If you’re studying abroad

Read our guidance about Coronavirus if you are studying abroad at a Sussex partner institution or on a placement abroad.

Advice for students studying abroad

The UK government is advising all UK nationals travelling abroad to come home while commercial flights are still available. This includes students on study placements abroad. This follows a Covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory notice by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The government has been working 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, check the government’s travel advice page of the country that you are in.

If you want to leave the country you’re 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. The FCO will only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Insurance cover

You are strongly urged to return if you live in the UK.

Important: If you remain overseas, against FCO advice, your travel insurer may turn down claims or refuse to cover ongoing trips, for all aspects of cover, including medical expenses. There are clear consequences to this.

If you purchased your insurance with Sussex, Aviva, here is the Sussex Aviva policy document [PDF]. Call them on: +44 8000 516 583 or +44 1243 621416. Your policy number is: 100001759GPA.

How to book your travel with Key Travel

We 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. You will need to make contact with Key Travel directly either through your Sussex email or by telephone.

Due to high numbers of calls, the lines may be busy and email may be easier.

During UK office hours

Monday-Friday, 8.45am-5.30pm
Saturday 9am-1pm
+44 (0) 161 819 9767

Outside UK office hours – 24/7

If you need to travel urgently, call + 44 (0) 20 7843 9602.

Non-Immediate travel requirements

Email sussex@keytravel.com.

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

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

Due to airline and other restrictions, your preferred date and route of travel may not be possible – Key Travel will advise you.

Preparing your return to the UK

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, 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 of another country, you should make contact with your home country’s embassy, consulate or high commission.

Financial support for Sussex students abroad

If you choose to buy your own flight, and are not able to cover the costs through your insurance, we 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 through the existing Student Expense Claim procedure from your 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 and costs for sending your belongings back home.

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, email sussexabroad@sussex.ac.uk.

If I stay in my host country, will my insurance remain valid?

For students who have taken out the University policy through Aviva, your insurance will remain valid until the date of your final assessment abroad. After that, the insurance will only remain in place for a few days to allow you to return to your home country. Students remaining in country beyond this date will not be covered. Additionally, if you wish to return but cannot at that point due to a travel ban or border closure by your host country etc, then Aviva will not unfortunately be in a position to meet any resulting costs, such as alternative travel arrangements / accommodation / sustenance.

If you have taken out your own insurance, you should check with your own provider.

Advice for students on placements abroad

We recommend that students on placement abroad return home.

If you wish to travel back to your home country, but are not able to cover the costs through your insurance, we will cover reasonable travel. In terms of returning home, take note of the following advice:

  • If you already have a return flight booked, 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 through your insurance.
  • If you need to book a new ticket, make sure you keep hold of all receipts and flight information 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, we will cover reasonable travel costs – lowest available fare up to £500 for Europe and £1,000 for the rest of the world. Email placements@sussex.ac.uk for more information.

If you choose to stay and complete your placement, follow the protocols that are in place with your placement employer in relation to Coronavirus. If you have concerns, 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, email placements@sussex.ac.uk so we can initiate an exceptional circumstances claim. We will take all reasonable measure to ensure you are not disadvantaged if you need to take time off work.

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

Studying abroad this semester

If you have not yet started your study abroad term, or your second semester abroad, you should not do so.

If you are a UK national, you should follow UK FCO advice and not undertake any international travel. Similarly, students of other nationalities should follow their Government advice and remain in their home countries.

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. See a list of contacts.

Planning to study abroad in the 2020/21 academic year

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 too early to confirm this with certainty as the Coronavirus situation 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 this and will keep our advice under review.

We recommend you avoid making any financial commitments, such as flights or accommodation. Feel free to reconsider your options, if that is your preference and you are able to do so.

Visiting or exchange students at Sussex

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 about online learning provision for the remainder of this semester.

To take into account changes to teaching and learning online, there will not be any exams and assessments on campus for the rest of the academic year. Instead assessments will take place remotely. See more information about your education.

If you have left your on-campus accommodation, check our living away from campus information.

If you’re still on campus, check our information about staying on campus.

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

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