Center for International and Cultural Education

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International Student Travel Advice • Current Travel Safety Restrictions

*** Update: Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 Study Abroad Cancellation

The safety and well-being of Gustavus students is our primary concern. Given travel advisories from the U.S. CDC and the U.S. Department of State related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Gustavus study abroad programs for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 are cancelled. All spring 2020 students who were abroad have returned safely home, and summer study away students have been notified of the cancellation. All college-related international and domestic travel is suspended until further notice.

Most spring students will complete remote coursework through their study away program provider. CICE staff continues to work with the affected students on an individual basis to work out questions related to academic credits or travel assistance. Students with questions should reach out to Matt Hirman or Bryan Messerly.

Gustavus currently still plans to offer Fall 2020 study away as scheduled, but staff continue to monitor the situation carefully and will share updates here as needed. Students who have applied to study away in Fall 2020 are advised to register for on campus courses and housing as a contingency in case their program is not approved to run.

Currently Active Travel Safety Committee Restrictions

All international and domestic travel for college-related activities is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gustavus Infectious Disease Committee and the Gustavus Travel Safety Committee will review this policy periodically and reassess as the situation develops.

If you have any questions about these restrictions, please contact Bryan Messerly.

Study Away and Safety at Gustavus

The safety and security of travelers is a primary concern for Gustavus Adolphus College. As we plan and approve study away, global internship, and other off-campus opportunities, whether in domestic or international settings, we carefully consider safety and security criteria, utilizing information from the best sources available for higher education professionals.

"Just a note to compliment the good service our family experienced from [the College's insurance provider]. Our daughter was on the Gustavus Semester in Sweden last semester. She sprained her ankle during the trip and had a visit at the hospital for a check-up in Gothenburg. The billing came after she had arrived home from the trip, with delayed payment due, etc. [The insurer] was very helpful in resolving this efficiently and completely, and we are most grateful for that." -David & Sheryl Johnson

In particular, we monitor:

  • State Department travel advisories;
  • reports and updates from the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council;
  • similar alerts from other countries, such as the UK, Australia, and Canada; and
  • several networks of safety and security professionals to whose information we subscribe.

By using multiple sources of information, we get a fuller picture of the nature and level of each particular threat, and we are able to act accordingly. In the event of an acute safety or security concern that would affect an ongoing or upcoming scheduled program, our Travel Safety Committee convenes and determines whether or not to suspend the activity or even all activities in a particular location. (See examples in the highlights box below.)

In addition, all Gustavus Adolphus College international travelers are covered, when outside the country on official College activities, by an insurance policy that includes medical, political, and disaster evacuation coverage. Therefore, in the instance of an eligible event that necessitates rapid egress from a study away site or other College-related site abroad, we will work with our insurance partner to arrange for transport, either back to the U.S. or to the nearest safe haven.

In planning and operating our study away programs, we:

  • work only with providers and institutions that have plans for responding to safety and other emergencies;
  • provide every participating student with health, safety, and security advice through the pre-departure orientation process;
  • provide participating students with ongoing advice while they are away;
  • check in with participating students when known concerns are elevated;
  • register every participating student, faculty, and staff member with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which means that government officials are also able to contact Gusties and provide specific advice when any situations arise; and
  • for our faculty-led programs, train participating faculty and staff members to respond to emergency situations.

In the event of a crisis incident, staff members of the College and our various partner agencies and organizations will respond in the interest of safety. In addition, the College is prepared to provide counseling and other support for both domestic and international students affected by crises at home or abroad. Our professional counselors, Student Life staff, chaplains, and other staff members are all available to support students experiencing difficult situations. For students currently abroad, local counseling services (in English) may be arranged with the assistance of our insurance partners


Advice for International Students Planning International Travel

International students planning international travel are advised to meet with Jeff Anderson or another staff member of the CICE for travel-planning advising and also to obtain a new travel signature on the form I-20.

Citizens of the eight countries named in the effective presidential Executive Order (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen) are strongly advised to minimize or even forego international travel at this time.

Generally speaking, all international students and scholars may want to consider minimizing international travel at this particular time. Although there has been no official indication that the list of affected countries will expand, an executive order can be issued with little or no prior notice.

If you have any questions about the current events involving immigration restrictions, please do not hesitate to contact Jeff Anderon or Bryan Messerly.