Policies & Updates for 2021 Programs

With the situation constantly changing around us, Global Experiences is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19, and its impact on global mobility. During these uncertain times, the safety of our participants is our primary concern. We are pleased to provide the following framework to help participants, parents, and universities proceed with confidence.

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Updated Program Information For 2021 On-Location Programs

We will continually evaluate the feasibility of program operations so if you have questions about where our programs are running or program start and end dates, please continue to consult the following: Global Experiences Dates and Fees.

Acknowledgment of Risk & Policy Violations

All participants sign specific documents to participate on our programs (Code of Conduct, Program Contract, Acknowledgements) where adherence to program rules is clearly outlined. As COVID-19 concerns persist, participants are also signing an Assumption of Risk document indicating that they will abide by local government rules and regulations as well as AIFS Abroad policies. Violations of these policies can result in removal from the program. Participants can expect additional information provided in pre-departure orientations and welcome orientations.

Is Fall 2021 study/intern abroad even possible?

Our entire team is dedicated to organizing safe and life-changing opportunities for anyone wishing to participate in our programs. Colleagues in the US and overseas are in continual communication discussing program viability. We appreciate the enthusiasm that students have for future programs and mirror it with our own.

We are working hand-in-hand with partners such as overseas universities, housing providers, visa processors, host employers, excursion providers to adhere to all location and country-specific COVID-19 regulations. The changeable nature of the regulations necessitates a higher level of responsibility from our team but also from our participants as well. Please visit our Health & Safety page for the latest on these efforts. 

What happens if a participant withdraws before the program starts?

We realize that there is ongoing uncertainty especially as country-specific COVID-19 policies continue to evolve. The decision to make a financial commitment during this time is one we want you to feel comfortable with.

Updated Withdrawal Policy

  1. All deposits are non-refundable as they fund core services related to the program. Some of these services include but are not necessarily limited to: admissions counseling, CliftonStrengths assessment and coaching, program advising, professional document revision, work put in by the GE placement team, interview preparation, and access to professional and program resources through the online portal. 

  2. Should a participant choose to withdraw from their program, eligibility for a refund and the amount of the eligible refund will be determined based on the format outlined below.

Timeline for Student Withdrawals

If a student withdraws more than 60 days before program start

100% refund (less deposit) 

If a student withdraws between 30 and 60 days program start

50% refund (less deposit) 

If a student withdraws within 30 days of program start

Recoverable costs only (less deposit)

If AIFS Abroad cancels a program, will I receive a refund for my payments?

Different than if a student withdraws, circumstances may dictate that we cancel a program in a certain location.

  • Should AIFS Abroad cancel a program prior to departure for reasons within its control (including due to lack of enrollment), participants will be notified and options include options moving to another program location, receiving credit towards another program, or a full refund (including deposit). This is the only unique situation where a non-refundable deposit can be returned.

  • Should AIFS Abroad cancel a program (including once the program has started) for reasons beyond its control including but not limited to Acts of God, government actions (including those restricting travel), pandemics, fire, flood, explosion, earthquake, or other natural forces, war, civil unrest, accident, terrorism, any strike or labor disturbance, or any other event similar to those enumerated above (a “Force Majeure” Event) participants will receive no refund except for recoverable costs.

  • Recoverable costs may include but are not limited to program fees (including tuition), housing, social/cultural activities/ excursions, safety and security and administrative cost, or organized flights. Most of these costs are paid before the start of the program are not typically recoverable. In the event of cancellation AIFS Abroad will endeavor to obtain refunds from suppliers and pass any recovered costs on to the participant.

If an on-location program is canceled by AIFS Abroad prior to the start date, participants will be able to:

  • Switch to another on-location program for the same term
  • Have their application re-assessed for a virtual program in the same term
  • Postpone their program to a future on-location or virtual program

What happens if a participant decides to leave the program once it has started?

Students choosing to leave the program early for personal or other reasons are not entitled to any refund. Completion of academic credit will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Students dismissed for disciplinary reasons receive no refunds of any kind and forfeit all academic credit. 

There are no refunds for meals, accommodation, cultural activities/excursions, tuition, or transportation missed by students for any other reasons other than those listed above once the program has started.

What other options do I have if my program gets canceled?

If your program is canceled prior to it starting you can work with your AIFS Abroad advisor to determine what the best path forward is. You have the ability to:

  • Change location in the case where one or a few locations are closed but others remain open for the same program time period
  • Change programs to a different date or season – so if your spring program was canceled you can move to a summer, fall, or even next summer program 
  • Participate in a virtual internship
  • Request a refund of your fees (less deposits or any other costs)

If my university cancels my study abroad, will I receive a refund for my payments?

Different from if a student withdraws, or AIFS Abroad cancels a program, a university may choose to cancel travel through a specific date or restrict travel to specific locations.

For Summer 2021 programs: Should your university cancel or withdraw approval for study abroad prior to April 1 for reasons within its control (including due to lack of enrollment), please have your university confirm cancellation by email and alert AIFS Abroad staff as soon as possible. We will work with you and your university on options for deferring to a future program, enrolling in a virtual program, or a full refund (including deposit).

For Summer 2021 programs: Should your university cancel or withdraw approval for study abroad after April 1 for reasons within its control (including due to lack of enrollment), please have your university confirm cancellation by email and alert AIFS Abroad as soon as possible. We will work with you and your university on options for deferring to a future program or enrolling in a virtual program. Your deposit will not be refunded.

For Fall 2021 programs: The same policy applies and the key date is July 1.

Should a university cancel a program (including once the program has started) for reasons beyond its control including but not limited to Acts of God, government actions (including those restricting travel), pandemics, fire, flood, explosion, earthquake, or other natural forces, war, civil unrest, accident, terrorism, any strike or labor disturbance, or any other event similar to those enumerated above (a “force majeure” event) participants will receive no refund except for recoverable costs.

Recoverable costs may include, but not are not limited to program fees (including tuition), housing, social/cultural activities/excursions, safety and security and administrative cost, or organized flights. Most of these costs are paid before the start of the program and are not typically recoverable. In the event of cancellation AIFS Abroad will endeavor to obtain refunds from suppliers and pass any recovered costs on to the participant.

Vaccinations

As vaccinations continue around the world, evidence collected by a variety of health organizations indicates that fully vaccinated people are less likely to be infected without showing symptoms and therefore potentially less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others.

In an effort to keep our participants, staff, and host communities safe, AIFS Abroad will be strongly recommending vaccinations for our Summer 2021 participants and requiring them for all Fall 2021 participants and beyond. We will continue to monitor the information from our host countries and advise participants as entry protocols change. Recent news suggests that some countries may be opening to fully vaccinated individuals to travel as tourists this summer, removing the need for quarantine on arrival, and requiring proof of vaccination for entry.

What insurance is available?

All participants on any AIFS Abroad program (study abroad, internship or custom faculty-led) are covered by a very robust Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) travel and medical insurance as part of their program inclusions. There is no extra cost for this coverage.

As part of the medical insurance, assistance and security will be provided by On Call International. OnCall has worked in the higher education field for over 20 years and is well known for their proactive and holistic approach to managing travel emergencies. They will provide phone support.

On Call’s Nurse Helpline is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This service is for those who aren’t sure if they are ill enough to see a doctor but would like to seek advice over the phone from a medical professional. Not every illness or injury warrants a trip to the ER or a doctor’s office – this free service will help participants determine how best to treat whatever condition they may have.

Is additional insurance available for an extra fee?

AIFS Abroad strongly recommends that students take out CFAR / IFAR insurance which covers cancellation / interruption “for any reason”. Participants have the option of purchasing additional trip cancellation or interruption insurance which allows them to protect their study abroad program. This is at an additional cost and is NOT a program inclusion. This policy includes options to cancel for any reason (CFAR) and interrupt for any reason (IFAR). Details of the Worldwide Trip Protector Plans with travel insurance underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company, rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best 2019, are available on the Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) website.

Students may purchase their plan directly through the CISI website.

Program Cancelation by AIFS Abroad

AIFS Abroad will consider canceling or suspending an on-location program while it is in session or before using guidance from the following sources:

  1. The current level of U.S. State Department travel advisory for each country
  2. Each individual country’s current entry status and where necessary their quarantine rules
  3. World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control guidance
  4. Current levels of COVID-19 transmission within that country / region
  5. Local government rules regarding social distancing, the use of PPE and gatherings
  6. Each on-location partner university’s plan for the delivery of course onsite and their ability to switch to a virtual delivery model should the need arise
  7. Housing options in each site and related COVID-19 planning
  8. The delivery of support services including orientation, social and cultural programming

Virtual Internship Programs

  1. If the Participant is part of GE's Virtual Internship Program, $500 of the program tuition remains non-refundable at all times. This non-refundable amount funds core services related to the program. Some of these services include but are not necessarily limited to: admissions counseling, StrengthsFinder assessment, program advising, professional document revision, work put in by the GE placement team, interview preparation, and access to professional and program resources through the online portal. 

  2. Should you cancel your participation prior to having a confirmed virtual internship placement, you will be eligible for a refund of the program tuition less the $500 non-refundable portion mentioned above.

  3. Should you cancel your participation after your virtual internship placement is confirmed, you will not be eligible for a refund of any kind.

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