2020 applicants
Study Abroad

Impact of Covid-19

Find a course

Postponed Study Abroad 2020-21

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

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 arrangements we are putting in place and decisions we are making are designed to minimise the spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus while ensuring that students can continue and complete their programmes of study.

We are anticipating that the disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic may well extend into the next academic year. With a heavy heart, we have therefore taken the very difficult decision to postpone the 2020-21 Year Abroad for all students. We have finely balanced this decision with safeguarding our students’ health and safety, providing certainty now to allow students adequate time to plan for this change in circumstance, and to minimise the risk of disruption during the Year Abroad. We remain committed to providing a full international experience and if you have any questions about what this information means for you, please read our FAQ below. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The options available to you

The following options are available to you:

  • 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 2020-21, followed by your Year Abroad in 2021-22 (flip years 3 and 4);or
  • Change to a three year version of your degree course without a Year Abroad.

Option 1 has been agreed exceptionally for students affected by the decision for study abroad in 2020-21. If you choose this option, your year abroad will still contribute 20% of your degree (if you pass the year), and your original final year (now in 2020-21) will still contribute 50% of your degree, as outlined in the Rules of Assessment.

Modern Language degree students 

You will still have the same options as all other students (as detailed above). 

a) If you choose to postpone your year aboard to 2021-22 (flip years 3 and 4):

  • Details of how students will be able to demonstrate their language level has been agreed with the Department of Language and Linguistics. Further information will be provided to you by the Department by 30 April.

b) If you choose to transfer to a 3 year version of your degree course:

  • For the BA Modern Languages and BA Modern Languages and Linguistics courses, you will transfer to the BA Language Studies course.
  • For 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. If you have a question about what this means for your course, please speak to your Department.

How to tell the University about your decision

Please complete the online Response Form to tell us which of the two options you wish to choose for the academic year 2020-21 no later than Monday 1 June.

Funding from the Student Loan Company

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

a) Postpone your year abroad to 2021-22 (flip years 3 and 4)

  • The funding amount will be changed so that you will receive the amount for your ‘study abroad year’ in year 4, which will be your new study abroad year.
  • 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 2020-21 academic year as possible.

b) Change to a 3 year variant of your degree

  • Inform the Student Loans Company (SLC) that this is what you wish to do and they will adjust your funding for 2020-21 accordingly.

Please refer to the Funding webpages for any specific questions you may have or email funding@essex.ac.uk.

Erasmus+ Funding

For students eligible for Erasmus+ funding who participate in a year abroad during the academic year 2021-22 (in your final year), we are anticipating that students who were due to go abroad in 2020-21, will be able to access Erasmus+ funding in 2021-22. However, this is not guaranteed as the decision is made outside of the University.

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.

Contacting your Host Institution

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

If you are an ISEP applicant, the ISEP Application fee is normally non-refundable.

The ISEP Application fee can be carried over and used for the postponed 2021-22 application.

ISEP students are able to defer allocated placements to the 2021/22 academic year, pending approval from the host institution.

The Placement Acceptance Fee is refundable through ISEP. You will need to contact ISEP directly to request this.  Please provide to ISEP the communication that we have sent to you detailing the postponement of study abroad in 2020-21 as evidence that you are unable to participate in a year abroad in 2020-21.

Financial commitments 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 2020-21

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 2020-21 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 2020-21.

The University of Essex Accommodation will have a new application window for Essex Abroad returning students which will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. The date for the application window is still to be confirmed and will be communicated to you along with further information for how to apply.

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.

The Essex Abroad Team are available to answer any further questions and provide support and advice where needed. Please email essexabroad@essex.ac.uk They will also respond directly to your questions raised through the Questions Form. The FAQs on this page will be updated.  

Get in touch