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Study Abroad Update

Study Abroad Update for Spring 2021

Saint Louis University is evaluating study abroad programs for Spring 2021. The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. SLU also knows how important study abroad is for students to become a better thinker and compassionate individual while gaining understanding of other cultures.

We will examine the return of study abroad based on multiple aspects: travel restrictions and the possibility to obtain a student visa (if necessary); the preparations and resources of individual programs; and the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evaluations will also be based on travel advisories (U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control).

As a Jesuit institution, SLU also must consider the well-being of communities abroad. This means to put the great good over our own preferences.

We do ask students and their guardians to keep in mind:


If you no longer wish to participate in Spring 2021 study abroad, please contact the study abroad counselor for your program.

Frequently Asked Questions 

I do not currently have a valid passport. Will I be able to study abroad in the spring?

U.S. passport processing is currently delayed. U.S. citizens can check for updates here. Depending on the host country, you may also need a student visa. Processing times for visas vary from country to country.

Should I study abroad if I have pre-existing conditions that may increase my risks?

This will be something that needs to be discussed with your physician and family. You will need to make an informed decision about your specific concerns related to COVID-19. 

Should I purchase airfare now?  

When it’s time to consider purchasing airfare, be sure to look at if the flights are refundable, offer change of dates and if the airline offers travel insurance.

Will the University or insurance pay for me to travel home in the event of a spike in COVID-19 cases?  
No. SLU will not offer financial reimbursement to study abroad students in the spring for travel home, quarantine, accommodations, etc. Students need to prepare for any potential interruption and plan accordingly.
What will happen if I am infected with COVID-19 while abroad?  

This will vary by study abroad program. You will most likely be required to quarantine. GeoBlue international health insurance will pay for medical treatment or hospitalization for COVID-19. However, it will not cover costs associated with self-isolation outside of a hospital. 

The international health insurance will not pay for travel due to COVID-19. The only exception is if you are hospitalized in a location that cannot provide adequate treatment based on your condition.

If there is a spike in cases during the spring, can I stay in my host country or do I have to return home?
Any decision to have students return home will be based on developments in the host country and the United States.

Study Abroad Update for Fall 2020

Below is a message from the International Services team, sent July 17, 2020, about study abroad for the fall. All students who planned to study abroad received the message yesterday afternoon. Please contact International Services with any questions. 

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that Saint Louis University is canceling all SLU-approved international short-term and semester study-abroad experiences for the Fall 2020 semester.  

The health and safety of our students is our highest priority and our utmost concern. Our Jesuit mission calls those who are able to put the greater good over our own preferences to do so in order to help those who do not have a choice. 

While we understand that things may change in the interim, we do not want to delay a decision for our Billikens any longer. 

These are the factors that have contributed to our decision: 

These advisories are currently at the highest possible levels, and neither the State Department nor the CDC has indicated that they plan to lower these alerts. The suspension of all SLU-sponsored travel that the University issued in March also remains in place. 

Unfortunately, a pandemic offers no set timeline nor end date. Passport processing in the U.S. is still on pause, consulates worldwide are not operating as they would normally, and some borders are still closed. Additionally, many countries have also implemented two-week quarantine periods upon a traveler’s arrival. Planning for international travel and study has become nearly impossible amid so much unknown. 

Next steps 

Students intending to study abroad in the Fall were given the approval to also register for courses on our St. Louis campuses in April. If you have not yet registered, please be in touch with your academic advisor.  

For SLU-Madrid students, you will need to drop the Madrid coursework by June 19. If you have any difficulty doing so, please contact  

Students who planned to study abroad this fall through SLU-Madrid may enroll in an online course through the Madrid campus, to allow for engagement with our international community there. For information about this option, please contact

For students who plan to live on campus in the Fall and haven’t completed a housing contract, please contact Housing & Residence Life at or 314-977-2811. If you have already taken this step, there is nothing more to do. 

We want to thank you very much for your patience and understanding. Saint Louis University values the rich experiences that come from study abroad, and this has been a difficult decision to reach. As always, we are available for your questions and concerns. 

Thank you, 

Rebecca Bahan
Director of International Services