【Important】University Policy Regarding the Study Abroad(Overseas Travels after May 8, 2023)

Dear Sophia students,

Sophia University regards the safety of our students our utmost importance and requires the Overseas Travel Safety/Infection Alert Level set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) to be Level 1 or lower for conducting outbound study abroad programs requiring physical travel including self-arranged study abroad.

For countries/areas with the Infection Alert Level 2 or higher, it is still difficult to permit study abroad in conformity with the principle above. On the other hand, the environment for study abroad has improved with better access, and the shift towards returning to normal living conditions is seen in many countries. The University has been permitting students to study abroad where possible through individual screening since the Autumn semester of 2022.

In accordance with the transition of the COVID 19 to Category 5 on and after May 8, 2023, Sophia has decided to have the guideline for students’ travel abroad as below.

Please also note that the MOFA Safety Alert Level must be Level 1 or lower regardless of the Infection Alert Level and any overseas travel to countries/areas with Safety Level 2 or higher will not be permitted.

Students must follow the instructions as indicated in 1. and 2. below for all following travels:

a. University-sponsored programs such as, short-term programs and internship courses offered by the Center for Global Education and Discovery
b. University Exchange Program, German-Japanese departmental exchange program
c. Self-arranged study abroad which requires submission of 留学願 (Request for Study Abroad) or
休学願 (Request for a Leave of Absence)
d. Overseas travel for educational and research purposes such as participation in academic conferences, fieldwork, visiting research institutions, internship courses not offered by the University, seminar camps, etc.
e. Short-term overseas travel including extracurricular activities that require notification to the University

Please note that individual conditions may be set depending on the destination of the program, thus please make sure to check the details on the application procedure.

1. Overseas travel that do not require the Special Screening

Travel to countries/areas where the Overseas Travel Infection Alert Level set by the MOFA: Level 1 or lower

(1) Submission of the Self-Check Sheet
(Make sure to check Loyola Download Center for the provided form.)

If you are planning to travel abroad without applying to the Special Screening, make sure to check and complete the items on the Self-Check Sheet (for programs sponsored by the University, designated Pledge and other required documents) and attach it when submitting the 留学願 (Request for Study Abroad) or 休学願 (Request for a Leave of Absence) etc. to the University as proof that you have understood and prepared well for overseas travel. Please be careful that you will need to apply for a special screening if the level of your destination is raised before the start of your travel, even if you have already submitted the required documents. Furthermore, please note that the permission of your travel will be canceled in case any violation on the matters your pledge stated in the documents.

(2) Things to keep in mind

Please keep in mind of the following points, and make sure to understand the current risks and your own situation in advance. Also, please make adequate preparations before departure taking into consideration the timing, destination, and activities at the destination for studying and traveling abroad.

  1. Overseas travel poses risks not associated with living in Japan, and therefore requires additional risk management measures.
  2. In some areas, the medical situation is severe, or the social situation may be unstable. Therefore, checking the local situation and analyzing/considering the risks and measures in advance is essential.
  3. It is essential to be attentive and take measures to reduce risks in terms of both infection and safety during study abroad.
  4. There is a risk that you will have to change your return schedule due to infection, or the scheduled flight cancellation.
  5. The University will not make any special treatment/exceptions for classes at Sophia due to travel abroad or delay in returning to Japan.
  6. Based on the points above, utilize a Self-Check Sheet for Overseas Travel available from the University, and make a careful evaluation by considering if you are adequately prepared and ready to accept the risks.

2. Overseas travel which requires permission by the Special Screening

Travel to countries/areas where the Overseas Travel Infection Alert Level set by the MOFA: Level 2 or higher

【Main conditions for Special Screening】

– There are no restrictions (visa issuance for travel, etc.) for entering and staying in the destination country/area from Japan.

– The student is physically and mentally fit to study abroad and took the necessary preparations and measures for travel including vaccinations.

– The student understands the risks of staying abroad including the cost burden and has considered enough about risk management measures. Also, the student should make efforts to avoid risks and problems during traveling.

– The student is required to purchase the overseas travel insurance and crisis management support designated by the University. The student agrees as well to update contact information, destination information, and travel itinerary during travel aboard through the specified website or application.

– The student agrees to follow the University’s requests and orders, such as returning to Japan.

For further information on how to apply for the Special Screening or for the form “Self Check Sheet”, please refer to Loyola.