Performing Arts Abroad uses this page for updates regarding disease outbreaks, natural disasters, political situations, and other world events that are currently affecting or could affect our programming locations and our artists who are or will be traveling there.


“Worldwide Caution” related to Israel and Palestine Conflict

Sunday, October 22, 2023
To: Current participants (all current participants are based in London)

We have been watching the tragic events unfolding in Israel and Gaza over the past two weeks carefully. We are dismayed at the level of human suffering, and the loss of life on all sides of the conflict.

The U.S. State Department recently issued a Worldwide Caution alert, encouraging U.S. citizens to: exercise increased caution, be sure you are enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and follow the Department of State on social media. Enrolling in STEP is a requirement for participation in our programs.

We are also monitoring conditions in London specifically, and have noted the increase in both anti-semitic and Islamaphobic offenses in the city since the conflict began on October 7th. We are in close communication with the University of Roehampton and our other onsite partners regarding safety and security in the city.

We encourage you to remain vigilant, and ask you to adhere by the following guidelines:

  • For the remainder of your semester, if you are leaving London for any reason, it will be mandatory to fill out this independent travel form. If you happen to have plans to travel to Israel, Palestine, or anywhere in the surrounding region, we urge you to cancel those plans.
  • Avoid commuting and traveling alone in London whenever possible. If unavoidable, be sure at least one person knows your plans and when you expect to return. Keep your phone fully charged and travel with a remote battery pack.
  • Pay attention to the local news, and avoid protests when going out, as they could turn violent.
  • Please be respectful in conversations with peers, local staff, classmates and friends if / when discussing this conflict.  Political views on this topic often can be very polarizing. The conflict in Israel and Palestine has deep roots, and can be difficult for those without ties to the region to understand.
  • Please stay in touch with your Site Director, Anna Bermani, with any concerns and for any resources regarding local security, mental health, or any other support you need.

While we do not believe there is any cause for alarm, we do take the health and safety of our participants seriously. We want to be sure you know we are monitoring the situation, and encourage you to exercise caution during this time of increased global tensions.



Performing Arts Abroad is communicating with onsite partners regarding the outbreak of COVID-19, and we are monitoring the ongoing information daily coming from the World Health Organization, U.S. State Department, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

latest update:

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
    Subject: Performing Arts Abroad program changes

The world has changed in so many ways these past few weeks. We at Performing Arts Abroad have been spending many hours every day reading articles, speaking with our onsite staff, and doing our best to assess the situation in relation to the spread of COVID-19. Due to the rapid deterioration of global health services, travel bans and border closings, mandatory quarantines, and the shutdown of businesses and social services in dozens of countries, we have decided to suspend all of our programs in every destination for Summer 2020.

In addition, we will cease most individual programming for the foreseeable future due to a lack of revenue to pay staff, rent, supplies, and other essential business expenses. Moving forward, we will focus primarily on arranging programs for groups. We will continue running the following three individual programs:

  1. West End Musical Theatre Training in London
  2. Dance Semester in London
  3. Industry Immersion Semester in the London Theatre

The semester programs above are currently scheduled to run as planned for Fall 2020. If you have applied for the West End program in London for July 2020, your enrollment will be deferred to July 2021 and all payments you have made so far will be applied to that term. If you choose to withdraw instead, we will refund you everything except the $50 application deposit.

For applicants in all other programs, we will be refunding you in full and if you would like to proceed with a program abroad in your chosen destination, either this year or in the future, we will be reaching out to you individually in the next two days with contact information for someone in your host country who can work with you directly to continue with your program if you so choose.

As you know, these are unprecedented times. While we are devastated to suspend our programs, we are also taking this time to reflect on the incredible accomplishments we’ve achieved over the last nine years. We are excited to continue the important work of organizing programs for groups going abroad, and look forward to a future time where we can rebuild our individual programs.

Thank you for your continued support of the performing arts, and we ask that you do everything in your power to help artists in need during this difficult time. Please reference these resources:

Springboard for the Arts
I Care if you Listen

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020
    Subject: Decisions being made about program cancelations

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and our summer programs draw nearer, we are considering cancelations and deferrals for some or all of our programs. We are meeting regularly with our board of directors to finalize a specific plan, and anticipate a final decision by Wednesday, April 15th at the very latest, and hopefully sooner. We will make an announcement here in this space when decisions have been made, and will also email all applicants affected by any cancelations directly.

In the meantime, we are taking the following steps in relation to our programs and applicants:

  1. All tasks in participants’ online portals that are due between now and April 15 will be extended to April 15.
  2. We are asking that no further payments for programs be made until our announcement. All payment deadlines will be extended to April 15.
  3. If you have not already done so, we recommend waiting to purchase airfare until our announcement, or if you do purchase airfare, ensure that it is a refundable fare and / or you purchase adequate trip cancelation insurance.
  4. For those who have applied for a program and not yet had an interview, we are postponing all interviews until after decisions have been made. If you’ve already scheduled an interview, we will be in touch to reschedule at that time.
  5. If you have already had your interview and are waiting on an acceptance decision, please expect a delay until we’ve finalized our cancelation / deferment decisions.
  6. If you are reading this and have not applied to a program, but were planning to apply before April 15, we are temporarily suspending applications and extending application deadlines that fell before April 15.

On Thursday, March 19th, the U.S. Department of State raised its travel warning level to its highest level “Level 4: Do Not Travel” for every country in the world. This is an unprecedented move, and means all international travel for American citizens will be discouraged by the United States government until further notice. You can read the full announcement here.

Performing Arts Abroad recognizes the seriousness of this announcement, and will be forced to cancel programs in all of our destinations if this level of travel warning persists. In its announcement, the Department of State does not give a timeline for when they plan to lower the new warning level, and we are doing further research to identify a potential end date.

While we are dismayed by the announcement, we recognize the need for serious action to slow the spread of COVID-19. We remain hopeful that some or even all of our summer programs can run, but we acknowledge that this new information makes it more likely that we may need to cancel programs. As we’ve been saying for the last few weeks, we urge all participants to purchase refundable airfare and / or trip cancelation insurance. We will announce any official cancellations here on this page, and will contact participants affected by those decisions directly.

  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020
    Subject: Europe closing borders

Performing Arts Abroad is evaluating the decision by the European Union to close the borders of 26 nations and restrict entry for all non-European citizens for 30 days, until Thursday, April 16. This move is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 within Europe. At the moment, Performing Arts Abroad is hopeful that this move will succeed in slowing the spread of the virus and lightening the burden currently placed on the healthcare systems in these countries. Our hope is that the borders will re-open and we will be able to run our summer programming as planned, with our first arrivals of the year scheduled to begin in Barcelona on Monday, May 4th. We will continue to monitor the situation and will contact accepted applicants for programs directly if cancellations become necessary.

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020
    Subject: Presidential ban on Europe travel

Performing Arts Abroad is assessing a statement made last night from the Oval Office at approximately 9:00pm ET where President Trump imposed a travel restriction to the United States from more than two dozen European countries that will go into effect this Friday, March 13th at midnight and last for 30 days until Sunday, April 12.

At the moment, Performing Arts Abroad has not canceled any programs, and our first enrollments for 2020 are scheduled to arrive on Monday, May 4 in Barcelona. We are constantly assessing the situation, and we reiterate the importance for all of our participants to purchase refundable airfare and / or trip cancelation insurance.

It is also important to note the statement posted by the Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary, Chad F. Wolf, clearly identifies that this proclamation applies to most foreign nationals and does not apply to American citizens studying abroad.

From the statement on the DHS website: “Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal U.S. permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.” The statement from the acting Secretary goes on to state that DHS intends to issue additional guidance on screening requirements within 48 hours.

Below are updates for each Schengen Area country where we run programs:

  1. Italy: currently, our partner university in Florence that supports our summer study and internship program plans to re-open on April 3rd. We are working with them to extend withdrawal deadlines so we can push back final payment deadlines for our participants this summer. Our first programs are scheduled to begin on May 17. The New York Film Academy who works with us on Acting for Film and Filmmaking programs is assessing the situation and keeping us updated. There are currently no plans to cancel programs in Italy.
  2. Spain: Our first arrivals in Barcelona will be on May 4th. We are in touch with our partners there daily and will continue to assess the situation. There are currently no plans to cancel programs in Spain.
  3. Greece: Our first arrivals in Athens are scheduled for May 29th. We are communicating with our partner university and conservatory daily and will continue to assess the situation. There are currently no plans to cancel programs in Greece.
  4. France: Our first arrivals in Paris are scheduled for June 28th. We are in touch with our onsite team and the New York Film Academy, and will continue assessing the situation. At this time, we have no plans to cancel programs in France.
  • Wednesday, March 4, 2020
    Subject: Importance of purchasing trip cancellation insurance

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a public statement encouraging U.S. institutions of higher education to “consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs.” In response, some U.S. universities have decided to institute a global travel ban through the end of the summer, meaning no students, faculty, or staff from those institutions would be able to travel outside the U.S. during this time.

Performing Arts Abroad is assessing the CDC statement, and would like to highlight the following:

  • The statement, as written, is guidance to consider. It is not a mandate or a directive. The CDC is simply asking our field of education abroad to consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs.
  • Students are not usually part of the demographic of those who may succumb to a virus like COVID-19. Those populations have so far been mostly comprised of the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
  • Unlike typical travelers, students are supported on the ground at their various study sites by Performing Arts Abroad professional staff, faculty, and others who work to ensure that students receive timely information, assistance, guidance, and help when necessary.

At this time, Performing Arts Abroad does not have plans to cancel or suspend any of its upcoming programs. If we do decide to cancel, it will be based on one of the following scenarios in relation to specific destinations where we run programs:

  1. The U.S. Department of State raises its advisory level to Level 4: “Do Not Travel”
  2. The CDC raises its alert level to Level 3: “Avoid Non-Essential Travel”
  3. The U.S. or other country governments recommend immediate departure or evacuation of all U.S. citizens.

Due to the uncertainty of the current situation, we strongly encourage all travelers to purchase refundable fares and / or trip cancelation insurance.

Performing Arts Abroad will continue to monitor the quickly-evolving situation closely, and communicate important information as we have it.

  • Monday, March 2, 2020
    Subject: Monitoring the situation in Italy

Our team is watching the situation in Italy closely. On Friday, February 28th, the U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory to a Level 3: Reconsider Travel, due to an increase in the number of new cases of the virus, especially in northern Italy. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued its travel notice for Italy, encouraging all travelers to avoid nonessential travel to the country until further notice. On Saturday, February 29th, the U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory for Italy to a Level 4: Do Not Travel, for parts of Northern Italy.

Performing Arts Abroad does not run programs in the spring term, and we have not canceled any summer programs to date. We will follow the lead of our partner universities and onsite team in Florence when making any decisions related to our programming.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am an artist who relies on making art as a significant source of income, or I know someone who is. What should I do?
A: Please see the following resources:

Q: When would Performing Arts Abroad cancel a program?
A: Performing Arts Abroad is monitoring the ongoing outbreak daily and will consider canceling programs when one or more of the following occurs:

  1. The U.S. Department of State raises its advisory level to Level 4: “Do Not Travel”
  2. The CDC raises its alert level to Level 3: “Avoid Non-Essential Travel”
  3. The U.S. or other country governments recommend immediate departure or evacuation of all U.S. citizens.

Q: What is the refund policy if a program gets canceled?
A: If Performing Arts Abroad is forced to cancel or suspend a program that has already begun, we will refund any portion of the fees that have not been used or committed, less any bank fees paid while making online payments. In these special cases, we work closely with our on-site partners to recover as many costs as possible.

Q: What is the refund policy if participants choose to withdraw from a program due to concerns about the Coronavirus?
A: Anyone choosing to withdraw from a program that has not been canceled is subject to the standard refund policy found in our Terms and Conditions.


About COVID-19

For artists struggling to make a living during the COVID-19 pandemic

Apply Now