Students must take into consideration many factors that could influence their decision to study abroad, including individual risk tolerance. Students’ participation on a study abroad program remains optional, and the CGE recommends that all students seek out any information related to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in host countries prior to applying for, accepting a place in, and going on their study abroad program.

Helpful resources to consult include the Department of State Travel Advisories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diversity Abroad’s Travel Culture & Diversity Destination Guides, news reports about your country of destination, and many others.

Please visit the CGE’s Health and Safety page to learn more about steps students should take prior to studying abroad.

Israel/Gaza Conflict

Update 10/20/2023

The U.S. State Department has updated it's travel advisories to worldwide caution due to increased tensions in various locations around the world. Please stay alery while traveling abraod, especially when using mass transportation, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings if possible. Please continue to follow the State Department's travel advisories for the most up-to-date information, and make sure to keep the phone number and location of the nearest U.S. Embassy readily available.

Here are some other resources while you travel:

  • U.S. State Department emergency phone number for citizens abroad: +1 202-501-4444
  • JMU Police non-emergency number: 540-568-6912
  • Contact if you have any questions or need guidance while travelling.

We are deeply concerned by the outbreak of violence in Israel/Gaza, and student safety is the number one priority for The Center for Global Engagement. We are keeping track of the conflict and watching for new travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State that may affect student travel. At this time, we do not anticipate additional safety concerns for our program locations during the current term, and we plan on running all programs as scheduled. The CGE routinely consults with our international partners and other national organizations like NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad to inform our decisions. However, since the conflict is still ongoing, CGE will continue to monitor the situation and notify students of any new travel concerns as soon as possible. We also encourage students traveling abroad to remain vigilant, exercise caution, and pay attention to official sources for new warnings and advisories.

Read JMU's statement on the Israel/Gaza conflict.

War in Ukraine

The Center for Global Engagement is closely monitoring the evolving situation in Ukraine. Student safety is our number one priority, and so due to the conflict, the CGE cancelled the Russian in Moscow study abroad program for summer 2022. At this time, we do not foresee additional safety concerns for our other program locations for our current and upcoming terms, and we anticipate running programs as scheduled. The CGE will continue to consult the Department of State Travel Advisories, as well as seek guidance from other partners within education abroad including external affiliates (CIEE, for example), national organizations like NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad, and our international partners. Should the situation change, the CGE will notify students of travel concerns as soon as possible.

Read more about JMU’s statement in response to the Ukraine crisis.


The health and safety of our students, faculty leaders, and partners abroad remains our top priority. The Center for Global Engagement will continue to monitor public health advisories, travel regulations, and guidance from fellow institutions surrounding COVID-19 and international travel.

Beginning Fall 2022, JMU is no longer mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for students studying abroad, although they are recommended.

However, please be aware that restrictions and requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic can vary drastically between countries, with educational partners, travel providers, and others involved in the many aspects of study abroad. Countries, educational partners, travel providers, or others may require confirmation or documentation of COVID-19 vaccination, and it may be necessary to demonstrate full vaccination against COVID-19 to enter a country or access various sites and services during a study abroad program. It is the student's responsibility to research and know the vaccination and testing requirements of their destination(s) and activities. In the current environment, country entry requirements continue to change quickly and sometimes without notice.

JMU strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all individuals traveling abroad. If a student is not permitted to enter the host country or fully participate in the program due to failure to comply with COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or documentation requirements, any resultant costs or academic consequences will be the student's sole responsibility.  By participating in a study abroad program, students understand that the host countries, airlines, providers, institutions, buildings and physical spaces, experiences, housing, or any other location or service may require proof of vaccination status at any time, and the student agrees to provide such COVID-19 vaccination documentation if requested or follow protocols required if they can’t.

If it has been more than six months since their single dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine or their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the JMU Study Abroad Office recommends getting a booster prior to departure. 
Students should not rely on being able to get booster shots abroad as this is far from certain in most cases.

Passport Requirements

Current passport processing times continue to be delayed, so please allow yourself ample time to submit your passport application. Please also check that your passport will be valid at least 6 months after the end of your program.

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