Summer 2021 FAQs

Summer 2021 Applicants

We know that many students and their families have questions about the status of Summer 2021 study abroad programs. We hope the information below will help answer your questions as you make plans for the Summer. Please email your study abroad advisor at any time with specific questions.  

Special Note: This webpage is for students who plan to participate in a program offered through the UNC Study Abroad Office (SAO). This page was last updated on January 13, 2021. 

Decisions about Program Viability 

According to UNC System guidance, UNC-Chapel Hill is prohibiting University-affiliated travel outside the state of North Carolina. Exceptions to this travel restriction can only be made by the UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Current travel guidelines are detailed on the UNC Global website.   

The Study Abroad Office will seek exceptions by country to travel restrictions on the basis of global public health indicators; the ability of U.S. travelers to enter and depart the host country; availability of commercial flights; public health protocols, access to local health care, student support services at the program site; and other relevant factors. 

For summer 2021, exceptions have been granted for students to study on approved programs in the following countries: Bhutan, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Jordan, South Korea, and Spain.


February 1: SAO cancels programs it anticipates will not be viable based on the factors listed above*, allowing applicants time to reroute to other programs and host countries if desired**. In addition, for UNC-Chapel Hill faculty-led Programs, the faculty program director may decide by February 1st not to lead the program abroad. The SAO will notify students with open applications if their program is cancelled and will advise students about alternate options. 

February 10: Deadline for students to apply for summer 2021 programs 

February 11 – 19: SAO submits limited exception requests for approval by the Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, as applicable.   

March 1: SAO notifies faculty and students of approved countries and programs 

March 15: Deadline for students to commit to summer programs, including signing the study abroad contract and related documents, including the community standards 

*After reviewing program viability with on-site hosts and faculty, the SAO may decide to cancel certain programs by February 1. Programs may be cancelled for reasons such as: 

  • Travel restrictions that prevent students and/or faculty from entering the country 
  • A mandatory quarantine period that would significantly extend program dates and increase costs 
  • The program host is unable to meet expectations for public health protocols, student support, and program modifications 

Additionally, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty-led programs may be cancelled for reasons including: 

  • Inability to offer excursions that are integral to the academic content and structure of the program  
  • Limits on enrollment that significantly increase program costs per student 
  • Modifications to housing and classroom arrangements that significantly increase program costs per student  

**Programs will be continually evaluated based on the criteria listed above and may be cancelled at a later date. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Our study abroad advisors and financial aid advisor are currently taking appointments via Zoom. Please reach out to an advisor to schedule a one-on-one Zoom appointment by visiting 

You can complete your entire application online, but we are still available to advise you through a Zoom appointment. You can make a virtual appointment with an advisor by visiting: 

Yes. Once you’ve selected a program, please email your study abroad advisor or with your name and PID to let us know which program you are applying to, and we will transfer your application fee to that program. 

Yes, please open a new application. If you previously opened an application to study abroad, your advisor can review application items that may be transferable and work with you on items that may need updating.    

Email your study abroad advisor or and let us know how we can help. 

Scholarships that were previously awarded cannot be transferred to Summer 2021 programs, since available scholarship funding varies from cycle to cycleThe Summer 2021 scholarship cycle is November 15, 2020, to February 10, 2021To be considered for scholarships for Summer 2021answer applicable scholarship questions in the regular program application 

At this time, the Study Abroad Office is committed to running as many Summer 2021 programs as possible. If a program is not accepting applications for Summer 2021, there is a note on the program’s webpage. Applications are open from November 15 to February 10. 

We will take into consideration the cancellation of your 2020 program when making acceptance decisions. 

Some programs may adjust things such as program activities and excursions. We will update online program brochures to reflect changes when we are notified. 

If you apply to study abroad, your study abroad advisor will be in regular communication with you and will notify you of any changes that are made to your program.  

If the program is cancelled during the application phase (November 15-February 10): 

Once you submit your application to study abroad, the $50 application fee is not refundable. However, if your program is then cancelled, we can work with you to apply to a different study abroad program, depending on availability and your interests. If you wish to study abroad in a future term instead, we can apply the $50 application fee to a future application. 

If the program is cancelled after students have been accepted and have signed the Study Abroad Contract: 

After you are accepted to study abroad and have signed the Study Abroad Contract in March 2021 for the Summer 2021 term, you should be aware of the following financial obligations:  

Administrative Fee: The administrative fee is non-refundable and will be charged to a student’s account only after committing to a program. Please note that you will remain responsible for the administrative fee if you decide to withdraw from the program. 

However, the Study Abroad Office will return the full administrative fee if the program is cancelled by UNC or the host organization before the program start dateFor detailed information about the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, please visit   

Tuition & Fees/Program Costs: We will work with partner institutions and organizations abroad to refund partial charges when possible. Once the program has begun, most program costs are not recoverable, including tuition and program fees. Please review the Study Abroad Office cancellation and withdrawal information at  

Housing: If the program requires you to pay housing costs out of pocket and a program is suspended early, you should request prorated refunds from the housing agency directly. If housing costs are included in the study abroad program costs, the Study Abroad Office will request a prorated refund on your behalf. Some (but not all) study abroad partner organizations are able to prorate housing costs and offer partial refunds if the program is terminated before the original end–date.  

GeoBlue fee and health insurance: You will receive a refund of the Blue Cross Blue Shield GeoBlue insurance fee based on the date you return to the U.S., if the return is before the original program end-date. Upon their early return, U.S. citizens and international students who have a visa to resume studies at Carolina mid-semester become eligible to obtain the Blue Cross Blue Shield Student Blue health care available to Carolina students. 

Deposits paid to host organizations/program providers: You should contact the provider for options. Any refunds will be at the discretion of the provider. 

If a program is cancelled prior to the start date (for example, because borders remain closed, or for other reasons), we may be able to switch your application to another program in the same term (as space and external deadlines permit). If we are unable to find another suitable program, you may defer to a future study abroad term or withdraw your application. 

Please note that if you do not switch to another program and would like to take courses at Carolina over the summer, you might consider enrolling in Maymester and Summer Sessions. Please visit the UNC Summer School’s website for additional information. 

If you still need to fulfill degree requirements, you can study abroad over the summer and graduate in August. The Study Abroad Office offers many programs with internships, so you may be able to get valuable career experience on a summer program.  

UNC Study Abroad strives to minimize any academic impacts related to program cancellations. Whether  you receive course credit will be based on the following: 

  • the program in which you are participating,   
  • the type of credit you are pursuing,  
  • the timing of the cancellation,   
  • options for continuing coursework remotely, and   
  • timing relative to your program dates and on-campus enrollment.   

The Study Abroad Office and Academic Advising will work with you individually to help you stay on track for graduation. 

If a program is required to transition to remote instruction while in progress, the UNC Study Abroad Office will work with you to navigate the transition and advise you to ensure you are best able to earn credit in a safe manner. In some cases, you may study remotely while remaining in the host country, or you may be able to return home to complete your studies before the program’s scheduled end date. In either caseif you are able to successfully complete coursework remotely, then credit will be awarded just as if you had remained on-site.  

The Study Abroad Office will notify students’ emergency contacts if a program is cancelled only after it has begun. If the program is cancelled prior to the start date, the Study Abroad Office will communicate directly with students, and we encourage students to share information about their study abroad programs with their families. In any situation in which students are capable of making their own decisions, communicating, seeking medical care and making travel arrangements, students will decide whether to notify their emergency contact of changes to their programs. The Study Abroad Office may reach out to emergency contacts if there is a real or perceived health or safety emergency while the student’s program is in progress. Any communication with emergency contacts will be subject to a student’s consent on file or if otherwise permitted by law. 

Yes. GeoBlue Health Insurance covers COVID-19 testing for individuals displaying symptoms, and your host organization/institution and GeoBlue can direct you to local medical care. GeoBlue provides 24/7 health insurance assistance. You may review the full insurance policy details in the HeelsAbroad application system. 

For summer programs, please consider:

  • Waiting to purchase tickets until you are within 2 months of your departure date unless otherwise indicated by the host institution or your advisor
  • Purchasing travel or trip cancelation insurance
  • Purchasing refundable tickets

Health insurance (through GeoBlue or another provider) provides comprehensive health care coverage while you are abroad but does not cover expenses related to travel. Students participating in a Study Abroad Office program are automatically enrolled in GeoBlue global health insurance.

Trip cancellation insurance is not provided by the University. It is designed to cover travel-related expenses such as:

  • Flight / trip cancellation
  • Loss of luggage
  • Loss of personal belongings

Trip cancellation insurance does not cover study abroad program costs and a policy would need to be purchased separately.

The Study Abroad Office recommends that students purchase trip cancellation insurance on their own. This cost has been included in the estimated out-of-pocket expenses you may incur by participating in the program.