Penn Global Seminars COVID Travel Information

Penn Abroad is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of the Penn students, faculty, and our international partners. The Penn Global Seminars team works closely with resources like the Office of Risk Management, International SOS, our local contacts onsite overseas, and our many campus partners. With these partners, we thoroughly review and vet programs, put contingency plans in place, and anticipate and mitigate student risk abroad.

Students and families are asked to review the information on this page for travel requirements and health and safety information specific to Penn Global Seminars. This information will help your prepare for the PGS travel component as we continue to adjust and grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. We also encourage students to review our general Health & Safety information for advice and additional information.

Fall 2021: Travel to Ecuador
Preparations & Requirements

Penn Abroad will notify students of the travel requirements prior to departure and we ask students check email frequently throughout the Fall 2021 semester and while on winter break. Should any action be required, we ask that students respond accordingly within 48 hours. Students are also encouraged to check the U.S. Department of State’s International page for additional information.

Current information and requirements are as follows:

  • To enter the Galapagos, travelers must provide a vaccine certificate and a negative PCR test. This test will be arranged by Penn Abroad upon arrival into Ecuador.  All travelers must complete a COVID-19 PCR-RT test 72 hours prior to boarding the group flight to Miami. Students should schedule their test with this timeframe in mind as well as be aware of the possible delays with testing around the New Year holiday. 

  • For any Penn-affiliated travel occurring after May 18, 2021, including all participants in Fall 2021 study abroad programs, COVID-19 vaccinations are required. Travelers must be fully vaccinated prior to departure. The timeframe to be considered fully vaccinated is two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) or two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (such as Pfizer or Moderna). Because the country of Ecuador requires proof of vaccination for entry into the Galapagos, students will be asked to upload a copy of their vaccination certificate in PASSPORT prior to departure.  

  • As of September 2021, visitors are not required to quarantine upon arrival in Ecuador. Should this change and quarantine measures are reinstated, Penn Abroad will suspend the travel component. 

Support & Safety Abroad

COVID-19 risk is mitigated due to the entry requirements imposed by the government of Ecuador, all participants, including faculty, staff, students, and local partners, will be vaccinated against COVID-19. Universal vaccination will drastically reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during travel.

Additional steps and support while abroad include:

  • Should a student produce any symptoms of COVID-19, Penn Abroad will provide self-administered COVID-19 tests and assist the student with seeking medical help, if necessary. 

  • Students, faculty, and staff on Penn-affiliated trips abroad are also entitled to International SOS membership. International SOS is available 24/7 for medical and security consultation, doctor and hospital referrals, guarantee of payment of medical bills, and emergency evacuation assistance. 

  • The students will be accompanied by the faculty leader and a staff leader who have both participated in a PGS trip leader training. Please note that there will be limited access to Wi-Fi, cell service, and data during many portions of the trip. The trip leader will be carrying a satellite phone for emergency purposes. 

Penn Abroad will monitor the health, safety, and security of program participants during the travel component and will be prepared to respond to any COVID-19-related emergencies as needed. 

Travel Cancelation

If Penn Abroad determines that travel is no longer safe or feasible, the travel component of this Penn Global Seminar may be suspended. In the case of travel suspension, Penn Abroad will inform program participants in writing and provide them with an alternate assessment so that the course can be completed without travel. 

Students will be refunded the full amount of the PGS program fee. Additional expenses, such as costs related to travel to Philadelphia prior to the program’s departure, PCR testing before departure, and visa fees will not be refunded.  

  • As of September 2021, Ecuador has a CDC travel advisory of a level 3. Based upon CTRA’s guidelines, Penn Abroad will petition for the program in mid-October and participants will be updated of the program’s approval status by mid-November. For more details, please visit Penn’s COVID-19-Related Travel Guidelines and Procedures site. 

Students must alert Penn Abroad immediately if they are no longer able to travel. A refund of the PGS program fee would be determined at the discretion of Penn Abroad.