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,. As conditions around the world continue to change, we may need to make further adjustments to your program up to, and including, program cancellation. In the event that we determine a program location does not meet our requirements, we will swiftly notify you and suggest alternative programs.

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.

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, up to, and including, program cancellation, 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

  • You will likely need to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departure to enter your host country, as well as to re-enter the U.S. at the end of your term abroad.
  • You will likely need to self-quarantine for up to two weeks upon arrival.
    Some, or potentially all, of your classes will be held virtually.
  • You will likely spend a lot of time at the Arcadia Center or on your host campus, and in your housing accommodation, potentially in your room.
  • You will likely 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.
  • We strongly encourage you to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before departure if you are able to where you live. You should not assume you will be able to receive the vaccine abroad
  • 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.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure. You must have your results before flying, and bring your test results with you. See the links listed above and be prepared to follow the specific requirements based on program country.

  • In the two weeks before departure, limit your activities to those that are essential. Practice strict social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wear a mask outside of your household. If your departure falls shortly before or over a holiday, we ask that you remain extra diligent. 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.

  • Monitor your health for the 14 days prior to departure; consult with your doctor if you have any symptoms, and also report any illness to Arcadia.


  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Prepare for quarantine. The governments in our host countries have varying requirements for international travelers from the U.S. This may include up to two weeks in quarantine upon arrival, and possibly more if a household member tests positive in that time. If you are required to quarantine, you will be able to quarantine in student housing with support from Arcadia and your host institution. You can reference the links above to learn more about the quarantine requirements of your host country.

  • 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.


  • Monitor your health. Take your temperature daily to monitor for a fever, and report any symptoms to your program staff before attending class or other activities. During any periods of isolation or quarantine, Arcadia will check in with you with daily reminders to self-report your condition.

  • 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. 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.

  • Protect yourself and others. Use proper hand hygiene and cleaning practices and follow local guidance on social distancing, wearing a mask, and other precautions. If you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine before departure, we encourage you to do so. It is unlikely you will be able to receive the vaccine while abroad.

  • 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.

  • 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 COVID19.

  • Housing cooperation. You should follow any directives from your housing provider regarding cleaning, shelter-in-place, and room changes if you or other students need to be isolated.

  • 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. These will include online events and, as conditions permit, in-person 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 program location. We strongly encourage you to use your time abroad to connect with your local community and immerse yourself in your new home city. Traveling outside the local area can contribute to spreading the virus and expose you, your destination’s community, and your host community.

  • 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!