University Policy Regarding the Study Aboard (Update)
February 19, 2021
Dear Sophia students,
Sophia University is currently suspending all overseas study abroad programs, and for upcoming programs, the University decided to offer online programs only – suspending face-to-face Short-term Study Aboard programs and all outbound student exchange programs requiring physical travel are also suspended for the academic year 2020 as well as for the Spring semester 2021. Whether the future programs will be offered face-to-face or online is undecided.
The decision was made in accordance with the policy of Government of Japan, following the Overseas Travel/infection Alert set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA). While our general standard for permitting overseas study abroad is Level 1 or below, at this moment the infection alert level remains at Level 2 or above globally.
Furthermore, travel restrictions continue to be implemented in Japan and other countries, as we see the infection rates rising in some countries/areas, uncertainty remains for physical travel across borders, including student study abroad.
When the vaccines and effective medications are developed in addition to the necessary medical systems, students may be able to study abroad and travel without worries and concerns, but unfortunately we have not reached that stage yet.
Therefore, Sophia University continues to prohibit international travels of our students to the countries/regions categorized by the MOFA Overseas Travel/infection Alert as Level 2 or above.
In the future, if the MOFA eases both alert levels for Overseas Travel and Overseas Infection to Level 1 or below for the planned study abroad destination, students may consider going abroad in the framework of the "General Study Abroad Program" or "Study Abroad during the Leave of Absence" (self-arranged study abroad). However, ALL of the following requirements must be met by one of the earlier date of the two; 1) one month prior to the scheduled departure date, or 2) by the deadline to submit the Request of Study Abroad / Leave of Absence. The student must also consult and gain permission from the Faculty or Graduate School.
- Both the MOFA Overseas Travel/infection alert levels of the destination country/region are at Level 1 or below.
- There are no restrictions (visa issuance for travel, etc) for entering and staying in the destination country/region when one travels from Japan.
- Have reliable host institution at the destination, while making sure the institution is fully aware and has officially accepted the hosting during the program.
- Purchase overseas travel insurance and crisis management support designated by the University.
- Agree to update contact information, destination information, and travel itinerary during travel aboard through the University designated website or application.
- Agree to follow the University's requests to return to Japan, whenever necessary.
In the case of novel coronavirus pandemic, additional wave of infections are observed in the areas where activity restrictions have once been lifted. Depending on the upcoming situation, the countries/regions with travel/infection alert Level 1 or below may again be raised to Level 2 or above, in which case the University may request you to return home.
There is also a possibility that the University changes the policy and prohibits travels to the countries/regions even if categorized by the MOFA Overseas Travel/infection Alert Levels as Level 1 or below.
Therefore, the University strongly advises you to cancel non-urgent overseas travels, even to the countries/regions categorized by the MOFA Overseas Travel/infection alerts as Level 1 or below for the time being.