The health and safety of our participants is always our #1 priority. Barcelona SAE continues to closely monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation worldwide through trusted sources such as the CDCWHOUS Department of State and APUNE.

We have been and will continue to be in regular communication with our students, parents and partners and will continue to post updates below.

Our Preparation 

We are closely monitoring all health and advisory resources including the CDC, US State Department, US Embassy in Spain, the WHO, and more for the latest updates about the COVID-19 and its impact on Barcelona and Spain. 

We are updating the information here and by email and phone with our students and university partners. 

We are staying level-headed and prepared, and we are continuing to help our students stay safe while having the incredible, life-enriching experiences that study and intern abroad allows.  

Our Team

Our Risk Management Team between Barcelona and the US has more than 60 years of combined experience in education abroad. We are meeting on a regular basis to stay on top of the news and keep our constituents updated. 

Our Approach

Our approach is to not panic and not cause panic, but to stay level headed and fully prepared and keep everything in perspective. 

The fact that students are still applying and confirming for our summer and fall programs, and that Customized Faculty Led Programs are choosing Barcelona over other world locations gives us confidence that many others are also taking this all in perspective.

Resources


Important Update on Barcelona SAE Spring 2020 Programs – March 12, 2020

***IMPORTANT: Please note that information is changing at a rapid pace and our team is currently receiving a high volume of emails and phone calls. This is the most up-to-date information as of Thursday, March 12th at 4:00PM Barcelona time, and we encourage you to follow along on our blog for further updates.***

As you saw earlier this morning, we have already made the strong recommendation that students return home. 

We now feel that the situation warrants an immediate cancellation of the rest of the semester of the Barcelona program and are requiring students to return home. This decision was a very difficult one as we know how much the experience means to all of our students and university partners, and to all of us, but with the current state of affairs – the CDC level 3 for Spain, the State Department’s Global Travel advisory, and the Catalan government just now deciding to close all schools as of tomorrow for at least two weeks, we feel this is the best course of action for the health and safety of our students which must be our number one priority. All of our students onsite have received email notification regarding this update.

We ask that all students depart Barcelona as quickly and as safely as possible. Students who do not hold a US passport or permanent residency and plan to travel to the US must book travel back to the United States NOW in order to arrive before the proposed entry restrictions take effect on Friday, March 13th at midnight. At the very latest, we would like students to depart by Wednesday, March 18th. However, as we stated in our email this morning, we strongly encourage you to get home before the US travel restrictions take place. 

As a reminder, all students now should fill out the program early departure form

All students will be able to complete their coursework, whether they are studying at SIS, the UAB, the UB or the UPF, can be finished online so students will be able to finish your academic semester from home. We encourage our students to please refer to our previous emails or communication directly from their Barcelona Universities to follow their instructions. If you have questions about the academic portion, please contact Academics@BarcelonaSAE.com

Internship students should refer to the email from Guillem Paredes, Internship Program Supervisor, from earlier this week to organize the end of their internships.

Housing will remain available to our students until departure, for now. However, given the constantly updated restrictions by our local government, we cannot guarantee that flexibility.

The Barcelona staff are here to support our students as well. The emergency phone will remain available if students have any questions and we will be at the office until 6:30pm today, Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th from 9am – 5pm. 

We recommend that students check with their student health insurance coverage should they need it. Most insurances remain in place until the scheduled end date of the program.

We know how hard this is for our students to say goodbye to Barcelona but hopefully it’s not “adiós” and it’s just “hasta pronto.” We will be in touch with students soon to let them know about future program opportunities should they choose to come back sooner rather than later. 

Please note that information is changing at a rapid pace and our team is currently receiving a high volume of emails and phone calls. We appreciate your understanding throughout this unprecedented and quickly evolving situation, and we will continue to share additional information on our blog as we receive it.

Rich Kurtzman | Founder & CEO


Statement on Travel Ban – March 12, 2020

***IMPORTANT: Please note that information is changing at a rapid pace and our team is currently receiving a high volume of emails and phone calls. This is the most up-to-date information as of Thursday, March 12th at 9:00AM Barcelona time, and we encourage you to follow along on our blog for further updates.***

Barcelona SAE is aware of the address from the Oval Office at 9:00PM ET on Wednesday, March 11th where President Trump imposed a travel restriction to the United States from more than two dozen European countries, including Spain, that will go into effect this Friday, March 13th at midnight. It is important to note the statement posted by the Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary, Chad F. Wolf, clearly identifies that this proclamation applies to most foreign nationals and does not apply to American citizens studying abroad. 

From the statement on the DHS website: “Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal U.S. permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.” The statement from the acting Secretary goes on to state that DHS intends to issue additional guidance on screening requirements within 48 hours.

We strongly recommend that students, and especially those this proclamation applies to, book travel back to the United States in order to arrive before the proposed entry restrictions take effect on Friday, March 13th at midnight. Given the current information that we have, it is likely that there will be far fewer flights, more travel restrictions, and/or a greater likelihood of quarantine after this date. 

In addition, Barcelona SAE urges all of our students to follow the policies, directives, and subsequent announcements from the White House and Department of Homeland Security.

Students on-site, we are here to help you. Our office remains open and staff are available to assist you as you navigate through this. You can also call our office number at +34 936 399 946‬.

We also recommend our students consult with their university advisors and families to make the best decision about whether to stay or return to the United States. As a reminder, students who are leaving early should fill out the program early withdrawal form and will be able to complete their coursework online.

University Partners, please call 1.800.226.1232 ext. 6008 where we are happy to answer any further questions that you may have.

We appreciate your understanding throughout this unprecedented and quickly evolving situation. We will continue to share additional information as we receive it.

Rich Kurtzman | Founder & CEO


Tips for Rebooking Flights

Updated March 12, 2020

We recommend that you check with your airline ASAP to see if they are offering an updated flight change policy due to the Coronavirus, as many airlines are currently cancelling extra fees and charges for flight changes.

We recommend you first try to make changes directly on your airline’s website, or call them directly, rather than changing your flight on a third party website such as Expedia.

If calling your airline directly, be polite and honest and they might be able to help you at least reduce fees if not completely eliminate them. Ask to speak with a supervisor if the person you are speaking with can’t waive your fees. 

We recommend that you change your flight rather than cancelling it, as this can possibly avoid fees. 

You can also consider that buying a one-way fare may be the least expensive option. 

While traveling, remember these general safety tips: wash your hands, stay away from people who are sick, etc. and cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze! Use your elbow or a tissue. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Barcelona SAE cannot be held responsible if students are unable to obtain a fee waiver or refund for their airfare. 

These articles are updated regularly with the most accurate policy information for each US airline:


Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 12, 2020

Have Spring 2020 programs officially been cancelled?

Yes – as of March 12, 2020 Barcelona SAE is officially cancelling all Spring 2020 programs. Unfortunately, we now feel this situation warrants an immediate cancellation of the rest of the semester of the Barcelona program and are requiring students to return home.

This decision was a very difficult one as we know how much the experience means to all of our students and university partners, and to all of us, but with the current state of affairs – the CDC level 3 for Spain, the State Department’s Global Travel advisory, and the Catalan government just now deciding to close all schools as of tomorrow for at least two weeks, we feel this is the best course of action for the health and safety of our students which must be our number one priority. 

What is the coursework protocol for Spring 2020 students?

All students will be able to complete their coursework, whether they are studying at SIS, the UAB, the UB or the UPF, can be finished online so students will be able to finish your academic semester from home. We encourage our students to please refer to our previous emails or communication directly from their Barcelona Universities to follow their instructions. If you have questions about the academic portion, please contact Academics@BarcelonaSAE.com

What is the protocol for Spring 2020 interns?

Internship students should refer to the email from Guillem Paredes, Internship Program Supervisor, from earlier this week to organize the end of their internships.

Will housing remain open for Spring 2020 participants?

Housing will remain available to our students until departure, for now. However, given the constantly updated restrictions by our local government, we cannot guarantee that flexibility.

What about my student health insurance?

We recommend that students check with their student health insurance coverage should they need it. Most insurances remain in place until the scheduled end date of the program.

Is Barcelona SAE cancelling or suspending any Summer 2020 and/or Fall 2020 programs?

No – as of March 12, 2020, Barcelona SAE plans to run all of our programs as scheduled this summer and fall. Of course, we will continue to keep all of our applicants updated as the situation evolves.

Is Barcelona SAE cancelling or suspending Summer 2020 and/or Fall 2020 programs?

No – as of March 12, 2020, Barcelona SAE plans to run all of our programs as scheduled this summer and fall. Of course, we will continue to keep all of our applicants updated as the situation evolves.

What is the refund policy if Barcelona SAE cancels or suspends a program once it has begun?

If Barcelona SAE were forced to cancel or suspend a program that has already begun, Barcelona SAE will attempt to refund a portion of the participant’s fees that have not been used or committed. It should be known that many costs are paid upfront for a student’s study and intern abroad experience.

What is the refund policy at this time for Summer and Fall programs?

Barcelona SAE does not currently plan to cancel any programs this summer or fall because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) except in the following cases: 

  1. The U.S. State Department advisory level for Spain is elevated to Level 4, “Do not travel.”
  2. The CDC elevates the alert level to a Level 3,  “Avoid all non-essential travel.”
  3. The U.S. or other country governments recommend immediate departure or evacuation of all U.S. citizens from Barcelona.

To give students more time to make decisions, we have moved some of our summer confirmation deadlines to later dates to give students more time to make the decision if they need to. Please see the deadline information here

The normal cancellation and refund policy is in place for summer and fall.

What is the refund policy for faculty-led programs?

Should one of our university partners decide to cancel their program specifically due to concerns and/or government requirements about COVID-19, the cancellation and refund policy will apply as stated in each individual program contract. Barcelona SAE will work with our partners to recover as many funds as possible.

Does Barcelona SAE recommend purchasing travel insurance? 

Purchasing travel insurance is completely optional. There are different types of insurance available, so be sure to research the options carefully and check any restrictions around date of purchase and coverages. Barcelona SAE cannot recommend any specific travel insurance.


Communication 

EMAIL TO UNIVERSITY PARTNERS – MARCH 12, 2020

Dear Partners,

As you saw earlier this morning, we have already made the strong recommendation that students return home. 

We now feel that the situation warrants an immediate cancellation of the rest of the semester of the Barcelona program and are requiring students to return home. This decision was a very difficult one as we know how much the experience means to all of our students and university partners, and to all of us, but with the current state of affairs – the CDC level 3 for Spain, the State Department’s Global Travel advisory, and the Catalan government just now deciding to close all schools as of tomorrow for at least two weeks, we feel this is the best course of action for the health and safety of our students which must be our number one priority. All of our students onsite have received email notification regarding this update.

We ask that all students depart Barcelona as quickly and as safely as possible. Students who do not hold a US passport or permanent residency and plan to travel to the US must book travel back to the United States NOW in order to arrive before the proposed entry restrictions take effect on Friday, March 13th at midnight. At the very latest, we would like students to depart by Wednesday, March 18th. However, as we stated in our email this morning, we strongly encourage you to get home before the US travel restrictions take place. 

As a reminder, all students now should fill out the program early departure form

All students will be able to complete their coursework, whether they are studying at SIS, the UAB, the UB or the UPF, can be finished online so students will be able to finish your academic semester from home. We encourage our students to please refer to our previous emails or communication directly from their Barcelona Universities to follow their instructions. If you have questions about the academic portion, please contact Academics@BarcelonaSAE.com

Internship students should refer to the email from Guillem Paredes, Internship Program Supervisor, from earlier this week to organize the end of their internships.

Housing will remain available to our students until departure, for now. However, given the constantly updated restrictions by our local government, we cannot guarantee that flexibility.

The Barcelona staff are here to support our students as well. The emergency phone will remain available if students have any questions and we will be at the office until 6:30pm today, Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th from 9am – 5pm. 

We recommend that students check with their student health insurance coverage should they need it. Most insurances remain in place until the scheduled end date of the program.

We know how hard this is for our students to say goodbye to Barcelona but hopefully it’s not “adiós” and it’s just “hasta pronto.” We will be in touch with students soon to let them know about future program opportunities should they choose to come back sooner rather than later. 

Please note that information is changing at a rapid pace and our team is currently receiving a high volume of emails and phone calls. We appreciate your understanding throughout this unprecedented and quickly evolving situation, and we will continue to share additional information on our blog as we receive it.

Rich Kurtzman | Founder & CEO


EMAIL TO UNIVERSITY PARTNERS – MARCH 5, 2020

Dear Partners,

We are following up to outline our summer and fall cancellation and refund policies in response to concern around university travel bans due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

However, before we get to that, I would like to say that we are all in this together. We know the hard work and long hours that everyone is putting in to maintain control of this situation as best as we can, and our team is here to help you out wherever possible. We are sending lots of virtual, germ-free hugs and positive vibes from Barcelona. 

UPDATE FROM SPANISH AUTHORITIES

At the time of this email, Barcelona SAE has no reports of any participants or staff having contracted the virus. According to the Spanish Ministry of Health the “instances of coronavirus in the Spanish population is 0.4%” and “the Health department insists that the situation in Spain has not changed, so there is no reason to raise the risk level nor to adopt any new drastic measures.” La Vanguardia newspaper, March 5th 2:27PM BCN TIME

CURRENT PLAN IS TO CONTINUE WITH ALL PROGRAMS

Barcelona SAE does not currently plan to cancel any programs this summer or fall because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) except if the following cases were to occur: 

  1. The U.S. State Department advisory level for Spain is elevated to Level 4, “Do not travel.” 
  2. The CDC elevates the alert level to a Level 3,  “Avoid all non-essential travel.” 
  3. The U.S. or other country governments recommend immediate departure or evacuation of all U.S. citizens from Barcelona.

MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR SUMMER AND FALL DEADLINES

To give students more time to make decisions, we have extended some of our summer application deadlines to later dates. Please see our deadline information here. If you have a specific request for further deadline extensions, please ask, and we will see if it’s possible.  

REFUND POLICY FOR SUMMER AND FALL PROGRAMS

We are offering all accepted summer and fall students who withdraw due to a university travel ban the option to defer their application to a later Barcelona SAE program.

Otherwise, the standard cancellation and refund policy is in place for summer and fall.

We encourage those students who want to, to look into Cancel For Any Reason Insurance. We do not endorse any specific plan, but your students may want to research one that would work well for them. 

COMMUNICATION PLAN

We are in regular communication with all of our participants and recently sent them a reminder of the best ways to avoid the spread of the virus. 

Barcelona SAE continues to closely monitor the situation through trusted sources such as the CDC, WHO, US Department of State and APUNE (Association of Study Abroad Programs in Spain). For more information on further precautions and to view any additional updates, you can follow along on our blog here.

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. 

Rich Kurtzman | Founder & CEO 


EMAIL TO UNIVERSITY PARTNERS – FEBRUARY 26, 2020

Dear University Partners,

We wanted to follow up to outline the steps and precautions we are taking in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for ongoing and upcoming programs in Barcelona. 

At the time of this email, Barcelona SAE has no reports of any participants or staff contracting the virus. There are still only a small number of confirmed cases in Spain, and some previous patients have already recovered and have been released from the hospital. 

We are in regular communication with all of our participants and recently sent them a reminder of the best ways to avoid the spread of the virus. In addition, we have reached out to 27 students who we know traveled on their own to Italy over the past 2 weeks (thanks to our Weekend Plans Form that is required for students to complete each week) and told them that if they experience any symptoms in the next two weeks, that they should go see a doctor. The majority of our students have responded to say that they feel fine so far and we’ll continue to follow up with any that we haven’t heard from. 

Barcelona SAE continues to closely monitor the situation through trusted sources such as the CDC, WHO, US Department of State and APUNE (Association of Study Abroad Programs in Spain). For more information on further precautions and to view any additional updates, you can follow along on our blog here.

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. 

Rich Kurtzman | Founder & CEO


EMAIL TO UNIVERSITY PARTNERS – FEBRUARY 24, 2020

Dear Partners,

I hope you are doing well and the school year is running smoothly for you.

With everything going on in the world, we know that there is anxiety surrounding our everyday lives at home, but that anxiety could increase when we start thinking about going abroad. Especially with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the top of the news feed every day, tensions are high worldwide. 

I wanted to spend a minute to explain to you the precautions that Barcelona SAE is taking specifically on this issue, although currently the level of danger in Spain for the Coronavirus is very low (according to the Spanish National Security website there are no known cases of the virus in Spain at this time): 

  • Barcelona SAE maintains close contact with the U.S. Embassy and APUNE (Association of Study Abroad Programs in Spain). These two entities are closely monitoring the situation within the European context. What we hear from APUNE as of today is that “According to the latest updates from the Spanish Department of National Security, Spain remains at the lowest level of alert and is working in coordination with European counterparts.” For more information, please visit the Spanish Department of National Security – Latest Updates (Information in Spanish).
  • We have sent a message to students onsite with basic information about the virus and suggestions to follow the health precautions of the World Health Organization to protect themselves.
  • Before students arrive we ask them to register in the STEP program so they receive the latest news and warnings and we have reminded them of that. 
  • We let them know that if they have recently been to Italy that they should monitor their health for any symptoms such as a fever, cough or chest pain and they should go to the hospital that we work with in Barcelona should they have any worries. 
  • We suggest that they postpone travel to Northern Italy at the moment, and check with the US Consulate for the latest travel advice.
  • Barcelona SAE has a robust Emergency Response and Risk Management Plan that we are reviewing and running simulations with in case there is a spread to Barcelona or Catalonia. 
  • We will be adding this information to pre-departure materials for students and interns coming this fall and summer. 

At Barcelona SAE, the health and safety of our students is the number one priority. We take several measures both pre-departure and on-site to do everything we can to promote our students’ well-being, including: 

  • Comprehensive health insurance for all students with CISI.
  • Thorough pre-departure materials with a wealth of information about staying safe abroad.
  • A cultural mentor program where the staff get to know the students and the students get to know the staff, increasing comfort levels and fluid communication.
  • Our low student-to-staff ratio ensures that students have the best experience with individualized attention.
  • An online student guide with updated resources for students.
  • A contract with a top private hospital where our students get VIP treatment.
  • Mental health services and a contract with an English-speaking therapist. 
  • We have a 24/7 emergency phone available for students. The onsite staff receives regular training on health and safety to better support the participants. 
  • Our Student Care team is trained and ready to work with institutional partners and participants in the event of a crisis or emergency. We continuously monitor world events through recognized health and safety channels and on-site contacts, and meet regularly and as needed to discuss, and if necessary, act upon issues that may affect our program participants.

In addition to the internal knowledge that Barcelona SAE possesses in our team of seasoned professionals, our risk management and health, safety, and wellness guidelines are formulated using the recommendations of top organizations in our field – the Forum on Education Abroad,  NAFSA: Association of International Educators and APUNE. 

If you ever have questions about Health and Safety, we invite you to reach out to contact us.