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?
Due to continuing uncertainties surrounding COVID -19 we made the challenging decision to cancel our spring 2021 semester. We are saddened by the state of the world, the ongoing global shutdowns and recent rise in case numbers in our own country — our organization and The Traveling School community have been deeply impacted by the global pandemic. Yet, we remain hopeful. We are motivated by the work we do, the experiences we create and the communities we build. With the help of our staff, partners, supporters, alumnae and board of directors, we are already navigating a path forward. We hope you will join us for domestic programming in the Rocky Mountain West for the 2021-2022 school year.
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 are heartbroken that 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 2022-2023 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.
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!