FAQ for Students & Parents
Which program is best for my personal, cultural and academic interests?
We have a wide variety of programs ranging from 2-5 weeks in destinations all over the world. Each program is uniquely designed to match students’ differing interests and schedules. We would love to hop on a quick call to make a personalized recommendation for you! Schedule a time here.
When do most people study abroad? Why should I go this year?
The short answer is to go now. Seriously, the number one regret we hear from students is “I wish I would have gone abroad sooner!” Too many students put off their plans to study abroad and then completely miss their opportunity. Now more than ever, we understand how uncertain the future can be. The earlier you’re able to study abroad, the more options you will have to take classes that fit your academic goals. Studying abroad sooner will help you land internships and leadership positions as well as have more time on campus to apply everything you learn abroad. We even have students who choose to join us the summer before their freshman year. It’s never too early.
How do I talk to my parents about studying abroad?
We understand that studying abroad is a family decision and most parents and guardians have questions about safety, academics, flights and more. So, let us help. We have a team dedicated to speaking with parents, grandparents and even God parents. If someone you care about has questions, we’ve got answers. Let your parents know that you are looking into a LeadAbroad program and then encourage them to schedule a call here.
I’ve never traveled. Is this okay?
Absolutely. Many of our students have never traveled abroad. That’s a great reason to choose LeadAbroad since we will support you and your family from the time you express interest until the moment you return home after your program. We also staff our programs in order to be sure you are able to navigate the complexities of travel and take advantage of every moment abroad.
I don’t know anyone going abroad. What should I do?
This is often students’ number one concern before going abroad – and then ends up being their favorite aspect about LeadAbroad. We are committed to creating community between the students who join us from universities across the states. You are going to meet so many amazing friends on our program. We take our unique roommate matching process seriously and playfully call it our “bridesmaid’s matrix.” We plan a ton of activities to build community both on campus and abroad. Join the program Facebook group, post on Instagram that you are going and join us at events and you will have so many new friends before you know it.
How do I apply for a LeadAbroad program?
There are three steps to the application: the online form, deposit and transcript (on credit-bearing programs). Start with the online form here. Be sure you have 10-15 minutes available to finish the application. Abandoning the application before submitting can lock you out of the system.
At the end of the online form, you will be asked to “pay now” or “pay later”. Be sure to click one or the other and “submit” to ensure your application answers will save. If you click “pay later”, you will receive an invoice to pay the deposit when you’re ready which will link directly to your application. Your application is not complete until you submit the $500 deposit. Finally, if you are applying for a credit-bearing program, you will need to request an official transcript from your home university to be sent to Oglethorpe University. That’s it – you’re done!
How long will the application take?
About 10-15 minutes.
What is the deadline to apply for the program?
Like many universities, we have rolling admissions. This means that we accept students throughout the semester until a program fills up. The sooner you apply, the better your chances at getting accepted and higher your priority for class choices, accommodation preferences and adventure. Chatting with a team member directly will also help you better understand the application process and selection criteria. Click here to schedule a chat!
Is a deposit required to apply? Is it refundable?
Applications will not be considered for acceptance until you complete your $150 application fee and $350 deposit. This application fee and deposit goes towards the cost of your program. It is not an additional fee. If you are not accepted to their program, the deposit is 100% refundable. If you choose to withdraw, the refund policy differs depending on the time of year. Please see the detailed policy here.
The application says I can “pay now” or “pay later.” How does that work?
If you choose “pay now”, your application will be complete, your spot will be reserved (if your program is not already sold out) and you will be considered for acceptance at the next acceptance date. If you choose to pay later, an invoice will be generated and emailed to you showing the $500 balance ($150 application fee and $350 deposit). You can use this invoice number to complete your deposit online at a later time. You will not be considered for acceptance until your application fee+deposit is paid.
What payment methods do you accept?
You have the ability to pay with a valid credit card, debit card or via electronic check (also known as ACH or eCheck). Payments by card will incur a 4% transaction fee. Payments by electronic check do not incur transaction fees.
How do I send an official transcript? Where do I send it?
To send an official transcript to Oglethorpe University from your home institution, visit your school’s registrar website and navigate to the transcript/records request section. You can also call the registrar’s office for assistance. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Office of Admission at Oglethorpe University.
Most institutions send official transcripts electronically. In this case, you will select Oglethorpe University as the recipient. If an email address and/or recipient is required, enter firstname.lastname@example.org as the email and Kim Grady as the recipient. If your school only uses physical mail for official transcripts, enter the mailing address below:
Office of Admission
4484 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
Do I need a passport to apply?
No, you do not need a passport when applying for a LeadAbroad program. However, as soon as your application is submitted, you should begin the steps to obtain a passport or check that your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned travel.
Can I participate if I have just completed high school?
If you just graduated high school and are accepted to a school in the fall semester after your summer with LeadAbroad, you are eligible to apply. You must also be at least 18 years old by the program start date. Depending on which LeadAbroad program you are applying for, additional application materials including high school transcript or letters of recommendation may be required.
Can I participate if I have just completed college?
Yes, recent graduates are eligible to apply for a LeadAbroad program. Additional application materials may be required depending on the type of program.
What are the requirements for eligibility?
All LeadAbroad participants must:
- Be between 18 and 23 years old by the program start date. Students older than 23 may be considered under certain conditions and restrictions.
- Be in good standing with your home institution.
- Meet official GPA requirement of 2.5
- Agree to the COVID-19 vaccination policy
How and when will you communicate if I am accepted?
Completed applications are generally reviewed for acceptance every two weeks. Acceptance decisions are typically released on Fridays.
Are flights included in program fees?
No, flight costs are separate from program fees.
What are my options for booking a flight?
LeadAbroad offers recommended group itineraries for every program. You can purchase a ticket on our recommended itinerary directly from the airline. Most flight recommendations originate out of Atlanta or New York City. If you begin your journey in another city, we suggest booking your flight with the recommended airline so that you have a layover that will connect you with the official itinerary recommendation. This way, all flights are on the same itinerary and ticket.
If you decide not to purchase the group flight recommendation, you have the option to book your own itinerary that is most convenient for you. LeadAbroad will provide specific recommendations on arrival and departure times in order to line up your flights as close as possible to the recommended flight itinerary. This will allow you to take advantage of pre-arranged group transportation between the airport and program accommodations.
Will LeadAbroad staff be on my flight?
On most programs, staff will already be abroad preparing for your arrival and will not be flying on the student travel dates.
Will LeadAbroad pick me up when I arrive abroad?
If you arrive within the group arrival window specified for your program, LeadAbroad will provide transportation to the accommodations. Arrivals outside of the group arrival window must coordinate transportation separately.
Can I arrive late or check in early?
If you arrive into the program city early, we will not be able to accommodate early check-in. You must secure your own accommodations until the official check-in day. Early arrivals do not require special approval.
The logistical and/or academic consequences of a late arrival could severely impact your experience on the program. Due to this, we generally do not allow late arrivals. If you have a special circumstance you can reach out to us to discuss further.
Will I be taken to the airport at the completion of the program?
If your flight departs within the group departure window, airport transportation will be provided. If your flight departs earlier than the group, you may have to secure your own transportation to the airport.
How do I apply for a passport?
Visit travel.state.gov to begin your passport application. All details and action items will be addressed on the U.S. State Department’s website.
Do I need a visa?
Currently, U.S. citizens do not need a visa for any LeadAbroad program location. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a visa may be required. You are responsible for doing the proper research and applying for the appropriate visa. If you need documentation from LeadAbroad, please email info@LeadAbroad.com for assistance.
I already have a passport. What potential issues may require me to obtain a new one?
Immediately check your passport’s expiration date. LeadAbroad recommends renewing your passport if it expires within the year of your planned travel. Generally, foreign countries require your passport to be valid for six months from the date you return home after your program. For example, if your program ends on August 10th, you must renew your passport ASAP if it expires before February 10th of the following year.
You must also ensure your passport has at least three consecutive blank pages. Many countries require this space for entry/exit stamps or visas.
Do I need any vaccinations to enter the country?
Our program countries do not require immunizations to enter the country. However, consistent with the requirements of the Georgia Board of Regents, the following vaccinations are required for all students enrolled in LeadAbroad:
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) 2 doses
- Tetanus or Diphtheria (Tdap or Td) must be up to date
- Hepatitis B series
- Varicella (Chicken Pox) 2 doses or date of disease
- COVID-19 Vaccine Policy
Can I leave the program a day early?
The logistical and/or academic consequences of an early departure could severely impact your experience on the program. Due to this, we generally do not allow early departures. If you have a special circumstance, you can reach out to us to discuss further.
What should I pack?
We know you are already dreaming of your packing list. Don’t worry, once you are accepted you will gain access to your program specific accepted student page which will have lots of details from our years of experience. Also, we’ll provide student tips and tricks to make packing easy.
Where will we be staying?
Our programs feature a centralized housing model which is unique in the study abroad community. Rather than scattering students in small apartments throughout the program city or with host families, we partner with universities, student housing companies and hotels to keep students together and safe in one or several large groups. In addition, our staff live on site with the students to support them as needed. Our housing is not luxurious but is comfortable, safe and located in central neighborhoods where students want to live.
Is there a sample itinerary?
Yes! To request an itinerary, get in touch with our team by scheduling a quick call here. We will send you a sample itinerary for the program that best fits your interests and travel goals.
Can I select my roommate?
Yes, your LeadAbroad portal includes a roommate form where you will enter your specific request. Roommates will only be paired if it is a mutual request. If you do not have or want to live with someone you know on the program then just let us know. Our team will use their roommate matching skills to match you with your new best friend.
Will LeadAbroad impose a curfew?
Each program location enforces specific housing policies and rules; however, in general, LeadAbroad does not enforce a curfew. On PRO Costa Rica, during the medical portion of the program, there is a curfew.
Should I bring my phone and computer?
All students are required to have a working cell phone abroad. Details on cell service and internet abroad can be found on your accepted student page. If you are attending a for-credit program, you are required to bring a laptop as well. Non-credit programs do not require a laptop, and we recommend you leave it at home unless you absolutely need it while traveling.
Is Wi-Fi available in the accommodations?
Yes, all accommodations have WiFi.
Why should my child study abroad?
There are many benefits to studying abroad – personal growth and development, resume building, creating a global mindset and standing out in job interviews. We hear over and over again from parents that their student returned home from our program with a new sense of purpose, perspective and maturity. We would love to talk with you about the ways one of our programs can benefit your student specifically. Schedule a call with us here.
What makes LeadAbroad different from other study abroad programs?
We know that studying abroad can be one of the most transformative opportunities your student can pursue during college. We focus on student development beyond the classroom. More than simply biology or calculus, students will learn about themselves, who they want to be and where they want to go in the future. We know the power of moments; those moments that inspire students to dream the impossible, give more than they knew they could and contemplate their life’s purpose. Our experiences, coupled with intentional support, are uniquely designed to engage students wherever they are in life, expose them to new ideas and life-changing experiences and equip them with the tools to make a difference.
Our people, program model and the holistic nature of our experiences make LeadAbroad unique. First, LeadAbroad is a team of young people who work year-round to plan, organize and deliver exceptional study abroad experiences to our students and their families. Most of our full-time staff members began as LeadAbroad students ourselves. We pride ourselves on supporting you and your child throughout the entire study abroad journey.
Unlike many study abroad programs which are facilitated by a single faculty member or national third party study abroad providers which take thousands of students on hundreds of programs scattered around the world, we are a boutique solution. Our experienced faculty work to develop engaging and relevant courses, while our programming team focuses on safety, community building and logistics. We design our programs to create trusting environments to proactively support students and help them maximize their time abroad. LeadAbroad’s unique staffing model abroad includes program directors, interns, faculty and teaching assistants and a domestic support team. This robust staffing and centralized housing strategy thoroughly supports our students and allows us to keep our students safe.
Why do past parents recommend LeadAbroad?
There are thousands of study abroad programs. LeadAbroad is different due to our strong commitment to support, learning and community on every experience. Students and parents tell us that they value our commitment to communication throughout the process, our focus on safety during the program and our staff’s interest in connecting with each student and challenging them to discover the best version of themselves. Learn more about the LeadAbroad promise here and hear from past parents in this quick video.
Who will be leading my student’s program?
LeadAbroad’s unique staffing model includes program directors, interns, faculty and teaching assistants and a domestic support team. This robust staffing approach thoroughly supports our students and allows us to keep our students safe.
What if my student is signing up alone?
Whether students are signing up with a group of friends or joining us without knowing a soul, because of our program structure they will make meaningful connections with fellow students that often grow into lifelong friendships.
How much experience does LeadAbroad have with sending students abroad?
LeadAbroad has been leading experiences since 2009 and has led more than 3,800 students abroad.
Is studying abroad safe? How do you keep students healthy and safe?
Safety is our number one priority. Learn more about our commitment to health and safety here.
My child has never traveled. Is this an issue?
Not at all. Many of our students have never been abroad and this is why they choose LeadAbroad. Our team takes care of all of the details and is committed to supporting you and your family every step along the way.
How many students will be on each program?
Programs generally range in size from 30-100 depending on the location and program structure. Regardless of the size of your program, LeadAbroad values community and facilitates small group environments so students can connect and build authentic relationships.
What will the program cost?
Program fees range in cost depending on program length, location and inclusions. Tuition is paid for programs carrying academic credit. Please review your specific program page for pricing details.
How will I communicate with my student while they are abroad?
Students are required to have a cell phone abroad for risk management purposes and communication. All accommodations are equipped with WiFi to make it easy for families to stay connected via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom. We encourage families to make a communication plan prior to departure and have realistic expectations for the frequency of communication. Students can either get an international phone plan through their current carrier or a local SIM card upon arrival. Our team on the ground will be happy to help as well.
What is the best way to access money abroad?
All of our locations have easy access to ATMs. We encourage students to obtain money directly from an ATM abroad versus bringing U.S. dollars to exchange. Typically, foreign ATMs will charge a flat fee and your bank will charge a fee of generally 2-3% of the withdrawal. Many U.S. banks have agreements with banks in foreign countries to waive transaction fees. We encourage you to review options with your bank. We also encourage students to use credit cards whenever possible. Credit card companies can do more to help protect you against fraud if your card is lost or stolen. Be sure to check whether your credit card charges foreign currency translation fees (typically 3%). If they do, you may want to consider getting another card that does not charge such fees.
What personal and emotional challenges will my student face abroad?
Almost every student experiences some degree of culture shock while traveling. As defined in the Education Abroad Glossary, published by The Forum on Education Abroad, culture shock is:
The anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) one feels coming into contact with an entirely different social environment, such as a different country. It often relates to the temporary inability to assimilate the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.
Our team will discuss culture shock with students during orientation and help them process through some of the challenges of being away from home. However, it is likely that when students are experiencing some of the components of culture shock (anxiety, disorientation, frustrations, etc.) they will not name it as culture shock but rather speak about the new environment through the food, weather, classes, transportation and housing.
Learning that your student is discouraged is a heavy weight for parents, but please be mindful that students will typically mirror the same emotions that they hear from you at home. And, sometimes, these validating and affirming words can unintentionally escalate the problem. We encourage parents to help their student identify their feelings as culture shock and not something more. If your student contacts you with anxiety about being abroad, we have found that the best way to support them is the following:
- Direct your daughter/son to our on-site program staff. Our team is always available to listen, support and mediate problems.
- Remind her/him that they are experiencing culture shock and to revisit their notes from orientation regarding coping with challenges abroad.
- Encourage your student to take this new experience one day at a time. Oftentimes students become overwhelmed during the first few days and think they will feel anxious the whole time. However, we have found that the feeling associated with culture shock actually come in waves.
Some students will face other kinds of challenges while traveling. Some examples include: losing a phone, having a debit card stop working, getting sick, missing a train/flight or struggling with a roommate. Overcoming these obstacles helps the student gain a renewed sense of self-confidence and grow as an individual. Our on-site program team has experience helping students with these situations and can provide support in person. Always encourage your student to go directly to the program director in these types of situations.
Here are a few ways our on-site team will support your student abroad:
- Providing comfort and company during a visit to the doctor
- Locating a new/replacement phone
- Solving money issues by connecting parents and students through a money transfer
- Sharing safe and budget-friendly travel advice
- Facilitating shared goals during a roommate mediation
At home, it is easy to feel helpless and anxious when your student calls and is noticeably upset. Again, the best thing to do is to direct your student to the program staff. Also, encourage your student to stay positive and help them gain perspective on the situation. So few students have the opportunity to go abroad at all and these small bumps are just part of the experience.
Where will my student live during their time abroad?
Our programs feature a centralized housing model which is unique in the study abroad community. Rather than scattering students in small apartments throughout the program city or with host families, we partner with universities, student housing companies and hotels to keep students together and safe in one or several large groups. In addition, our staff live on site with the students to support them as needed.
Will the course credit transfer back to my student’s home university?
Students attending for-credit programs through LeadAbroad will receive a transcript from our academic partner Oglethorpe University. This school of record relationship ensures the academic courses are high quality and meet the standards of the regional accrediting organization, SACS. SACS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
LeadAbroad has worked with students from over 75 universities and we have learned that each school has slightly different processes. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to identify how the credits will transfer back to their school. If your school has a credit equivalency search function, students can start there, but then we also encourage them to talk to their advisors.
Does LeadAbroad have an affiliation, partnership or agreement with my child’s home university?
LeadAbroad has a partnership with Oglethorpe University which provides academic credit on our for-credit study abroad programs. LeadAbroad programs are designed for students from all universities and colleges; however, LeadAbroad has no formal agreement, affiliation or relationship with any other academic institutions.
What does my student need to complete prior to departure? Where can I access this information?
Each student has a custom portal that contains all pre-departure forms required for the program. These forms include a program participation agreement, health, flight, passport and roommate form. We also have some additional forms that are very simple and designed to make sure that students stay on track with the pre-departure process. Students can access their portal from the homepage of our website by selecting Log In.
Can I visit my student while they are abroad?
We completely understand that parents want to share this experience with their child. We have found, however, that the best way to take part, while not creating tension for your student, is to join them before or after the program. This way students can spend all day with their family and not have to try to balance program activities and class with the visit. Though discouraged, parents can visit during the program. It is important to note that family and friends are not able to stay in the students’ accommodations nor participate in the LeadAbroad tours and activities.
Can I send my student mail or packages while they are abroad?
Generally, we do not recommend sending mail or packages with valuable items (such as cell phones) abroad. In the past, we have seen packages get stuck in immigration for weeks and subject to large fees and/or taxes.
What costs should I budget for while abroad?
The main costs are program fees, tuition, flights and meals. There are other smaller costs and LeadAbroad will provide a general budget sheet for a student which can be found on your accepted student page.
What’s included and excluded from the fees?
Program fees include accommodations, medical insurance while abroad, tours and activities, in-country transportation to program events, international and domestic staff support and, depending on your program, some meals. It is important to make a financial plan for costs not included in the program fees which may include flights, meals, personal shopping and expenses and cell phone usage.
What types of payments will LeadAbroad accept?
LeadAbroad accepts credit card payments from Visa, Mastercard and Discover. We do not accept American Express. In addition, we accept debit card payments from most U.S. based institutions and eCheck payments from U.S. banks. It should be noted that all credit and debit card payments have a 4% convenience fee added to your payment and eChecks are free. If you require an alternative method of payment, please contact our finance director at Marc@LeadAbroad.com.
When are payments due?
Payment due dates differ based on student acceptance dates and the time of year the student is accepted. For a detailed explanation, click here.
Do you offer payment plans?
In addition to our standard installment plan structure, we offer customized payment plans. If you’re interested in an alternative payment schedule, please contact Marc@LeadAbroad.com.
Does LeadAbroad offer scholarships?
Yes, we offer scholarships. Learn more about LeadAbroad scholarships here.
When should I apply for a scholarship?
Immediately after you complete your application.
How competitive are the scholarships?
It varies every year. We review a variety of criteria including on campus leadership, past experience, recommendation letters and need in order to select winners.
What are the deadlines for scholarships?
See the scholarship page here for deadlines for each award.
When will the scholarship winners be communicated?
Scholarship winners will be notified November 15 for applications prior to November 1 and March 15 for applications prior to March 1.
How will the scholarship money be awarded?
All scholarships awarded will be sent by either check or wire to the recipient upon completed payment of all installments. If you require additional assistance or information, please contact Marc@LeadAbroad.com for additional steps.
Does LeadAbroad offer federal financial aid?
LeadAbroad does not offer federal financial aid directly but many past students have utilized financial aid to study on LeadAbroad programs.If you need assistance or information, please contact Marc@leadabroad.com for additional steps.
Do you accept financial aid?
Yes, we will require a guarantee letter from your lender or school stating that the funds will be available to you and when they will be available. If you plan to use financial aid to pay for the program, please contact Marc@LeadAbroad.com for additional steps.
Do you accept 529 plans?
Yes. There are many different rules for 529 plans depending on your individual plan. We recommend you consult with your financial advisor to determine what types of expenses are eligible for reimbursement from 529 funds. We can accept funds from any 529 plan and for both program costs and tuition expenses, but it’s up to you, your family and your financial advisor to determine fund eligibility. If you would like a breakdown of program costs to help with your 529 plan, please email Marc@LeadAbroad.com.
How many courses will I take abroad?
If you are on a LEAD program, you will take two classes for six credit hours. On GO programs, students have the option of enrolling in two classes (six credit hours) or one class (three credit hours) plus our professional experience (PRO track). This unique opportunity to work as a consultant for two different international clients adds relevant, real-world learning to the experience. The PRO track infuses a career focus to the program but does not include academic credit hours. Students may consider pursuing academic credit for the professional portion of the program through their home university directly. Typically academic departments are responsible for granting credit. If you are seeking credit for your professional experience, we encourage you to contact your department office/advisor early in your planning efforts and review the procedures in detail.
Will I receive course credit for my time abroad?
Yes, students attending for-credit programs through LeadAbroad will receive a transcript from our academic partner Oglethorpe University. This school of record relationship ensures the academic courses are high quality and meet the standards of the regional accrediting organization, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
SACSCOC is the body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices primarily among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees.
Will the course credit transfer back to my student’s home university?
LeadAbroad has worked with students from over 75 universities and we have learned that each school has slightly different processes. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to identify how the credits will transfer back to their school. If your school has a course credit equivalency search function, students can start there, but then we also encourage them to talk to their advisors.
When will I receive my grades?
Final grades are usually made available by faculty within two weeks of your program ending.
Will my grades affect my GPA?
Your grades from the program will become part of your academic record. Whether your grades will affect your GPA is determined by the policies of your home university.
Do I have to pay for my transcript?
Oglethorpe University will send one copy of your official transcript to the registrar’s office of the school we have on file for you. If you prefer to send to another office on campus, let us know ahead of time and we will use a different address. Once your first copy is mailed, you will need to pay for any additional copies required.
Where will you send my transcript?
Oglethorpe University will send one copy of your official transcript to the registrar’s office of the school we have on file for you. If you prefer to send to another office on campus, let us know ahead of time and we will use a different address.
When will I receive a transcript?
Your school should receive your transcript within two weeks of mailing (mid September). If you need a copy sooner, you can request online through Oglethorpe University’s website.
How can I request an additional transcript?
Transcripts will be sent automatically to a students registrars office in September. If a student needs an additional transcript they can request one online through Oglethorpe University.
What is the refund policy?
Please see the refund policy here.
How do I officially withdraw from the program?
To officially withdraw, please contact info@LeadAbroad.com for access to the withdrawal form.
When will I receive my refund after I withdraw?
Eligible refunds will be processed within 15 business days to your original method of payment, unless otherwise requested. If your original method of payment is no longer available to receive a refund, a check will be written to the address provided in the withdrawal form made out to the recipient requested in the withdrawal form.
What is LeadAbroad’s guiding philosophy in the COVID-19 era?
Study abroad specifically – and life in general – has been affected since COVID-19 was identified in early 2020. COVID-19 will likely remain a meaningful risk and continue to alter the way we deliver programs. However, we believe experienced study abroad programs such as LeadAbroad can continue serving students in a safe manner by mitigating these risks. We believe studying abroad can be a transformative experience. Travel and living in a new environment leads to personal, academic and cultural growth which cannot be replicated without leaving your comfort zone.
We trust best practices including a combination of vaccines and preventative behaviors such as social distancing, testing, masks, enhanced hygiene, etc. will be important tools to decrease risk while ensuring the life changing benefits.
Has LeadAbroad operated programs recently?
Yes, we successfully operated our programs during summer 2021 and 2022 with 1,100+ students.
Do students attending LeadAbroad programs need to be fully vaccinated?
Please review the COVID-19 vaccination policy.
Why is it important to become fully vaccinated?
The vaccine is important for health, travel and access reasons. First, according to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. The vaccine will reduce the likelihood of getting and spreading the virus. In addition, the vaccine will also keep you from getting seriously ill if you do get COVID-19.
Secondly, it’s important to become fully vaccinated given your plan to travel abroad. Governments will continue to alter and adjust their entry requirements and these policies disproportionally affect students who are not fully vaccinated. To reduce your risks associated with entry and quarantine we strongly encourage you to receive the vaccine.
Finally, students who are not fully vaccinated have increased risks to their study abroad experience. These risks include but are not limited to quarantines, testing and access restrictions. For example, certain countries exclude individuals who are not fully vaccinated from participating in a variety of activities such as regional travel, indoor dining and museums. For this reason, we believe students who are fully vaccinated increase the likelihood that their study abroad experience will not be materially affected.
What is the definition of fully vaccinated and who makes this determination?
The definition of fully vaccinated is not uniform and is evolving as countries continue to adapt their guidelines and requirements. LeadAbroad will always use the more comprehensive definition of fully vaccinated from the following two resources:
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- The destination country
As of December 1, 2021, the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated is the following:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
Students can find information regarding country-specific requirements in the accepted student section of the LeadAbroad website.
Is it possible that destination countries and/or the CDC will change the definition of fully vaccinated in the future?
Yes, we believe this possibility is very likely. For example, the European Union announced on December 21st an ‘expiration’ of primary vaccine certificates after 9 months. In effect this will mean if 9 months has passed since a student’s last shot they would need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. The new rule concerns traveling within the European Union, but the Commission said in a statement that it recommends EU countries also apply it on a national level to “provide certainty for travelers and reduce disruptions.”
Should students attending LeadAbroad programs receive a booster shot?
As of December 9, 2021, the CDC recommends everyone 16 and older should get a booster shot if you meet the CDC’s time-based requirements. Please reference the question above regarding the definition of fully vaccinated for additional information.
Which organizations, experts and data sets does LeadAbroad use to make its final decisions?
We’ve been closely following the pandemic, both at home and abroad, since early 2020. We will continue monitoring expert resources and official guidelines including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), U.S. Department of State and World Health Organization (WHO).
Last year, to specifically account for the evolving risk landscape due to COVID-19, we are incorporating and elevating independent data sets (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, etc.), metrics (including prevalence of the virus, infection rates, transmission types, slope of new daily cases, health infrastructure ratings, etc.) and more expert sources (Johns Hopkins, Our World in Data, Worldometer, CIEE HRI, etc.) to gain a comprehensive view of the risks associated with COVID-19.
In addition, we will consult with our longstanding partners, study abroad industry peers and vendors abroad to understand how our locations are responding to the pandemic. We will make necessary program decisions to prioritize the health and safety of students and staff. Based on our comprehensive risk assessment worldview we are optimistic that we’ll be able to deliver transformative experiences abroad this summer.
Do you offer program insurance?
Yes, students can purchase program protection from LeadAbroad within 30 days of acceptance to their program. Trip Protection plans are not available within 60 days of departure. Details on plan options, deadlines and eligibility can be found online here.
If I decide to withdraw from my program, will I receive a refund?
Voluntary withdrawals are subject to our standard voluntary withdrawal refund policy and timeline which can be found online here.
If LeadAbroad cancels the program prior to departure, will I receive a refund for payments made towards my program?
Please review the Program Cancellation policy.
If LeadAbroad cancels programs after departure, will I receive a refund for payments made towards my program?
Please review the Program Cancellation policy.
What happens if a student tests positive just before departure?
Please review the Testing Requirements policy.
What happens if a student becomes infected by COVID-19 abroad and cannot return home as scheduled?
Our program modifications and the LeadAbroad Code of Conduct are in place to minimize the spread and transmission of COVID-19. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and is unable to take their flight home, LeadAbroad has plans in place to support students during their quarantine. In each of our program locations, we have identified safe and comfortable accommodation options and a LeadAbroad partner will be available to check in, arrange medical care (if needed) and answer questions. The LeadAbroad domestic team in the U.S. will also support remotely and be in communication with students.
What are LeadAbroad's COVID-19 health & safety protocols?
LeadAbroad will evaluate and adapt our program guidelines and safety protocols and release these updated safety protocols within 90 days of program departure.
We will also defer to local officials in regards to wearing face masks, social distancing and other preventative measures required to meet local guidelines and laws. Given the ongoing uncertainty and fluidity of the conditions around the world, students can anticipate the final plan as part of their pre-departure orientation. They should also note that requirements could differ from those at home and will likely vary between program countries and potentially even city to city.
LeadAbroad’s Guidance for Reducing Exposure and Spread of COVID-19:
LeadAbroad will be leveraging guidance from the U.S. CDC to take a proactive approach to reducing and preventing COVID-19 among students and staff. Our plan will be reevaluated as programs approach; however, will likely include cleaning procedures, the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) and social distancing.
We will also be intentional about educating students on how to best protect themselves and reduce their health risks outside of the classroom and program activities.
LeadAbroad requires that all students accepted after December 1, 2021, be fully vaccinated 14 days before departure. Students accepted before that date are strongly encouraged to become fully vaccinated as well and may be required to be fully vaccinated if a destination country’s vaccine guidelines and laws require it.
Program Activities & Excursions
All program activities and class tours are designed with safety in mind. We will leverage the country’s requirements for PPE and social distancing in our planning and execution. Wearing a face covering, showing a vaccination card or a negative COVID test may be required. Students who don’t abide could be dismissed from the program at their own expense.
LeadAbroad will provide guidance to students on how to mitigate risk during their free time. Depending on the current conditions this could include recommendations not to travel outside the program city, avoiding crowded areas and maintaining social distancing.
LeadAbroad supplies international medical insurance for all students at no additional cost. The details of this policy will be provided during the student’s orientation program. Participants should review the policy to be fully aware of the details. If students are injured or ill while abroad and need medical attention, they will pay for the treatment upfront, and, if covered, the insurance company will reimburse it after submitting a claim through the insurance provider portal. Additionally, it is important to note there is a difference between medical and travel insurance.
LeadAbroad does not include travel insurance, but you can purchase one of our trip cancellation plans if you would like within 30 days of acceptance.
Will LeadAbroad staff members be fully vaccinated?
Yes, all LeadAbroad staff members will be fully vaccinated and up to date on boosters.
What are the testing requirements for travel to my destination country and returning to the U.S.? Will LeadAbroad communicate and support the process?
Yes, LeadAbroad staff members are monitoring the evolving requirements and will ensure students have all the current information prior to departure. Additionally, our team will coordinate all testing, if required, before students return to the U.S. after the program ends.