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FAQs for Study Abroad students about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for UCL students abroad at UCL partner institutions as part of a Study Abroad team managed placement in 2019/20.

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How will travel costs back to my home country be covered?

From Monday 16 March, travel bookings should be made through Key Travel where possible. Key Travel are UCL's approved travel providers and the cost of your journey will be covered by UCL. Please follow step-by-step instructions in the Key Travel Portal Instructions below to make your booking. 

PDF iconKey Travel Portal Instructions 

If you encounter any technical issues using the Key Travel Portal, please do not delay making travel plans. Instead, you are welcome to book your one-way journey independently, via a reasonable travel route in Economy class. Please then send your receipts to us by email (studyabroad@ucl.ac.uk) and we will assess these for reimbursement. Please ensure that you book the earliest possible flight back home- we may not be able to reimburse you if your flight is not within the next few days. 

All claims for travel reimbursement should be submitted to the Study Abroad Team no later than 15 May 2020. 


Is there a deadline to book travel to ensure that UCL will cover the cost?

UCL will cover the cost of travel to help you return to your home country in response to the current critical period. All claims for travel reimbursement should be submitted to the Study Abroad Team no later than 15 May 2020 for consideration. Any booking made through Key Travel should also be completed in good time before 15 May 2020. We expect all UCL students abroad to have returned to their home country by now, except in cases of exceptional circumstances. 


Should I travel back to the UK?

We recommend travelling back to the UK only if this is your home country or country of residence. If this is not your case, we do not recommend coming back to the UK, as there will be no learning commitments for you here for the rest of this academic year.  


How should I inform you of my travel plans?

Once you have confirmed your travel plans, please complete our online form. This helps us to understand your current location and assist you more quickly, if you have any questions.


Is UCL’s recommendation to leave my host country a temporary measure?

Your health and safety is our priority. As we have seen over the past few weeks, cases of COVID-19 continue to spread and increase across a large number of countries. The effects are expected to last for the rest of this academic year. 

We do not recommend that you make plans to return to your placement. Please consider this when you pack your belongings.

Where possible, partner universities are putting online teaching and resources in place to enable students to continue with elements of teaching and assessment. 


I feel safer staying in my host country. What should I do?

We understand that at the current time, your host country may be less affected than your home country, or the country in which you normally reside. If you feel that you are safer in your host country, please still let us know via the online form.

Please bear in mind that this is a quickly evolving situation and in recent days, countries have imposed travel restrictions at very short notice.

If you are able to return safely now to your home country, or country in wich you normally reside, we encourage you to do this. Arrangements currently in place for UCL to cover the cost of your journey home cannot be guaranteed beyond the current critical period. 


Is my RSA Insurance cover still valid in light of UCL's recommendation?

Yes, your RSA Insurance cover remains valid during this time. The policy covers cases of medical and travel emergency abroad. If you have a question for RSA in light of your current circumstances, you can contact their 24/7 helpline: +44 (0)208 608 4100. This information can also be found on your PDF policy cover note.  

Further information on the RSA policy can be found on the Study Abroad website


Am I required to return to UCL to continue my studies here this semester?

No, you are not required to do this. Your host university may have already implemented online learning or may look to introduce this in due course. Where possible, we encourage you to continue engaging with your studies remotely. However, please ensure that you prioritise your safety in the first instance.


How should I inform my host university or company (for work placement students) that I plan to leave the country?

It is important for your host university or company to know if you are no longer on campus or in your host country. Your university or company abroad may have a process in place to help you notify them of this.

If you are able to, please ensure that you have completed any requirements from your host university before you leave. If you have already left your host country, ensure that you check your university email or portal for guidance.

We have notified all partner universities of UCL’s recommendations.


What will happen to my “Year Abroad” if I leave my placement?

In these exceptional circumstances, UCL are putting in exceptional measures to help you prioritise your health. We will work with you in due course to support best possible academic outcomes in your circumstances. We will be updating these FAQs with further information shortly.


Can I still undertake a short-term global opportunity this summer?

UCL has now cancelled all summer places, so we are unable to support any short-term mobility this summer. This includes the Tuition Fee Free scheme, the Cities Partnership Programme and any other programmes facilitated by Study Abroad. Funding through the Global Experience Bursary and Santander Universities Mobility Bursary has also been withdrawn. The only exception is if you wish to undertake an internship in your home country or will be working remotely and require a Convention de Stage to support the opportunity.  

If you wish to undertake an independent global opportunity over the summer, UCL will not be in a position to provide any support.  

We are disappointed that the unprecedented global situation has affected our 2020 short-term mobility offering, but will work hard to ensure that we have a diverse and exciting selection of opportunities in 2021.


I am worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). Where can I access updates and support at this time? 

This is an unprecedented time for us all and we understand that you may have many questions about COVID-19 and its impact. We would encourage you to refer to UCL's guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our summary article outlines what is available, including during the Easter closure period (5pm on Wednesday 8 April to 9am on Wednesday 15 April).

As a UCL student abroad, you also have access to our Global Student Assistance Programme, provided by Care First. This service allows you to access wellbeing support over the phone from a trained counsellor; it's free and completely confidential.

I have received my first Erasmus+ grant instalment, will I still receive my second instalment?

If you are continuing to engage with your learning or work (work placements), you will be eligible to receive your second instalment. This online learning/work must follow the arrangements of your original learning/training agreement.

I’ve already received my first Erasmus+ grant instalment, but left my placement early. Will I have to repay this?

If you are continuing to engage with distance learning/work, you will not have to repay any costs. If you are not continuing to engage with distance learning, you may be asked to repay some of your grant. You will be contacted by the Study Abroad team directly should you need to.

I’ve not received my first instalment yet, can this still be paid to me?

No. Unless you submit within the regulations of submitting Erasmus+ documents, you will not receive any funding for any time you spent abroad.

I was supposed to start my second placement but this will no longer go ahead. Will I receive any Erasmus+ funding?

It will not be possible to provide Erasmus+ funding as you will not be travelling to the host country. If you were due to go abroad and incurred costs for this cancelled placement, you should check if this can be reclaimed by your insurance.

I cannot get my Erasmus+ paperwork signed off, what do I do?

We understand that it may be difficult to obtain signatures to complete the relevant paperwork for your Erasmus+ placements. You should be able to evidence your attempts to obtain signatures to submit to the Study Abroad team, if and when requested.

Do I need to complete the Online Linguistic Support (OLS)?

Yes. Erasmus+ students should continue to engage with the OLS, if you had already started your placement. The system will automatically send you requests as and when you need to engage.