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Suspension of spring 2020 study abroad programming

March 11, 2020

Dear Students:

In alignment with messaging from Chancellor Blank and efforts to limit risk associated with the worldwide spread of COVID-19, UW-Madison is suspending all spring semester programming and recalling all students from overseas. Our first priority remains the well-being of our students. 

You should return home as soon as possible (no later than Sunday, March 22nd, 2020).  Contact your airline directly to ask about changes to your booked flights and possible fees. If you purchased a round-trip flight you may be able to rebook your departure date in order to leave your program location.  If you are unable to purchase a flight home at this time, we will be able to assist with purchasing the ticket and having it billed to your student account (instructions below).

We have begun working with our partners overseas on the continuation of academic credit.  Some programs may be able to offer courses, for full credit, via distance learning. We are working as fast as we can on this option and will share additional information as soon as possible.

We have already notified your program provider or host institution so they are aware of your required departure and can provide additional guidance and instructions as they are able.

Please update your UW-Madison MyStudyAbroad portal with your return travel plans as soon as possible.  We have removed your initial travel details and ask that you please insert your new return plans for our records.

International Insurance

Regarding CISI health, medical and evacuation insurance coverage, your program cessation date is, today 11 March 2020. Your CISI end date will be Sunday, 22 March 2020. Following the cessation of your program abroad CISI allows for the purchase of up to 30 days of coverage for personal travel under the UW–Madison policy’s provisions, as long as the enrollment is paid through the period.  This 30-day period for personal travel begins on the date that the program was canceled. You will receive a refund for unused insurance premiums.  Credits will be posted to your student account and refunded by the UW–Madison Bursar.

If you are undertaking personal travel, outside of UW–Madison sponsorship, and desire to extend your CISI enrollment for the 30-day period of coverage, please follow the instructions in the attachment.

International Students

International students should contact International Student Services (ISS) for advising about how this will impact their U.S. visa status.


We know many of you will have questions about fees and refunds. As stated on your program cost sheet, if IAP cancels a program at a point when students can receive academic credit, no refund of the IAP Program Fee is provided. In all cases, non-IAP Program Fees are the responsibility of the student.

Our first priority now is to get students home.  We will follow up with all your host institutions/providers to see if there could be any recoverable costs (such as unused housing) in the coming weeks.  If there are any recoverable costs, those will be refunded to your student account.

Independent Travel

You may have questions on the possibility of independent travel. Our direction remains that all students should return to your home of record, as it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our students.  If you do not follow this direction, UW Study Abroad offices will not sign waivers for providers, and please be advised of the following:

You have been asked to return to your home of record by UW–Madison due to the evolving situation of COVID-19.  If you decide, independent of the university’s direction, to travel to other locations not associated with, sponsored, or supported by UW–Madison, you acknowledge that you are leaving the programming oversight of UW–Madison and your host program abroad, and any implied responsibility accepted by them previously, associated with your enrollment as a student abroad.  This travel is undertaken by you as an independent citizen and is not part of any continuing study online or directed study associated with your enrollment as a UW–Madison student. The university will no longer be a point of contact point for you for any travel issues encountered and is not responsible for making arrangements for your personal travel.

UW-Madison COVID-19 Resources

UW-Madison and University Health Services (UHS) have websites with information about COVID-19 and its impact on our community. The UHS website has specific guidance for students returning from abroad. You can access those websites here:

We will have staff in our office tomorrow, 12 March, from 8am-4pm CDT to assist with questions.  You can email this account ( or call our main office at +1-608-265-6329 during office hours tomorrow.  Please remember that the UW Study Abroad after hours emergency phone is for emergencies only. For matters related to your program cancelation and returning home and other non-emergency questions, please email this account—we will get back to you as soon as possible.

I know that you will have many questions on a variety of issues, but our main focus now is for students to return home safely as soon as possible.  We will be messaging you with additional information and updates as we are able. Please share this message with your families.


UW Study Abroad



Only if you are unable to currently purchase a ticket home or rebook an existing ticket

Step 1

Do some online research on your flight path and itinerary options. The flight must be an economy fare.  (Note, you do not need to book a basic economy fare as those have luggage restrictions.)

Step 2

Once you have determined the flight itinerary you would like to take, call Fox World Travel at +1-920-482-6790 to make your reservation with an agent. Be prepared with your passport. The agent will need passport details and your birthdate in order to make your reservation. Changes to this information cannot be made after booking.

Step 3

Once you have reserved the flight, inform the Fox World Travel agent that they should forward the itinerary by e-mail to  We will pay for your flight and will work to put the charges on your student account.