Arcadia Abroad is looking forward to supporting you as you pursue your study abroad program this spring. While the influence of COVID-19 and related challenges will have a tremendous impact on your semester, we are confident that your experience will excite you, challenge you, and help you build resilience, skills, and memories to last a lifetime.
After a successful fall 2020 semester supporting students in England and Scotland, Arcadia has determined that we can continue and expand our support of select study abroad programs in the United Kingdom and Ireland for the Spring 2021 semester. This decision has been made after a thorough assessment of the current conditions for travel to and study in these countries, and in close consultation with the medical and security experts at International SOS, our assistance provider. Our Health, Safety, and Security team, in conjunction with our Resident Directors abroad, also evaluated our ability to adapt throughout the semester to mitigate risk. As conditions around the world continue to change, we may need to make further adjustments to your program in the weeks and months ahead up to, and including, program cancellation.
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 semester 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. Read on for more information about the personal traits necessary for a successful term.
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 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 Europe 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 semester, including pre-departure preparations, travelling and arriving in country, and behavior expected of you as we move forward with your program.
- Do not book your flights until we have advised you 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 semester.
- 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 government information for your destination:
- Get tested for COVID-19 within the week prior to departure. Arrange your test as close to departure as possible taking into account being able to receive your results before flying, and bring your test results with you.
- 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. As this time period falls 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.
Travel and Arrival In-Country
- 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 U.K. and Irish governments in our host country have varying requirements for international travelers from the U.S. This may include up to two weeks in quarantine upon arrival. If you are required to quarantine, you will be able to quarantine in student housing with support from Arcadia and your host institution.
- 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.
While You’re Abroad
- Monitor your health. Take your temperature daily to monitor for a fever over 100.4, 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 regulations on social distancing, wearing a mask, and other precautions.
- 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 lockdown. Throughout the semester, you should be prepared to stay in your accommodation for an extended period at any time during the semester as the possibility of resurgence of community transmission in your location still exists.
- 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, remote, 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 for the fall semester. 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!