What To Expect

Arcadia Abroad is looking forward to supporting you as you pursue your study abroad program! While the influence of COVID-19 and its related challenges are still present worldwide, we are confident that your experience will excite you, challenge you, and help you build resilience, skills, and memories to last a lifetime.

Arcadia Abroad is committed to running programs where borders are open, healthcare access is predictable and adequately equipped, and opportunities for enriching experiences with the host culture and community are possible. Arcadia’s Health and Safety team works closely with our Resident Directors abroad to understand the true accessibility of COVID-19 care and local government education, policies, and mitigation approaches against the virus. Regular assessments are undertaken in close consultation with the medical and security experts at our assistance provider International SOS to examine the current conditions for travel to, and study in, these countries. 

Arcadia has thorough risk mitigation protocols and emergency response plans in place that are adaptable to the situation at hand. Our Residents Directors and in-country staff are fully prepared to support students with the usual Arcadia Abroad touch. Our standing advice to students remains: your ability to have a safe and successful experience depends as much on your own preparedness and individual actions as it does on Arcadia’s support. In our experience operating programs since Fall 2020, we have seen vaccines play a vital role in reducing major symptoms of COVID-19, however most students should expect the disruption of quarantine or isolation at some point in the term.

While no one knows what the next few months or years may look like given the unique reality of COVID-19, one thing remains constant - Arcadia Abroad places you, the student, at the center of all we do.

Prepare for Your Time Abroad

Traveling during a pandemic is a high-risk activity that requires you to assume a high level of responsibility and ownership over your experience. As you embark on your study abroad journey and consider traveling in a COVID-19 world, we promise to embody our mission and values in the programs we deliver. As a student, you should prepare to incorporate the following principles into your personal mission and values abroad:

  • Flexibility: Carry a high degree of flexibility as Arcadia Abroad, your host country, and your host institution (if applicable) may need to make changes in response to global and local shifts. This could include, for example, the need to quarantine if there is an outbreak of COVID in the host community or in your residence, or potential changes to your class schedule.
  • Respect: Graciously consider the Arcadia Abroad community, your host community and its members where you’re studying and the measures, past and present, they have taken to combat the spread of COVID-19.
    • Follow local regulations, laws, and guidance which may include wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, or other practices which may differ from those you have become accustomed to at home.
  • Integrity: Open and honest communication with Arcadia and your host institution (if applicable) is especially necessary during these times, and ethical behavior is essential. This means following the rules even when no one is watching. Any measures implemented to protect you and the community from COVID-19 are only effective if they are followed by everyone.

What to Expect: A General Overview

  • COVID tests are still frequently required to board international flights, including your return flight to the U.S. at the end of your term abroad. If results are poitive, your travel dates will need to shift, so booking flexible tickets is advised.
  • You may not be able to travel around other countries as you may have planned.
  • You will likely spend much of your time wearing a mask and social distancing.
  • You will learn a lot about yourself and your resilience.
  • You will learn to expect the unexpected.

What to Expect: In Detail

Below, you will read in much more detail what to expect at various points throughout the term, including pre-departure preparations, traveling and arriving abroad, and behavior expected of you as we move forward with your program.


  • Do not undertake other major expenses such as booking a flight or applying for a visa until specifically directed by Arcadia Abroad to do so.
    • Once we have advised you to book your travel, we will strongly recommend that you purchase a changeable or refundable ticket in the event that conditions change.
  • Think about your health. Work with your home healthcare providers to ensure you can bring all the medication you’ll need with you and discuss your plan for care abroad with International SOS, as well as Arcadia’s Health and Safety team. You should schedule regular check-ups with your doctors before departure and ensure that you're up-to-date on all routine vaccines as well as the seasonal flu vaccine. Be proactive in managing any pre-existing conditions or disability needs to prepare for a healthy term abroad.
  • Arcadia Abroad’s COVID-19 vaccination policy requires that you are fully vaccinated to participate in our programs. All students are strongly encouraged to receive a booster dose before departure, as some countries are calculating the time since the last dose to determine if your vaccination status has “expired” per their protocols. 
  • Be a responsible, informed traveler. Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Understand how to reduce risks associated with international travel. Be an active participant in Arcadia’s pre-departure education and orientation where we’ll further help you prepare. Follow the advice from your host country including current entry or testing procedures, required arrival quarantine, and current movement restrictions.
  • Follow your COVID-19 Travel Requirement Guide, linked in your Portal, to make sure you’re taking all the steps necessary to enter your host country.
    • If you test positive before departure, alert Arcadia and we will make arrangements for you to join the program as soon as possible, after isolation and recovery requirements are met.


  • Allow extra time. Get to the airport extra early (at least four hours before departure) to account for extra screening measures and wait times. Many airports are collecting journey and contact details that you’ll also need to complete in advance and this is where your compliance with COVID-19 entry requirements will have the most scrutiny by officials.

  • Take precautions. Follow your airline’s guidance for safe travel, including wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitizer, and avoiding crowded groups as much as possible. This is not only for your health and the health of those around you, but also to mitigate against exposing your future peers to COVID-19. You will need to bring multiple reusable masks as well as a thermometer.

  • Do not travel if you have any symptoms of illness, have recently tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting test results, or have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Notify Arcadia if these scenarios apply and we will work to accommodate you if you need to arrive late due to illness, but under no circumstances should you travel if you are unwell.

  • Engage in Arcadia's virtual orientation. Your Arcadia orientation will begin virtually before departure and continue after you arrive. Your host institution is also likely to conduct a virtual orientation though some events may be held in person.


  • Stay home if you’re symptomatic, have been in close contact with a known case of COVID-19, or have tested positive. You must also notify your host institution and the Arcadia staff. In almost all cases, you will be able to continue coursework online if you must stay home. We will support you if you need to self-quarantine and assist if you need to get tested.
    • You may be asymptomatic after exposure or a positive test but you will need to comply with local isolation and testing requirements.
  • Follow your program's guidance. Each program or host institution will have safety measures in place which may be different to what is advised at home. You are required to follow safety guidance from your program and all local regulations.
  • Prepare for the possibility of a stay at home order. Local governments shift their guidance in response to changes in COVID-19 case rates and transmission so things may fluctuate throughout the term. You should be prepared throughout the term for increased restrictions that might require you to limit social interactions to a certain number of individuals, or to stay at home completely.

  • You’re covered. As always, Arcadia provides all program participants with comprehensive accident and illness insurance, which includes coverage for symptomatic testing and treatment of COVID-19.

  • Academic delivery methods may vary. You can, and should, expect an invigorating and rewarding academic experience. Our overseas partner institutions are prepared to adapt to an ever-changing reality by mixing in-person, and online learning approaches depending on the circumstances.
  • Excursions and activities: Arcadia staff are currently curating a schedule of fun and rewarding events and activities.  All in-person excursions are carefully evaluated and risk-assessed to ensure they can be offered safely.

  • Independent personal travel. Arcadia does not currently support independent personal travel beyond your host country as it is high risk in terms of unforeseen challenges re-entering your host country or suddenly needing to quarantine away from your program site.

  • Our staff is available 24/7. You can expect the same care and attention from Arcadia staff as always - this is the Arcadia Abroad difference!

Stories from Abroad: Fall 2020 Yes, You Can!