Accountability and Mindfulness to Our Global Community
As COVID-19 quickly changed our lives and the lives of our overseas partners, it also strengthened our resolve to support one another, be mindful of our global impact and embrace our Traveling School community. The Traveling School is monitoring the spread of CV-19 and the international climate, collaborating with peer organizations, following the advice of public health experts and prioritizing decisions with our students, faculty and international partners in mind. Call our office to discuss questions or check for an update on our international community partners. We’re in this pandemic together.
Is The Traveling School offering programming for spring 2021?
Traveling School leaders are consistently monitoring the national and international response to COVID-19 to evaluate how we can provide a stellar educational opportunity during a time of global uncertainty. We anticipate transitioning to a domestic program for spring 2021 to allow time for more research and a clearer understanding on the global impacts of COVID-19. As well, we await more certainty around improved global travel conditions before we resume international programing. A domestic program will involve new programming procedures and protocols to mitigate risk surrounding COVID-19, travel and other associated inherent risks. It is likely certain restrictions and social distancing measures will remain in place and our community–building and interfacing will look different until there is a widely distributed vaccine.
Can The Traveling School still offer a meaningful academic semester if it can’t go overseas?
Yes! The magic of The Traveling School lies within each group of students and faculty. We recognize international travel is powerful, as it encourages us to open our eyes to global issues, and we’re heartbroken about how this global pandemic has altered our ability to visit our dear friends in South America and southern Africa. As a silver lining, our academic philosophy has no geographical boundaries, we can explore relevant themes in any location using Traveling School place-based curriculum. By learning about complexities in the United States first, students can use a critical lens to analyze parallel themes occurring globally. In a way, we will reverse the magnifying glass by looking at issues in our communities first. The location is not what makes The Traveling School, it is our emphasis on relevant, place-based experiential education combined with limited technology, strong female mentorship, relationship and confidence–building through academics, outdoor pursuits, community engagement and leadership development.
When will The Traveling School resume international semester programming?
We aim to offer international semesters for the 2021-2022 academic year. We will continue to assess programming feasibility on various fronts, all of which need to show noticeable improvements before we can return to international semesters.
- International Travel – Current global and country specific travel restrictions must improve, including travel advisories, country entry requirements and flight availability before The Traveling School considers international programming. As well, we will consider COVID-19 cases in each country with the infrastructure and available support.
- Host Country Conditions – The Traveling School values cultural interactions by engaging with communities, people and places, and we cannot do this while shelter in place and social distancing policies remain in effect. We will monitor changing conditions on a country by country basis to determine when we can facilitate interactive and engaging experiences and minimize risk to communities and students. As well, we need to assess the change in infrastructure and access to public health. The Traveling School remains open to changing our regular itineraries.
- Home Country Conditions – The Traveling School Office and the majority of our students are based in the United States. We cannot responsibly run international programming until conditions at home improve, particularly entry and exit requirements. We must evaluate country conditions for our international students on a case-by-case basis to understand travel restrictions associated with COVID-19.
These three factors express a simplified risk analysis checklist we are considering as we pivot. We remain vigilant to the health and well-being of our students, faculty and overseas partners. For these reasons, The Traveling School would not hesitate to cancel or modify a program due to travel restrictions or compromises to the safety of our group.
How will TTS decide which regions and when to resume international semesters?
The Traveling School remains optimistic that international programming will be feasible in the near future. While travel restrictions remain challenging, we must be patient for situations to change at home and abroad. Our program locations will be determined by COVID-19 and how able and willing regions are to re-open and engage with travelers. We will continue to assess the viability of travel to communities near and dear to TTS throughout southern Africa and South America. As well, we will remain open to exploring new areas or re-connecting with places we haven’t recently traveled. Inherent risk will remain a determining factor for Traveling School programs, and we must be prepared for new risks associated with the outcome of this global pandemic. The factors described above will continue to guide our international programming decisions.
What is The Traveling School’s refund policy during this unique time?
In light of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, The Traveling School has modified the refund policy for Spring 2021 enrolled students:
- Enrollment deposits are fully refundable until November 16 for the Spring 2021 Semester.
- After the refund deadline, should The Traveling School choose to cancel the Spring 2021 Semester due to changing circumstances, students will have two options:
- Transfer enrollment deposit to another Traveling School offered program during 2021-2022.
- Receive a full refund minus any unrecoverable fees.
Should a student choose to cancel after the refundable deadline (November 16) for any reason, a portion of program fees (enrollment deposit and any tuition payments) may be refundable up until 3 weeks before scheduled departure. Within 3 weeks of departure, all program fees are non-refundable. However, if a student initiates a cancellation after the refund deadline and The Traveling School later cancels the program, the student would receive a full refund minus unrecoverable costs (such as flights).
The Traveling School will remain transparent about refund policies for Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 semesters as we adjust to these new times. Information will be shared during application interviews and with acceptance and enrollment paperwork.
The Traveling School plans to empower teenage girls for years to come. We will remain flexible to meet today’s challenges and look forward with optimism to building new connections with empathy and compassion to bring us closer together. We recognize it will take time to gain perspective and encourage you to stay in touch, be transparent and communicate with our team. We are here to support you, answer questions and, with time, share a transformative semester with you!