Study Abroad

Impact of COVID-19

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Postponed: Study Abroad 2021-22

We are in unprecedented times and the University is continuing to respond to a fast-moving global problem.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the severity of the impact this continues to have on the ability to travel, we have considered the implications for a year abroad and the options available.  

From the start of the pandemic, our primary concern has been and continues to be the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. All decisions and arrangements we are putting in place are designed to minimise the spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus while ensuring that you can continue and complete your programme of study.

We have already received confirmation that a number of exchange programmes at our partner institutions will not be running in 2021-22. Therefore, we have had to take the difficult decision to postpone the 2021-22 Year Abroad for second year students on a full year abroad programme.

Current third year students who flipped their year abroad last year, will be able to undertake their year abroad in 2021/22, depending upon any travel restrictions in place in the UK or home country of the student and/or the host institution’s country, at the time of travel.

Current second year students who have a compulsory term abroad (including East 15 Acting School), will be able to undertake their term abroad in 2021/22, depending upon any travel restrictions in place in the UK or home country of the student and/or the host institution’s country, at the time of travel.

We appreciate that there may be many questions you will have. If you are a current second year student and your year abroad is postponed, please read through the below frequently asked questions (FAQs) as we have tried to answer as many of the questions you may have as possible. We will update these FAQ as new questions are identified.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for current second year students who have been advised that their year abroad 2021-22 has been postponed.

The options available to you

We would like to offer you one of two options for the remainder of your course:

1. Continue on your four year programme but postpone your year abroad and complete year 4 of your degree course at the University of Essex in 2021-22, followed by your Year Abroad in 2022-23 (flip years 3 and 4);

or

2. Change to a three year version of your degree course without a Year Abroad.

Option 1 has been agreed for second year students on a full year abroad programme in 2021-22.  If chosen, your year abroad will still contribute 20% to your degree (if you pass the year), and your original final year (now in 2021-22) will still contribute 50% of your degree, as outlined in the Rules of Assessment.  You can still change your mind during 2021-22 but there will be implications for planning and funding. Please read the below Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information.  

Modern Language degree students 

What if I am a Modern Language student or if I’m on a joint degree including a Modern Language?

All students studying a modern languages degree or a joint degree including a modern language, will have the same two options available to them as all other students as above in the “What options do I have?” section with details as follows:

1. Postpone your year abroad and complete the current year 4 of your degree course at the University in 2021-22 and complete your year abroad in 2022-23 (flip years 3 and 4).

This will operate as follows:

Students studying the BA Modern Languages or BA Modern Languages and Linguistics course will complete the final year (current year 4) of the course in 2021-22, submitting a Capstone project according to their language ability (C1 Language Proficiency or C2 Language Mastery).

If students complete a C1 Language Proficiency Capstone project in the new year 3 in 2021-22 (the year/modules that would have been year 4), they will be required to undertake an exam at the end of the year abroad (in 2022-23) covering language skills at C2 Language Mastery level in their target language.

If students complete and pass the C2 Mastery Level module in their target language in the new year 3 in 2021-22 (the year/modules that would have been year 4), then they will not be required to undertake the exam at the end of their year abroad (in 2022-23). For students studying a joint course including a modern language the Capstone project will be in line with the requirements set by the home Department.

2. Transfer to a 3-year option of the course:

a) For students studying courses owned by the Department of Language and Linguistics, students will transfer to the three- year alternative for the course in place.

b) For students studying joint courses including a modern language, students will transfer to the three-year alternative for the course in place, which may not include a modern language. The home Department will confirm the three-year course available.

How to tell the University about your decision

Please complete the online response form by Tuesday 6 April 2021 to tell us which of the two options above you wish to choose for the academic year 2021-22.

Funding from the Student Loan Company

Do I need to do anything about my funding from Student Finance?

There are funding implications that you need to be aware of for each of the two options:

1. Postpone your year abroad to 2022-23 (flip years 3 and 4)

 a) You will need make changes to your student loan so that you will receive the amount for your ‘study abroad year’ in year 4, which will be your new study abroad year.

b) On the Student Loan Company portal apply for the new correct course and course fee amount of £9250 for 2021-22.

c) When making changes ensure you tick the maximum available box. This will enable the Funding team to make changes to individual application where necessary without any further action required by students.

d) If you change your mind during your third year and decide to not take part in your year abroad during your fourth year, you may be required to pay some funding back as the change will mean that you will be in your final year which has a lower funding rate. To avoid over payment, this decision needs to be made as early on in the 2021-22 academic year as possible.

N.B. During the Summer Term the Funding team will then notify Student Finance England of the change of course by submitting a Change of Circumstances form.

Please note that in order for the Funding team to be able to do this the 2021-22 application must be fully approved by Student Finance England. Once students have been reassessed for the funding SFE will adjust their Tuition Fee Loan amount and their maintenance loan if applicable. Please refer to the Funding website for any specific questions you may have or email the funding team.

2. Change to a 3 year variant of your degree

a) Inform the Student Loans Company (SLC) that this is what you wish to do and they will adjust your funding for 2021-22 accordingly. Do this by logging into your online account and making changes to your application online.

b) As soon as a student application is updated, you will be notified. EU students would need to submit a paper form to update their course details. The form can be found here online. Please refer to the Funding website for any specific questions you may have or email the funding team.

Erasmus+ Funding

What will happen to Erasmus+ Funding if I complete my study abroad year in my final year?

Students should not rely on Erasmus+ funding to fund their whole year abroad, as the grant is considered to be a contribution towards the costs of living abroad and is not intended to cover all costs whilst abroad.

For students eligible for Erasmus+ funding who participate in a year abroad during the academic year 2022-23 (in your final year), we are anticipating that students who were due to go abroad in 2021-22, will be able to access Erasmus+ funding in 2022-23. However, this is not guaranteed as the decision is made outside of the University. 

Contacting your Host Institution

My Host Institution has already contacted me to put arrangements in place for my period of study abroad. How should I respond? 

Now that this decision has been made, we are communicating with all our partner universities to let them know.  We do not expect you to have to contact your host institution separately.

ISEP applications

What will happen if I have applied for funding through ISEP?

If you are an ISEP applicant, the ISEP Application fee is normally non-refundable however we are working with ISEP and within the University to ensure the best outcome for students.

Current 2nd year students will be offered the option to have their application placed on hold until the academic year 2022/23. Students who select this option will not receive a refund for their application fee. However, they will not be required to pay this again when applying for the academic year 2022/23.

Students who decide to change to a 3-year variant will be offered a refund. Proof of payment must be submitted to Essex Abroad.

Financial commitments such as visa applications or accommodation

What happens if I have already made financial commitments in relation to my year abroad, such as visa applications or accommodation? 

We do not expect students to have made any financial commitments at this stage. If you have any queries or concerns about any commitments you have made, please email the Essex Abroad Team at essexabroad@essex.ac.uk

Accommodation at the University of Essex for 2021-22

How will I find accommodation for 2021-22 now that I will be studying at the University of Essex? 

Please refer to the accommodation webpages or SU Homes in order to organise accommodation at your earliest convenience. We appreciate that this would have normally been an activity carried out earlier in the year, however due to the unprecedented circumstances, we have advised you with as much notice as possible.

a) The Accommodation Office at the University have confirmed that due to the change in circumstances, the 2021-22 outgoing Study Abroad students will be given the same priority as returning study abroad students, (please refer to the Accommodation Policy for more information). However, the waiting list for accommodation usually opens in September and accommodation cannot be guaranteed, as such the advice is to look now at alternative living arrangements for 2021-22.

b) SU Homes have provided the following guidance:

  • If you select 'Available Properties' under section 3 you can view the listing.
  • Due to COVID-19 SU Homes have currently suspended viewings, however properties can still be reserved or SU Homes can try and arrange a viewing via zoom with the current tenants.
  • To reserve a property a £50 deposit for each student is required and each student tenant will need to provide evidence of a guarantor.

 

Further support

If you need any academic support or guidance to make your decision, please do contact your Departmental Study Abroad Officer or Personal Tutor to discuss this further. You may also wish to contact the Careers Team at askthehub@essex.ac.uk to discuss the impact of this change on your career plans, what your career options are and to explore alternative opportunities that could support your broader development during the completion of your University degree course.

Further questions

What if I have other questions? 

The Essex Abroad Team are available to answer any further questions and provide support and advice where needed.  These FAQs will be updated as required.

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