Last UPDATED 5/18/2020
Countries around the world as well as the U.S. continue to address concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) by issuing recommendations and putting in place plans for prevention and treatment. Governments and health agencies are working together to provide factual information and guidance to the public.
Language & Friendship is monitoring updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as updates from the Department of State. We encourage students and parents to be informed and to seek objective information from reliable sources– not only on Coronavirus, but on other important issues. Following are helpful websites for updates:
- Center for Disease Control: cdc.gov
- World Health Organization: who.int
- The U.S. State Department: travel.state.gov
As of March 19, Language & Friendship has suspended all spring and summer 2020 travel programs. The safety and well-being of all of our travelers and teachers is our top priority. We will be in touch with each individual school group to explore postponement options, or cancellation, if necessary. We thank you for your patience during this difficult and unprecedented time. We will provide an update as soon as we possibly can.
In the meantime, we encourage you to stay connected with family and friends, your work and school connections, and in your communities. We are all in this together and it is together that we will survive and thrive.
Frequently asked questions:
When will we receive a cancellation refund?
Language & Friendship continues to work on refunds for our spring and summer groups that have decided to cancel, as well as the alternate plans for the groups that have been postponed. We will be contacting each group and traveler by email when refunds are determined. We anticipate the first spring groups will be ready for notification the week of April 20, and groups will be notified in the original order of departure.
We ask for your patience as we do this. Our normal processing time for cancellations before the “To Be Determined” timeframe is up to 30 days. For cancellations in the “To Be Determined” timeframe, refunds may take longer as extra time is needed to make the contacts necessary to determine how much can be recovered. Due to these extraordinary circumstances, it will take us even longer to get responses from our partners. Thank you for your patience.
There is still a balance due on my account. Will that payment be made if I have allowed recurring payments online?
Please be assured that all automated payments have been suspended.
Can I receive a full refund?
It is not possible for L&F to offer a full refund, as there are expenses for our programs that must be paid before departure in order for the program to run successfully, and the refund offered to travelers is dependent on the amount of funds we are able to recover. We are also dependent on what the airline is able to offer us as a refund, as they may charge their own cancellation fees. We will work on recovering as much funds as possible to offer as your refund. L&F, in partnership with our colleagues abroad, has always had a practice of refunding as much as possible to our travelers in an effort to be fair and ethical.
How will refunds be processed?
Refunds will be given by check and delivered by U.S. mail.
If my trip is postponed, what will happen to the funds that have already been paid? Can I get a refund now and repay later?
The funds that you have already paid will be applied to your travel program in 2021. If you choose to request a refund at this time, you would be cancelled from the program and would need to complete the enrollment process again. We cannot guarantee space will be available if you enroll again at a later date as we will be making plans based on the number of travelers that remain enrolled.
What if my group decides to postpone but I can’t or don’t want to travel on the program/dates?
We are working with each group to determine the best possible postponement options for the group. In addition, we are working on other program options that you would be able to join in case the new plans for your group don’t work for you. If none of the options will work for you, we will cancel your participation.
What is covered by the L&F trip cancellation insurance that is included in the program?
The trip cancellation insurance provided by CORE does not cover cancellation because of the threat of the coronavirus. A person (or family member) must be actually sick or have a medical condition, accident or illness, to be able to be covered under the trip cancellation benefit.
When will travel resume?
Language & Friendship staff is continuing to monitor CDC, WHO, and State Department guidelines to ensure the safety of our travelers. At this time, we are hopeful that our programs will be able to resume in 2021, but we will continue to keep teachers, travelers, and parents informed of any necessary changes to itineraries as recommended by health professionals.
Will I still be able to host a student this summer?
All hosting programs for the summer of 2020 have been cancelled. We will update our future dates and locations page as future groups are confirmed, so please check back. https://languageandfriendship.com/future-dates-locations/
What safety precautions will be in place for travel in 2021?
L&F will continue to monitor updates from the State Department, CDC and World Health Organization as the year progresses. We are hoping that by next year, there will be solid guidelines in place to provide safe travel experiences. We have to rely on the experts to make this happen and in the meantime stay optimistic for the future. Hopefully great progress is made toward a vaccine or significant treatment for the virus by the time our programs are set to take place.
How can I reach L&F if I have questions?
L&F staff members are currently working remotely, so the easiest way to reach us is by e-mail. Please note that we are experiencing a large volume of emails at this time. We are working as quickly as we can to provide answers to the many questions we are being asked. We appreciate your patience at this difficult time. We understand that this global pandemic has a financial impact on everyone and we are working hard to process this situation and find proper solutions, but it will take time. We will get back to you as soon as possible.