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Independent Travel Policy

 (revised August 2022) 

Studying abroad with SIT is an intensive, immersive experience. Students should expect that most weekends will be occupied with homestay family interaction, academic work, and planned program excursions. Therefore, students who wish to engage in extensive independent travel should do so outside of the program’s defined enrollment period (typically after the program ends). During the program’s enrollment period, it is possible for students to engage in limited independent travel under the guidelines detailed below.  

Due to the ongoing pandemic, SIT may make temporary changes the standard Independent Travel Policy detailed below. To confirm the most up-to-date details of this policy, please visit our COVID-19 Risk Management Protocols page. 


Students on SIT programs can travel independently inside of their host country except in areas identified as higher risk and specifically prohibited by the program. SIT defines “independent travel” as travel that: a) occurs during the program’s defined enrollment period; b) is independently organized by a student; c) is unrelated to program activities; d) does not interfere with scheduled program activities; and e) involves an overnight stay.

Students participating in Europe-based programs may apply for independent travel to countries within the Schengen zone, as well as the U.K. and Ireland. However, the Iceland program does not allow independent travel outside of Iceland.

Independent Travel Request Form

If a student is interested in independent travel, they must complete and submit an Independent Travel Request From to their academic or program director prior to booking any travel or accommodations. This form will be provided to students once they are onsite, and it may include program-specific policies governing independent travel, such as the number of weekends during which students can travel.

The form should be submitted to the academic or program director as far in advance as possible but no later than two weeks prior to the proposed travel date. On the form, students must include details about their proposed travel, such as: 

  • modes of transportation;
  • a detailed itinerary;
  • accommodation details;
  • mobile phone contact information; and 
  • names of travel companions and their mobile phone contact information.  


Submitting the form does not imply approval for the proposed travel. Independent travel requests must be reviewed and approved by the academic or program director prior to the student traveling. The academic or program director may deny the travel request based on a number of reasons, including but not limited to the following: 

  • key COVID metrics in the location to be visited are worsening;
  • the location is deemed unsafe due to specific safety/security concerns; 
  • unmanageable logistics;
  • issues related to student conduct; and 
  • the student is not in good academic standing. 

After the request is reviewed, the student will receive confirmation that their request has either been approved or denied. If approved, the student may proceed with booking their travel. If denied, the student cannot travel to that location during the proposed time frame. In turn, they may work with local staff to propose alternative travel requests.

Even if approval is provided, SIT reserves the right to rescind that approval for any reason. In turn, if approval is rescinded, SIT will not be responsible for any forfeited travel costs (e.g. cancelled flights, lodging, etc.). Those costs will be the responsibility of the student.