April 15, 2021
Dear parents and students,
Together with all of you we continue to monitor the situation in Europe and the world on a daily basis. We are receiving many inquiries from parents and students who are eager to participate in our study abroad programs and return to normalcy, especially after the year we have left behind us. Despite the recent surge in numbers and the current travel restrictions, there are some indications that the situation may improve by this summer and Europe may open its doors for foreign visitors.
Much will depend on how quickly and effectively the vaccination process advances in Europe and the United States. European governments are racing to achieve a 70% vaccination rate by this summer while the United States authorities announced that all adult Americans have access to a vaccine as of now. It remains to be seen how this will affect young Americans and the prospects for international travel.
Some European countries are opening their borders for vaccinated visitors or visitors from countries with high vaccination rates, some others (e.g. Greece and Spain) are planning to do so by this summer. Spain’s tourism minister announced that his country will be open for foreign visitors later in the spring when it reaches the vaccination rate of 30-40%. The Greek government announced that foreign visitors with negative tests results or full vaccination records will be allowed to come starting in May, 2021. A new standard for international travel is forming with 72-hour pre-departure Covid tests and, possibly, vaccination passports becoming the new norm.
We continue to closely monitor this situation, proceed with our normal program planning and prepare for various contingencies. In the event that international travel remains restricted, every European program will now have an alternate U.S. or Canadian location. Should Europe remain closed this summer, the students and staff will be transferred to alternate American or Canadian campuses, such as the “Euro Village” program in Quebec, Canada, or Portland, Maine; “Latin Village” program in Miami, Florida; Hawaiian Adventure program in Honolulu, Hawaii, or the California Adventure program in Santa Barbara, California.
We are receiving many questions from parents and students who are eager to plan their summer. For your information, here are some of the most common ones. Please contact us at any time with any additional questions or requests you may have.
Are you planning to run your 2021 summer programs? What if the pandemic and travel restrictions continue through the summer of 2021?
At present, we continue with our normal summer planning and we expect to run our 2021 programs as usual. We hope that the vaccination process will continue through the first half of 2021 and make it possible for international travel to resume by next summer. Should any unforeseen events delay this process, we will promptly notify our families and offer either alternative domestic options or credit for next summer.
Do you recommend purchasing travel insurance such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, and medical coverage? Will it cover cancellations for Covid-related reasons, medical issues, accidents, or other contingencies?
We have thoroughly researched many travel insurance policies and we will gladly share our findings with you. These policies include trip cancellation for any reason, trip interruption, and medical evacuation insurance, as well as a 24/7 emergency assistance service. These insurance policies will help you manage the risks and cover you in the event that you have to cancel or interrupt your trip, require medical attention or evacuation, experience an accident, luggage delay or loss, and many other contingencies. If the Covid-19 pandemic continues they will cover your program fee, airfare, and other trip expenses should you need to cancel your trip because of medical issues, covered reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic, or other contingencies (subject to policy conditions). For details, please email us at [email protected], call us at 888-462-2239 or “chat” with us online at any time.
If the pandemic continues and if I need to cancel for this summer will I be able to get a refund? Is there a deadline for canceling with a refund?
In the unlikely event that the pandemic continues through the summer, you will have several options: to transfer to a domestic destination, receive credit for next summer, or a partial refund. Email or call us for details.
Will you follow any particular safety rules/protocol next summer? Will you require or recommend vaccinations and Covid-19 tests?
We will abide by the CDC Travel Guidelines and Guidelines for Summer Programs. We will keep our families updated on a regular basis and work together to devise the optimal safety protocol for our students and staff. It is possible that pre-departure tests, social distancing and masks will be required during foreign travel. It is not yet clear if this will include mandatory vaccinations.
If you are not yet sure about your summer plans but would like us to keep you posted regarding our enrollment, summer preparations, travel and safety conditions and related issues, please put your name and email on our Contact List (we do not spam and it’s obligation-free). That way we will keep you updated and share some helpful information as we get closer to the summer.
What if I decide to switch from a European program to one in the United States or Canada? What options do you have for those who prefer to stay closer to home?
If at any point you decide to switch to a domestic program and stay closer to home, we will transfer your application and apply your payments to any domestic program of your choice, without any additional fees. You may want to consider the Euro Village program in Quebec, Canada; the Pre-College Enrichment and College Experience programs in Boston, Massachusetts; the Latin Village program in Miami, Florida; the Hawaiian Adventure program in Honolulu, Hawaii; and the California Adventure program in Santa Barbara, California.
In order to be prepared for any contingency, we have developed three scenarios that may happen this summer.
GREEN: The vaccination process continues as planned, European countries and Canada open their borders, and international travel becomes possible once again, allowing us to run all our programs in Europe, US, and Canada as usual.
YELLOW: Some European countries and/or Canada open their borders, and some other destinations remain closed. International travel becomes possible, with certain restrictions. In this case, we will run the programs in the U.S. and those destinations that remain open. Students from other programs will have the option to transfer to a program that will be offered or get travel credit for next summer.
ORANGE: European and Canadian destinations remain closed and international travel is not recommended. In this case, we will run our domestic programs in the U.S. following our special safety rules and the CDC guidelines, and keep our students as safe as possible. Students who have signed up for overseas programs will have the option to either transfer to a domestic program or get credit for next summer. Our “Euro Village” programs in the U.S. will have native-speaking European staff members who will help us recreate the European cultural ambiance as much as possible.