?
Please contact your Study Abroad Coordinator for further advice. If you do not know who this is, please visit our website.