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COVID FAQs for 2021

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Covid Adjustments and FAQs

Update on August 12, 2021 

Spanish Studies Abroad is delighted to report that we had a successful summer re-opening in Alicante, Spain which included June and July terms. All of our students met the requirement to be vaccinated and were able to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean city of Alicante. 

For Fall 2021 programs we can expect slightly different regulations on mask usage by region, depending on the current reality there. In most of Spain, indoor gatherings require masking and in areas, outdoors as well. We appreciate the cooperation that our students provided in the summer of 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have once again listed Spain as a “Level 4” designation due to the recent increase in cases related to the delta variant of COVID-19. While we have understood the CDC’s decisions in the past, we are not in agreement with this designation. It is true that the numbers of cases have increased in Spain but due to growing vaccination numbers, there has not been a corresponding spike in hospitalizations or mortalities. As such, we believe that following public health regulations for mitigation can allow us to run upcoming programs at a risk level acceptable to most families and colleges.

With the consistent vaccination campaign in Spain over the last 6 months, we can now assure our students of placements in homestays with all adults vaccinated with one of the EU’s approved vaccines.

Update June 29, 2021 on Fall Programs

For Fall 2021, Spanish Studies Abroad will run all in-person programs in Spain, but has cancelled all in-person programs in Argentina, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

Online programs are available throughout the 2021 Fall Semester, including a 12-week virtual internship program coordinated from Argentina with the participation of Argentinean organizations. 

The requirement that all students be fully vaccinated before arrival in Spain for 2021 Fall programs remains in place. Please read below for more information and reasoning behind this decision. 

Many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Spain, and Spanish Studies has modified some of the measures in place, such as allowing more than one student per household. This remains a fluid situation. Spanish Studies Abroad continues to emphasize the safety of all our students, advisors, staff, and families. Thank you for your understanding.


Update May 4, 2021

Students attending in-person programs with Spanish Studies Abroad will now be required to be fully vaccinated before arrival abroad. This will be the most effective step to protect your fellow students, our host families and staff, and will also facilitate your entry abroad. Spanish Studies requires that students upload an image of their vaccination card or other proof as soon as possible, and before traveling abroad.

Update April 21, 2021:  

The Department of State of the United States has revised their Travel Advisory for Spain to align with the CDC advisory that had been issued weeks earlier. Spain is now at Level 4. Please review the CDC Updated Information for Travelers, here

Spanish Studies Abroad requests that all students participating in our study abroad programs adhere to the CDC’s statement: “CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated”, and follow all other recommendations for a safe stay abroad. 

We understand that there are inherent risks in international study and travel that need to be balanced with the benefits of study abroad, and we will therefore proceed ahead with reduced programming as announced earlier (see below). To ensure the safest possible outcomes, our staff abroad, as well as the local and national health authorities, are prepared and equipped to manage any emergencies that may arise.

Update March 25, 2021:

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, so do the rules and regulations related to controlling the virus. National and local governments are regularly changing their approach and recommendations for how to lessen the impact of the virus, and so we must all be flexible and prepared to make adjustments as necessary. It is in everybody’s best interest to make those adjustments and so, while the following notes are in effect today, they will change as necessary for the wellbeing of our students, host families and staff and to comply with regulations. Some key points:

  • SUMMER 2021: Spanish Studies Abroad will only operate in-person programs in Alicante, Spain at the Universidad de Alicante. Please review program options here.
  • JANUARY, SPRING, MAY 2021: Spanish Studies Abroad has cancelled all in-person study abroad programs up to and including May 2021. 
  • ONLINE COURSES JANUARY THROUGH DECEMBER 2021: because of other program cancellations, Spanish Studies Abroad has developed a series of month-long online courses in Spanish language, culture, teaching, business, etc. A range of challenging and exciting three-credit courses is offered every month and are reasonably priced. 
  • Fall 2021 in-person study abroad programs are currently scheduled to operate as usual; as mentioned above, this is subject to change for health and/or logistical reasons. We continuously monitor the progress in the fight against COVID-19 in each of our locations to be able to determine the viability of in-person instruction.
  • Spain is limiting travel outside of one’s current geographic area. For example, residents of the Valencia community, where Alicante is located, are not allowed to travel to other parts of Spain. This has been a dynamic situation and so it can be expected to change from time to time. In general, study abroad students during the COVID-19 era should not expect to travel as freely as before the pandemic.

As noted, we plan to run our summer program with the Universidad de Alicante (UA) in June and July of 2021. It is important to note that our partner organization at UA, the Centro Superior de Idiomas (CSI), has been running in-person classes during the pandemic since the summer of 2020. There have been no large outbreaks at UA or CSI.

Here is a summary of how CSI in-person programs are functioning:

  • CSI’s classes are small – often around 8 students – but they have large classrooms. This allows for social distancing to take place in every class.
  • Occupancy of communal spaces is also being monitored to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Ventilation of each room is constant to keep air from stagnating. Windows and doors remain open (Alicante’s warm, dry climate makes this possible).
  • All language classes are being held in-person.
  • Hand sanitizer is readily available in each building.
  • The university has increased cleaning and sanitization of all buildings on campus.
  • If a student needs to miss classes due to COVID-19 protocols, he/she can follow along via video conferencing.
  • Students have an 8-minute break each hour and students are required to go outside during this time.
  • All reception desks and other service sites now have plastic screens for protection of students and staff.
  • Face masks are required for all students, instructors and staff. (For certain activities, this can be waived temporarily, if proper distancing can be ensured).
  • The foot traffic in all UA buildings has been engineered to keep students moving in the same direction through doors and in the hallway to reduce possibilities of face-to-face contact.
  • SSA students are placed 1 per homestay – in private rooms – to reduce the chances of infection.
  • In case of COVID-19 infection, students will quarantine at their homestay.
  • In all of Spain, you are required to wear a facemask when you are outside of your home or residence.
  • Students should expect to remain in and around Alicante during the summer session.
  • All our partner institutions have protocols in place that adhere to strict local regulations, including distancing, group size limitations and interaction, heightened sanitizing, mask-wearing everywhere except in the home, etc.
  • Our Center in Seville has successfully worked with local students throughout this past year (daily temperature monitoring, providing sanitizer for hands and shoes, masks required, 6’+ distancing, reduced occupancy, use of outdoor patio and larger classrooms, etc.)
  • The Center follows FECEI (Federación Española de Centros de Enseñanza de Idiomas) protocols per the info sheet below, including a COVID-19 response coordinator on-site to ensure compliance with strict local regulations
  • All homestays in single rooms will be guaranteed, with one student placed per household
  • Class sizes will be limited, classrooms windows remain open in normal circumstances to provide proper air flow
  • In Spain, everyone is required to wear a face mask when outside of one’s home, including on campuses and in classes.
  • We will be monitoring progress against the spread of COVID-19 in all 3 of our Latin America destinations.
  • These protocols are subject to change without notice according to national and local guidelines
  • If the PCR test is positive, the student will follow doctors’ orders, including possible quarantine arranged by Spanish Studies at no extra cost to the student. This may be in a private room at the student’s own homestay; homestay families are prepared for this possibility. A tutor will be assigned to help the student navigate coursework during the quarantine period
  • The above quarantine conditions will also apply in case a student becomes infected with COVID-19 once on site.
  • So as not to increase our fees, SSA has made internal adjustments, including eliminating some overnight and day-long study visits and has put those fees toward a COVID Response Fund that will cover the additional costs associated with testing, extra cleaning, isolation room and board, tutoring resources, etc.
  • SSA’s policies are from CISI. CISI’s coverage includes all medical expenses related to COVID-19. Students that need to go to a hospital will not have any out-of-pocket expense.

SSA does not have a program of regular testing throughout a term of study. Tests are widely available in all locations in case of suspected contact with the disease. Tests ordered by a doctor will be covered by our CISI insurance policy, but any tests taken voluntarily will be paid for by the student.

Unless health personnel determine otherwise, people who have followed the recommendations for distancing, sanitizing, etc. do not have to be quarantined simply because they have been near a person known to be infected with COVID-19. See current CDC interim guidelines here.

  • For summer 2021 in Alicante, students do not need a visa due to the length of the program. They will enter Spain as students with an acceptance letter from SSA, proof of SSA’s health insurance for their program, and a valid, negative PCR COVID-19 test that is less than 72-hours old (from arrival time). Click here to see consular information for US citizens. 
  • Travelers to Spain are required to fill out a Health Control Form within 48 hours of their flight. Once submitted, you will receive an email with a QR code that will need to be presented at your destination airport. Your airline should inform you of this requirement, and you can access the form here:
  • In Spain, students are not required to isolate or quarantine upon arrival
  • In Argentina, a 14-day quarantine in your residence is currently required upon arrival

Yes, currently, the plan is for in-person instruction this summer in Alicante and all 6 of our locations for the Fall semester. This is a dynamic situation and could change in the coming weeks. Once at a study abroad location, if the situation dictates, students could move to on-line delivery of coursework

This will depend on our host institutions and the respective governmental bodies in each location; they are responsible to make a decision to go on-line, according to local protocols and regulations; in that case, we will work with students to facilitate the process

  • SSA will make a decision to run or cancel programs taking into consideration a combination of US and host-country health and safety authority recommendations as well as logistics and demand for a program.

We are continuously monitoring the global health situation and considering recommendations of US and local health authorities, and will make a determination several months before a program start date. Keep in mind that some of our partner institutions may make announcements prior to this date.

  • We will only cancel a program close to the start date if the host country changes regulations to prohibit foreign students from entering immediately prior to the program start date.

  • For Spain: Most programs are under 90 days and thus do not require you to obtain a specific student visa prior to traveling. We will provide you with a letter certifying your full-time enrollment status and insurance coverage, which you will need to present at the airports. Students who plan to be in-country for over 90 days (eg. Integrated Program students) must speak with their SSA representative about the need for a visa. 
  • For Argentina: US citizens enter with their passport and apply for a student residence permit once classes have started
  • No, you are not required to have a direct flight to your final destination.
  • Students must consult with our Resident Director prior to travel to other cities; travel to COVID hotspots will not be authorized.
  • Keep in mind that airlines may cancel flights between specific European cities, and that national, regional and local governments may limit travel to/from specific destinations
  • The CDC has clear guidelines for passengers and their return flights to the USA: “Be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel.” SSA and CISI will assist in this case, including providing extra days of quarantine housing as necessary
  • Spanish Studies Abroad does not provide cancellation insurance. Since there has been an increase in interest in “cancel for any reason” policies, we offer these links to help you research and consider this option. Please note that Spanish Studies does not endorse any particular company. 

Cancellation insurance

  • Spanish Studies Abroad does not provide cancellation insurance. Since there has been an increase in interest in “cancel for any reason” policies, we offer these links to help you research and consider this option. Please note that Spanish Studies does not endorse any particular company. 

Covid protocols for Spring 2021

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