Guidance & Advice for Applicants
At this time, we do not believe that the situation in Italy will impact fall semester study. As the summer session closes in, most students are wondering if the programs in Italy will run as scheduled. Below are some FAQs which will help provide some guidance for students already accepted and committed for the summer session in Perugia, as well as those still wishing to apply.
Important Note: The information on this page is specific to the Umbra Institute. It is important that you also communicate with your university’s study abroad office regarding any questions you have, even those related to deadlines, deposits, flights, etc.
Summer 2020 Applicants
Will the summer 2020 program still run?
As of this moment, yes! Our summer program start date is still months away and Umbra, as well as some of our partnering universities, have decided to monitor the ongoing situation in Italy and elsewhere and make an official decision regarding the summer session no later than April 15th.
Can I still apply?
Certainly! We are accepting applications now and will continue to do so until May 5th. If at any time during that period there is a need to cancel, we will waive all cancellation fees and all payments advanced for the summer program will be fully refundable. You will need to check with your home institution regarding their application extensions/deadlines and refund policies. Unlike semester programs, NO VISA is required to study for the summer.
We will not charge any cancellation fees until May 8th, which is when invoices will be sent out two weeks prior to the start of the program.
What if I want to book my flight now?
You are encouraged to proceed as planned in booking your flights and preparing for your study abroad experience. Airline fares are probably quite low at this time and you may want to purchase now before fees rise.
Note: We do advise that you purchase refundable airfare or trip insurance that could cover any potential need to cancel or reschedule your flights, regardless of which semester you plan to study in Italy. You never know when that may come in handy. In all scenarios where you book flights for a long-term stay, trip insurance can be a good idea; for example, some past students have used trip insurance to return home early for a family emergency. When reviewing insurance options, just make sure that you read the fine print.
Fall 2020 Semester Applicants
Will the fall 2020 program still run?
Yes, at this time the fall semester program is set to run as scheduled. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Perugia in September!
Is there a deadline for applying?
Yes, June 15th. We will need time to send you documents for your visa and to guide you through the visa application process. It is important that you also check with your home school regarding their fall application deadlines and policies. That said, we will delay all billing until after the fall application deadline and eliminate the standard cancellation fees to give students and their families more time to monitor the global covid-19 situation.
What should I do about my visa?
Contact your Umbra advisor if you need detailed assistance. Otherwise, go ahead and create an account for appointments at the consulate for the jurisdiction in which you live. Appointments are wide open right now so we recognize that you take one for the first week of August. If those fill up as we are advising all students to take advantage of empty appointments right now, feel free to schedule your appointment for the second week of August or the last week of July. This may seem late, but it gives you plenty of time to secure your visa once the U.S. has had time to deal with its current outbreak.
What is happening in Italy right now with covid-19?
Italian national authorities have taken unprecedented measures to curtail the spread of the virus and reduce the number of new confirmed cases in order to bring an end to the virus outbreak as quickly as possible.
Our team is in regular communication with the Italian Health and Education Ministries, with the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI), EduItalia, and other local authorities to monitor this situation. Our US office regularly listens to CDC and Presidential briefings, monitors the CDC and State Department websites, and reviews the general news for relative global updates. We are working hard to ensure that all of our decisions are based on as much information as can be collected and that we are able to communicate updates to students should they be relative to their intended semester or session of study in Italy.
Currently, many Italians have transitioned into recovery with more than half of those diagnosed with covid-19 merely choosing to self-quarantine to limit spread while not actually exhibiting severe symptoms, sometimes showing no symptoms at all.
What if Umbra programs run as scheduled but I am not sure if I should still study in Italy?
The Institute understands that current unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, worldwide, may cause difficulties for international students seeking a short-term study visa or it may cause students and their families to hesitate spending 6 to 8 weeks in Italy. As of February 25th, Umbra is therefore prepared to:
- Extend summer application deadlines to May 5th
- Delay summer invoicing until May 8th
- Push back the deadline for withdrawal penalties, allowing students to withdraw from the summer program without incurring fees until May 8th.
As of now, the Fall 2020 application deadline for Umbra remains June 15th, as we do need time to send you documents for your visa and guide you through the visa application process. That said, we will delay all invoicing until after the fall application deadline to give students and their families more time to monitor the global covid-19 situation.
Students should always refer to their home institution to confirm any deadline or billing-related extensions.
Is it safe for me to study in Italy?
Umbra will not activate programs until the State Department Advisory is lowered to Level 2. This would mean that a wide variety of factors have been considered and – as a result – those US authorities have deemed it safe to live and study in Italy, particularly for young adults.
Although the coronavirus has been widely reported to pose a minimal risk for those under 40, especially young adults, each student should feel comfortable studying abroad. As many children and young adults that have contracted the virus are asymptomatic, quarantine and travel restrictions are put in place mainly to curtail the spread to other groups (elderly and sick) that are more vulnerable. The Umbra Institute has a superb student services staff that is on-call 24/7 to ensure students and families feel confident in remaining healthy and safe while in Perugia.
Reference: the New England Jorunal of Medicine: Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted
Please obtain information from trusted sources like NEJM, the WHO, and the CDC.
I have more questions; can I speak to someone?
If you or anyone else you are processing this decision with have further questions, please reach out to your Umbra advisors in our US offices (Zach Nowak: [email protected]; or Ashley Webb: [email protected]). They can arrange a time to chat with you by phone or Skype to help you understand the levels of support that Umbra can provide.