Health & Safety

SIPN’s highest priority is the health and safety of our students. Below follows our Health & Safety guidelines for all SiPN’s Programs. 

SiPN's Health & Safety Protocol 2022/2023

Program Logistics, Support and Contingency Plan

Cancellation Policy

Our cancellation policy may be found here.



All SiPN Semester students live in a student residence building and are assigned single rooms with a private kitchen and bathroom, in the style of a small studio. (This measure was developed following the demands of COVID restrictions in Portugal to avoid unnecessary contact with other students living in the same facility. We have since stayed with this housing structure, finding it overall a suitable living format for semester students).

With the increase of visitors to Portugal in more recent years, housing in Lisbon poses a challenge, particularly during the summer months. For this reason, for our Summer programs, we work primarily with our main student residence but may rely on alternative housing providers depending on demand. Nevertheless, all other student housing with which we may partner for Summer programs will still meet SiPN’s base conditions of a high-quality, well-equipped, and centrally-located residence.


Health and Travel Insurance & Extra Civil Liability Insurance

All SiPN students are covered by AON Travel and Health Insurance which is tailor-made for students studying abroad. It provides coverage for everything from a stolen laptop, to lost luggage, to dental, emergency, and routine medical coverage. Additionally, all students are provided with Extra Civil Liability insurance (2 million euros total, 1 million per occurrence). This insurance package is included and required for all regular SiPN offerings (Semester/Summer).

In addition to the aforementioned insurance provided by SiPN, all students are covered by their Portuguese host university’s general required student insurance covering school-related incidences.


Access to medical and mental health resources

Portugal offers some of the best healthcare in the world. Through AON’s Travel and Health Insurance, students have access to both private and public health facilities across the country. Some of SiPN’s university partners conveniently have medical clinics on campus as well.

Students’ AON insurance also includes access to mental health resources, such as being seen by a psychologist. Additionally, the universities within SiPN’s network have similar resources available such as psychological counseling.


General requirements for students

As a Portuguese-based organization, SiPN follows the instructions of the Portuguese Directorate-General of Health and other national governmental entities. When in country, students are required to follow these instructions and laws. Prior to arrival, students are also asked to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Besides the support of SiPN’s  network and partnership with local services, prior to arrival and upon arrival, students are provided with:

  • SiPN’s 24/7 emergency contact number
  • Information about using 112, which is Portugal’s equivalent to 911
  • A local medical FAQ guideline packet
  • A local mental health resource packet
  • A SiPN Travel Form, where students are to register any non-SiPN related travel out of Lisbon
  • Housing policies, including residential safety guidelines (provided by the student residence staff)

SiPN also has the institutional backing of the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD), a highly-regarded and well-resourced Portuguese foundation in operation since 1985. This support provides direct access and strong institutional linkages between governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout the country, including the U.S. Embassy in Portugal, located in Lisbon.

The U.S. Embassy in Portugal, a partner since SiPN’s inception, is directly engaged with SiPN’s overall operation, namely with matters regarding student safety. Every semester, SiPN pays the Embassy a visit with students to continue fostering these connections and knowledge about issues concerning safety, as well as larger bilateral relationships between the two countries.



All SiPN providers are required to prove their legal status, including insurance packages, reflecting compliance with criteria required by Portuguese and European Union law.


Although day-to-day conditions following major COVID-19 restrictions in Portugal are stable and back to a routine basis,  we are still attentive to any developments and following the instruction of the Portuguese Directorate-General of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that as a result of the pandemic, SiPN made structural changes to effectively avoid or address future COVID-related occurrences:

  • SiPN has since opted for providing single studios for students during their Semester programs (and Summer programs, when possible) to avoid unnecessary contact with other students and facilities
  • Partner universities have adapted to offering remote access where necessary.
  • SiPN’s comprehensive student health insurance provided by AON also covers medical expenses related to COVID-19, including in the case of medical repatriation (if the student cannot receive appropriate treatment in the host country – this is determined by a medical advisor) as well as for travel and stay expenses for your parents in case your situation becomes life-threatening.

We continue to monitor pandemic-related happenings at the local and global levels and update our students, partners, and communications accordingly.