Go Global student FAQ during COVID-19

Programming update

In March 2020, UBC made the difficult decision to cancel all student international travel for university purposes due to COVID-19. After careful consideration, UBC has extended this cancellation until December 31, 2021.

International travel to participate in in-person programs will not be supported. Go Global will continue to offer virtual programs and work with students who wish to explore in-person programming in their home country (where international travel is not required). 

This decision follows guidelines outlined in UBC’s Student Safety Abroad Policy and is in line with the current advice of British Columbia's Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) and Global Affairs Canada

Go Global actively works one-on-one with students affected by program cancellations. UBC will continue to monitor the situation and government directives as they evolve, sharing any updates on student international travel.

Last updated on Jan 21, 2021 at 1:50 pm PDT

Frequently Asked Questions

Inbound students

Visiting International Research Students (VIRS)

Outbound Students

Last updated on Aug 31, 2021 at 1:55 pm PDT

If UBC cancels Term 2 exchange (January – April 2021), can I defer my exchange to another term?

Unfortunately, you cannot defer your exchange to another term. If you would like to study at UBC on exchange in our next academic year (September 2021 – April 2022), please inquire with your home university exchange office. They will need to nominate you again and you will need to re-apply.

If UBC cancels Term 2 exchange (January – April 2022), can I study virtually?

If term-based exchange gets cancelled, students will not be able to study virtually through the exchange program. However, students coming through other visiting student pathways (e.g., non-degree, Tec-UBC Joint Academic Program) can study virtually.

When will UBC make the call to cancel programs?

UBC has made the difficult decision to cancel Term 2 (January - April 2021) exchange programs.

If UBC cancels Term 2 (January – April 2022) in-person exchange and I have already paid my student fees (iMED health insurance and U-Pass), am I eligible for a refund?

Yes, once you are withdrawn from the UBC exchange program, your student fees for iMED health insurance and U-Pass will be refunded to the credit card you used to pay them. The refund may take up to 2 weeks to process.

When will the VIRS program re-open for new applications?

Go Global re-opened the VIRS program for new applications in December 2020.  You can apply directly on our website.

What if I was accepted to the VIRS program before the program was cancelled, can I still attend UBC?

The government of Canada has travel restrictions for students entering Canada please refer to the International Student Advising website for ‘Travelling to Canada during COVID-19 Guide’ and the FAQs for International Students in response to COVID-19 and contact go.global@ubc.ca to discuss your specific case.

If you do have a valid study permit, please make sure you consult with Go Global and your UBC Supervisor to ensure they are still able to host students at this time. Alternatively, your supervisor may agree to allow you to conduct your research remotely from your home institution.

Can I defer my VIRS experience?

Yes, you can defer your VIRS experience to a later date as long as this is agreed upon by your UBC and home supervisor. Please email Go Global of your intention to defer your research start date so that your record with Go Global can be updated.

If I cancel my VIRS experience, will I get a refund for the VIRS fee? What about the iMED fee?

Yes, the VIRS fee can be refunded if you have never been able to start your scheduled research activity due to COVID- 19. As for the iMED fee, if you have no claims to your iMED and have not arrived in Canada, Go Globalcan request a refund from the insurance provider, David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS). With DCIS’ approval, Go Global will arrange the refund. The iMED fee will be refunded to the credit card you used to pay the fee. The refund may take up to 2 weeks to process. 

What happens if my Go Global experience gets cancelled due to COVID-19?

Should your Go Global program be cancelled due to the pandemic, you will be notified in time to make alternate arrangements. You will be offered a refund on the Go Global fee that you paid. If you would like to consider a future Go Global program, applications for 2021/2022 programs begin in October 2020.

When will UBC make the call to cancel programs? 

UBC understands the value and impact international programs can have on a students’ academic experience. The university also acknowledges the unpredictable nature of planning international programs during a global pandemic.

The decision to cancel programs doesn’t follow a strict timeline, but relies on ongoing monitoring of the possibility of travel while considering the impact of a cancellation on students’ academic plans. 

If a cancellation is required, Go Global will share information and options with students as early as possible to allow time for making alternate plans.

How does UBC make decisions around cancelling programs?

The health and safety of UBC students is at the core of any decision made to cancel student travel internationally. The decision to cancel international travel for students is guided by procedures outlined in the Student Safety Abroad Policy. This policy ensures UBC has a set of guidelines that facilitate safe international travel for students. 

UBC does not authorize student travel for university purposes to any destination that has a Global Affairs Canada risk advisory directing travellers to either “avoid non-essential travel” or “avoid all travel”. In addition to the guidance offered by Global Affairs Canada, UBC considers reliable sources like the BC CDC, International SOS and the World Health Organization. These sources offer information about international border closures and travel recommendations associated with preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

The decision to cancel outbound international travel for students is approved by the Office of the Provost and Vice President Academic based on recommendations offered by the Vice Provost International Office. Go Global follows all decisions approved by UBC and contacts affected students as soon as information is available.

Can I defer my experience to another program year?

 Deferrals are not being offered for Go Global programs. If your program is cancelled by UBC, you will be offered a full refund on the Go Global fee you have paid for your program, referred to resources to support your next steps, and invited to apply for alternate Go Global programs where available. 

Who should I contact if I have questions about my academic plans, financial support, housing, wellbeing?

Navigating student life can be challenging, especially during a global pandemic. If you’ve been affected by a program cancellation and have questions about your academic plans or financial support, see what student support and resources are available to help with your transition. 

Last updated on Aug 31, 2021 at 1:55 pm PDT


If you have questions

In-person and Virtual Drop-in advising hours

  • Tuesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Go Global offers both in-person and virtual drop-in advising through Zoom during the times listed above.

Related COVID-19 resources