Students studying or on placement abroad

We have many students studying abroad at partner institutions or on placement abroad at the current time and we understand this has been a worrying time for them. Read the University's advice and guidance below.

Advice for students studying abroad

The UK FCO COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory notice has been updated on 23 March and takes effect immediately, and the UK Government is now advising all UK nationals travelling abroad to come home while commercial flights are still available. This includes students on study placements abroad. 

An update of 31 March advises that the government is now working in partnership with the airline industry to help British people travelling abroad to return to the UK. Where commercial routes remain feasible airlines will be responsible for getting their passengers with pre-booked tickets home. 

Where commercial routes do not exist special charter flights will operate in some countries to help British tourists and short term visitors to return to the UK. To see if you are eligible and to find out how to book, see the ‘Return to the UK’ section of for the travel advice page of the country that you are in.

Students wanting to leave the country they are in

For those who wish to leave the country they are in, the FCO advises contacting the airline or travel company and insurance provider as soon as possible and keeping up to date with the latest developments. The FCO advise that International travel may become more difficult and the FCO will only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Important message on insurance cover 

Students are strongly urged to return if they live in the UK. If students remain overseas, against current FCO advice, your travel insurer may turn down claims or refuse to cover ongoing trips, for all aspects of cover, including medical expenses. Please note that there are clear consequences to this. If you purchased your insurance with Sussex, Aviva. The Sussex Aviva policy document can be found online here.

You can reach them on:  +44 8000 516 583, or +44 1243 621416. 

Your policy number is: 100001759GPA.

How to book your travel with Key Travel 

The University will cover reasonable costs of your return flight home. If you would like to return home early, you can book through the University Travel Provider: Key Travel. 

Key Travel have a list of all Sussex students currently abroad on study placement. Students will need to make contact with Key Travel directly either via your Sussex email or by telephone. Do please be aware that due to very high numbers of calls the lines may be busy and email may be easier.

During UK office hours

Mon-Fri 8.45-17.30 / Sat 9.00-13.00

+44 (0) 161 819 9767

Outside UK office hours – 24/7

If travel needs to take place urgently. 

+ 44 (0) 20 7843 9602

Non-Immediate travel requirements

Email: sussex@keytravel.com  

Subject line should read “Repatriation Sussex 2020 – required travel date – your name & “Sussex Abroad”. 

You will need to advise your travel need and contact details. You will need to send it from you Sussex University email account. You will also need to supply your student registration number.

Please be aware that due to airline and other restrictions the preferred date/route of travel may not be possible – Key Travel will advise accordingly. 

Preparing your return to the UK

Please use appropriate methods of travel, ideally avoiding public transport. You need to take account of the fast-moving situation and plan accordingly, including the fact there are currently fewer commercial flights available. You must follow the advice of local authorities and also follow the latest FCO travel advice, which includes information on if you are unable to return at this point.

The FCO advises the following on how to return: 

  • Consider a range of options: you may need to travel to another country to get back to the UK. Check travel advice pages for the latest information on any travel restrictions that could affect your travel plans
  • Keep up-to-date with FCO travel advice, and in particular the ‘Return to the UK’ guidance for each country. Sign-up to email alerts to be notified if the situation changes
  • Check the FCO social media accounts for where you are
  • Be prepared that plans may need to change at short notice. 

You must be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and will need to rely on the local health system. You should contact your airline, tour operator and travel insurer to find out what support they can offer.

If you are a UK national who needs emergency help from the UK government while overseas, you can contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission or the FCO in London on 0207 008 1500 for help or advice 24/7. If you are a national or another country, you should make contact with your home country’s embassy, consulate or high commission.

University financial support for Sussex students abroad

If Sussex students choose to buy their own flight, and are not able to cover the costs through their insurance, the University will cover reasonable travel costs up to £500 for Europe and £1,000 for the rest of the world. Repatriation costs are only available if you leave your study abroad early. 

These should be claimed via the existing Student Expense Claim procedure from your Sussex School Office, with supporting information attached to the claim including receipts and evidence that your travel insurance could not cover the expense. This may include standard economy air fare back to your home country, additional baggage allowance, transfer to the airport, costs for sending your belongings back home etc.

There is no time limit on this offer of support. It is in your interest to make your travel plans as soon as practically possible if you do wish to return home.

For more information, please email sussexabroad@sussex.ac.uk. 

Advice for students on placements abroad

We are recommending that students on placement abroad return home.

If students on placements abroad wish to travel back to their home country, but are not able to cover the costs through their insurance, the University will cover reasonable travel. In terms of returning home, please take note of the following advice:

  • If you already have a return flight booked, please see if it is possible to re-schedule the return flight back to the UK or to your home country. Some airlines are waiving fees to change flights right now.
  • Insurance: If you have been asked by your employer to complete your placement early, you may be able to claim your return flight home via your insurance.
  • If you need to book a new ticket, please ensure that you keep hold of all receipts and flight information in order to claim for the university’s financial support and/or your insurance.
  • If you are not able to cover the additional costs through your insurance, the University will cover reasonable travel costs – lowest available fare up to £500 for Europe and £1,000 for the rest of the world. Please email placements@sussex.ac.uk for more information.

If you choose to stay and complete your placement, please follow the protocols that are in place with your placement employer in relation to the Covid-19 virus, and, if you have concerns, please do raise them with your Placement Tutor and the Placements Team on placements@sussex.ac.uk

At this time it is even more important that we have contact with you, so please continue to complete your logs and submit them via CareerHub.

If you are affected by the virus and this impairs your ability to undertake the professional placement assessment, please inform us via placements@sussex.ac.uk so we can initiate an exceptional circumstances claim. The University will take all reasonable measure to ensure that you are not disadvantaged if you need to take time off work.

Note that, if your placement employer asks you to work remotely, you do not need to notify us. Please prioritise your own health and wellbeing and continue to read and understand the updated instructions from Public Health England and the NHS.

Common questions

I’m a Sussex student currently studying abroad, what should I do?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK FCOhas issued an exceptional travel warning and advises British people travelling abroad to return to the UK now, if commercial flights are still available.  Non-UK citizens should follow advice from their local Government and return to their home countries. We strongly recommend that it is in your interest to make your travel plans as soon as practically possible.

Insurance position: In light of UK FCO advice, students are strongly urged to return if they live in the UK. If students elect to remain overseas when the FCO has advised them to leave, your travel insurer may turn down claims or refuse to cover ongoing trips, for all aspects of cover, including medical expenses.  This would be assessed on a case by case basis and depending on your insurer’s stance.   Students should also bear in mind that should they choose to stay in any countries or areas that are significantly affected by the epidemic (either now or in coming months), should they become unwell, then the practical medical assistance that the travel insurer can provide may be limited, if the country is in lock down and the medical capacity in that country is fully engaged dealing with the epidemic.

If you need to book a new ticket, we strongly advise students to book return travel home through the University travel provider, Key Travel.  Please see details above. 

Please ensure that you let the Sussex Abroad team know what your plans are by emailing sussexabroad@sussex.ac.uk. Please also ensure that you refer to FCO advice and links, outlined above, which are regularly updated.

We are in contact with our Study Abroad partner institutions around their provision for delivering online teaching and learning. Returning students should continue to follow modules and complete assessments, where possible. Measures are also being put in place at Sussex for Sussex students returning to their home country from a host institution that is unable to support learning remotely. 

We are taking a flexible approach to alternative arrangements to academic provision and will ensure there is no detrimental effect to University of Sussex students’ academic standing. In the first instance, you should contact your Sussex Academic Adviser, please find a list of contacts here.  

I’m a Sussex student currently studying abroad and have decided I want to stay in the country of my host institution rather than return to the UK 

Students are strongly urged to return if they live in the UK. If students remain overseas, against current FCO advice, your travel insurer may turn down claims or refuse to cover ongoing trips, for all aspects of cover, including medical expenses. 

I am currently studying abroad but am finding it difficult to find a suitable flight home. What should I do?

You can book through the University travel provider, Key Travel.  Please see details above.

I’m a Sussex student due to study abroad this semester

If you have not yet started your study abroad term, or your 2nd semester abroad, you should not do so.  If you are a UK national, you should follow UK FCOadvice and not undertake any international travel.  Similarly, students of other nationalities should follow their Government advice and remain in their home countries.   Please see further detail above regarding travel. 

We are taking a flexible approach to alternative arrangements to academic provision and will ensure there is no detrimental effect to University of Sussex students’ academic standing. In the first instance, you should contact your Sussex Academic Adviser, please find a list of contacts here.  

I’m a Sussex student planning to study abroad in the next academic year (2020/21) – what should I do?

The Sussex Study Abroad team continues to monitor official government advice and guidance, currently restricting travel abroad.  For now we are working on the assumption that students will be able to go on their year abroad in 2020/21. 

However, it is currently too early to confirm this with certainty as the situation with COVID-19 is evolving fast. The situation may be different by the time your year abroad is due to start. We are keeping a close eye on the situation and will keep our advice under review. 

We would recommend that at this stage students refrain from making any financial commitments, i.e. for flights or accommodation abroad. All students should, however, feel free to reconsider their options, if that is their preference and are able to do so.

Will the University of Sussex support me with travel costs?

Pleae note that Repatriation costs are for Sussex students returning home from study abroad destinations outside of the UK only available if you leave your study abroad early.

The University of Sussex offers to reimburse reasonable costs associated with your travel to enable you to return to your home country, should your travel insurance not be sufficient. This Repatriation offer covers up to £500 for Europe and £1,000 for the rest of the world.

These should be claimed via the existing Student Expense Claim procedure from your Sussex School Office, with supporting information attached to the claim including receipts and evidence that your travel insurance could not cover the expense. This may include standard economy air fare back to your home country, additional baggage allowance, transfer to the airport, costs for sending your belongings back home etc.

There is no time limit on this offer of support. It is in your interest to make your travel plans as soon as practically possible if you do wish to return home.

I’m a Sussex student planning to study abroad in the next academic year (2020/21) 

The Sussex Study Abroad team continues to monitor official government advice and guidance, currently restricting travel abroad.  For now we are working on the assumption that students will be able to go on their year abroad in 2020/21.  

However, it is currently too early to confirm this with certainty as the situation with COVID-19 is evolving fast. The situation may be different by the time your year abroad is due to start. We are keeping a close eye on the situation and will keep our advice under review.  

We would recommend that at this stage students refrain from making any financial commitments, i.e. for flights or accommodation abroad. All students should, however, feel free to reconsider their options, if that is their preference and are able to do so. 

I’m a visiting or exchange student currently studying at the University of Sussex – what should I do?

If your home university or country has requested you to return, or you are considering returning home, ask your home institution for information about their approach to the academic learning and assessment of your time abroad under these circumstances.

You should also consider accessing Sussex’s remote teaching methods - look out for emails from your Sussex School of study for updates on online learning provision for the remainder of this semester. To take into account the changes this week to move teaching and learning online, there will not be any exams and assessments on campus for the rest of the academic year, instead assessments will be made using remote means. You can find more details here.

If you have left your on campus accommodation or are planning to do so, you can find more details and instructions here, including about the waiving of remaining rental charges for the rest of the academic year.

It is important for us to monitor your situation, to ensure that you are safe, and all processes at both your host and home universities are respected.  

Students who plan to return to their home country are advised to let the Sussex Abroad team know by emailing sussexabroad@sussex.ac.uk.

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