Last update: April 23, 2022
DIS is ready to offer you a pandemic-resilient study abroad experience in Scandinavia! We have been running programs abroad throughout the pandemic, so our staff and faculty are prepared to adjust as necessary to the changing conditions that COVID-19 brings. We ask that you also plan to be flexible, prepare for changing conditions, and bring your own resilience as we work together to create a wonderful experience for you.
We hope you will find these responses to frequently asked questions useful and contact us at DIS@DISabroad.org or 800-247-3477 if you would like to know more. In case we need to make any modifications to your semester or summer abroad, we will update this page and notify enrolled students via email and at orientation before you depart.
DIS Planning for Your Pandemic-Resilient Study Abroad
Does DIS still plan to run summer and fall 2022 programs? When will you decide for sure?
Yes! Our spring 2022 semester is underway and fully in person, and we are planning the same for summer and fall. DIS faculty and staff have gained a great deal of experience hosting students abroad over the past few semesters, scaling up and down our mitigation efforts based on local public health guidelines as each chapter of the pandemic has brought a new ‘normal.’ Our students are supported by local staff and faculty, with reliable access to top-notch health care, should they need it.
We do not have a go/no-go date for deciding whether to run. We are committed to offering pandemic-resilient programs and will be in touch with students in case any elements of your time abroad will need to change; read on for more information and don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.
Will my time at DIS look different due to COVID-19?
Maybe. Life at DIS today looks very much like our pre-COVID-19 ‘normal’, but as we cannot predict how the months ahead will unfold, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Classes have been in person since the late spring of 2021, but we are ready to move to a remote learning format should it be necessary as a result of local public health guidance.
- We follow all local regulations and public health guidance related to social distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing, gathering limits, etc. See below for more details on how things look today in Scandinavia.
- Study Tours bring DIS students across Europe, but we have robust experience re-envisioning them to take place only in Denmark or Sweden if another wave of the pandemic dictates it. Study Tour destinations are considered based on several factors including official Danish and Swedish travel recommendations, vaccination rates, and local infrastructure. We do not automatically move or cancel Study Tours due to U.S. State Department and CDC Alert levels though we will consider this information as part of the entire picture.
- We allow independent international travel, if allowed by your home university – but due to shifting border policies across Europe, please wait until after your arrival in Denmark or Sweden to book any personal international travel. Students will be responsible for monitoring the conditions and border policies of their destinations as well as requirements for re-entry to Denmark/Sweden; assuming the risks associated with independent travel;, and notifying DIS of their travel plans. Read more about Independent Travel here.
- For Summer Sessions 2022 and Fall Semester 2022: While we are confident that we will be able to run a full and robust program, DIS has a flexible cancellation policy so you can cancel at any time before Arrival Day with no financial penalty – we’ll refund all tuition and fees paid to DIS, including your deposit.
Any further changes will be based on COVID-19 developments in Scandinavia and across Europe in the coming months. DIS has been hosting students throughout COVID-19 and has experience with de–densification of housing and classrooms, gathering limits, testing requirements, remote instruction, proof of vaccination/testing policies, masking and social distancing protocols, as well as navigating various border policies across Europe.
Life in Copenhagen and Stockholm Today
Denmark and Sweden have taken very different approaches to the pandemic, but they have several things in common:
- a high degree of compliance with local restrictions;
- high vaccination rates and rapid booster roll-out thanks to broad vaccine availability combined with very low vaccine hesitancy;
- strong trust in authorities implementing restrictions based on science and the advice of public health experts;
- and robust and accessible health care systems.
Denmark and Sweden have been scaling up and down restrictions throughout the pandemic, based on local conditions. Both countries lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in early February 2022, thanks to very high vaccination rates and the relative mildness of the Omicron variant.
DIS will continue to follow all local guidance as it is announced. Students are asked to test regularly, stay home when ill, notify close contacts, and stay in touch with DIS so that we can support them through any necessary isolation (including housing and food delivery if needed, at no additional cost.)
Check out these pages published by local public health authorities for the latest updates:
What does student social life look like today?
Our students in Stockholm and Copenhagen these days are spending long days exploring the city, taking Field Studies to local businesses, cooking dinners together, checking out museums and playing soccer in the parks, enjoying countless espressos and hot chocolates, going on hikes, taking selfies at the Little Mermaid or Gamla Stan, walking and biking cobblestoned streets to see castles and find their favorite wienerbrød or kanelbullar. Follow their adventures on the DIS Student Blogs for Copenhagen and Stockholm.
Students can count on more details, resources, and recommendations for connecting with local communities in the online pre-departure course, at orientation, and upon arrival.
What about vaccination?
Scandinavia’s robust health care systems and high level of trust in health authorities mean that a large majority of the population in Denmark and Sweden are fully vaccinated. Over 99% of current DIS students are vaccinated.
Booster shots are available in Denmark and Sweden, but DIS strongly recommends all students be vaccinated and boosted prior to travel.
Preparing to Travel
Today, vaccinated travelers can enter Denmark without quarantine.Use Denmark’s Coronavirus response page for more specific guidance as your time abroad approaches.
Most vaccinated travelers can enter Sweden without quarantine, but unvaccinated travelers should expect additional documentation and/or quarantine requirements; DIS will provide more information as your departure nears. You can learn more by visiting the Swedish Police Authority website.
Be mindful of additional testing or transit requirements for your airline or layover countries, and remember that these restrictions may continue to change. You can always check detailed regulations for Denmark or Sweden, and you’ll receive updated guidance from DIS at your Pre-Departure Orientations and via email from DIS to enrolled students.
Should I talk to my doctor about traveling during COVID-19?
Yes. If you have underlying health conditions that might put you at higher risk for infection or serious complications of COVID-19, talk with your doctor to decide if travel is advisable at this time and, if it is, how to manage your health abroad. Consult your healthcare providers to ensure you can bring any medication you’ll need, and to address any health concerns. Be sure you are up to date on all routine vaccines including the seasonal flu shot, and get your COVID-19 vaccination and booster if you have not already done so!
If you have any questions about health support or accommodations available at DIS, please reach out to us.
Does DIS have any recommendations for arranging travel to Scandinavia?
Start to explore flight options and airline cancellation and change policies in order to make a judgement about when feels like the best time for you to book your flight. In your research, take time to also review travel insurance options, and the airline’s protocols on COVID-19. DIS recommends waiting to book your flight until within a few months of your departure for Scandinavia, just in case your plans change.
When the time comes, here are a few other recommendations:
- Purchase your flight directly from your airline of choice or a trusted travel agent. This will allow you to work directly with the airline/agent in case of any changes. Past students have had trouble with re-booking or refunds when using a third-party booking site.
- Students should plan to arrive between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on your Arrival Day. See our semester calendars for Copenhagen or Stockholm, or our Summer calendar for details. If you are unable to arrive on your Arrival Day, book a flight that arrives before, not after Arrival Day. You’ll need to cover your own accommodation and local transportation before Arrival Day, but we will share detailed guidance with early-arriving students via email before your departure.
- Opt for as few layovers, in as few countries, and on as few airlines as possible. Check COVID-19 requirements for any connection cities, and check back closer to your departure to be sure you are prepared to meet any testing or other transit requirements.
- Book a round trip flight. Students could be held up by gate agents or border control if you cannot show confirmed plans to depart Denmark/Sweden. Please keep in mind you must check out of your housing by 12:00 p.m. on your Last Day of Housing (see calendars linked above for details).
- Submit your flight information to DIS in Registration, so we can plan for your arrival!
After Arrival in Scandinavia
Can I have visitors from the U.S. while I’m at DIS?
What if I, or someone else at DIS, tests positive for COVID-19?
Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been identified as a ‘close contact’ based on local public health guidance, will be fully supported through any necessary testing and isolation or quarantine at no cost to the student, including academic support and continuation of coursework from a distance. If students become ill, DIS will help with seeking medical treatment; testing and medical care will be reimbursed through DIS insurance per the policy details.
What will be required of me to be successful abroad during COVID-19?
Flexibility: As in the U.S., conditions and recommendations are still changing in relation to COVID-19. Just like on your home campus, DIS will need to respond by adjusting recommended protocols, class schedules, field study or study tour destinations, etc., sometimes with very little notice. Please prepare to be flexible. At some point you may need to stay home for a period due to illness, exposure, or a community lockdown; DIS is prepared to support you through any of these scenarios.
Respect: You may find Scandinavian approaches to COVID-19 different from those at home. Take the opportunity to learn and ask questions while remembering to approach your local community with grace and respect.
Compliance: Any measures implemented to protect you and the community from COVID-19 are only effective if they are followed by everyone. Laws and public health guidelines may be updated at any time – and whether you assess them to be effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, DIS will require all students to comply with all local guidance. This may include monitoring temperatures, hand washing, mask wearing, sanitizing, social distancing, and cooperation with recommended COVID-19 testing and contact tracing processes. Failure to comply with these rules and precautions is a violation of the DIS Code of Student Responsibility – but more importantly, we ask students to comply for the benefit of the community, even when no one is watching.