COVID-19 and Study Abroad (International Education) at WU

This page will be updated as we have information related to COVID-19 and its impact on study abroad programs at WU.  For other questions, please explore the rest of our website, especially the Tips & Resources page found under the heading Accepted to Study Abroad, to find more answers or contact our office at

Parents are encouraged to explore the OIE information for parents by clicking on the "Parents" link to the left.

To return to the main WU COVID-19 update page, please see

We understand that there is uncertainty surrounding this ongoing situation, and our team will work to keep students updated as more information becomes available.  In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about COVID-19, we encourage you to rely on reporting from the CDC, World Health Organization, the Department of State, and International SOS


March 20, 2020

Due to on-site conditions related to COVID-19, the summer programs in both Ecuador and Scotland are canceled. We are working with impacted students and encourage those who can to reapply for summer 2021 during the next application cycle in fall semester.

The Office of International Education staff are working remotely in accordance with university directives. The best way to reach us during this time is using our shared email address  We continue to support international and study abroad students remotely and we are available to individuals and groups for video chats and virtual meetings using Zoom. 


March 17, 2020

The Office of International Education also serves the international students studying at WU in addition to its responsibilties with students studying abroad. With the move toward online instruction, international students are considering the option to remain on campus or to return home -- in both cases continuing classes online.  While some students have decided to return to their home countries, the OIE will continue to work to support these students here at WU and from abroad. 


March 16, 2020

A message from the OIE to all returning from abroad (also sent by email):


Dear Resilient Bearcat Study Abroaders, 

Some of you have already arrived home, some are in transit as of this writing, and some will be departing your host country for home within the next few days.  Please notify us of your safe arrival home.

There are no words to capture how sorry we are that circumstances have forced you to return to the US, and we certainly hope that you adjust as comfortably as possible to your return in the coming weeks.  We know you are tracking a lot of information regarding academics, etc., but we want to offer a couple of important reminders related to your return:

  • Remember to please self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the US. Above all, this is to protect others, including your family members – especially older or immune-comprised persons.
  • Since many of you are returning from countries that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, it’s very important to contact your health care provider by phone in order to seek advice should you develop a fever during the next 14 days. Let them know of your symptoms and where you have been.
  • Finally, if you do test positive for COVID-19, or if your doctor believes you have COVID-19, it’s important for you or your family to let us know, so that we can inform program providers from whence you came.

We hope you have a comfortable return and that all of you remain healthy! 

Kris, Chris, Amy, Nomi, and Ramona


March 13, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security issued guidance for US citizens and permanent residents returning to the United States from all restricted countries, including the 13 U.S. airports they are now required to use effective 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 13th.  Read more at


March 12, 2020

Due to a presidential proclamation on March 11th, the CDC elevated countries in the Schengen area of Europe to Level 3.  Willamette’s policy is to recall students from programs at Level 3.  The OIE is working with students in programs in Austria, Germany, and Spain for their return to the U.S. and remote completion of their courses for credits.

While not covered by the presidential proclamation, due to closure by its partner university, WU is also canceling the program in Galway, Ireland.  Preparations are underway for student return and remote completion of courses.

The OIE remains in communication by email with students in all of our programs, but we invite students and families with questions to contact


As of now, preparation and pre-departure activities continue for all fall semester and 2020-2021 academic year programs and summer programs in Ecuador and Scotland. OIE and WU staff continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on study abroad programs.  Our partners abroad are also communicating actively with us to help us understand the current situation in our program locations and plan for the future.


March 4, 2020

Japan continues to experience sustained community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and is rated at a Level 2 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Out of an abundance of caution, the university has decided not to send NEW groups of students to Japan at this time.  This impacts students who were planning to start spring semester programs at Tokyo International University later in March and the summer program to Japan.  Affected semester students are receiving guidance and assistance.  Summer students are being encouraged to reapply for summer 2021.

Students continuing their year-long programs at Tokyo International University are being given the option to continue their studies in Japan (with student and parental consent) or to return to WU with a modified academic program.  Families of these students should reach out to the OIE via or consult Dean Ruth Feingold,  If the CDC elevates Japan to Level 3, then all students in Japan would need to suspend their studies and return home.



March 2, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control elevated Italy to Level 3.  As a result of this elevation, students in spring programs in Italy are returning home.  Students are being supported through this transition.  Please email for any specific questions related to Italy.


Feb. 28, 2020

As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to grow worldwide, please know that everyone in the Willamette Office of International Education is very carefully monitoring CDC guidelines, World Health Organization, professional listservs, and US State Dept. travel advisories related to the COVID-19. 

At this time, we do not anticipate making any changes to our summer study abroad programs. Therefore, students may progress as normal through the post-acceptance process. Should this change, we will send follow up communication with our plans.


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